SCOOBA – A late comeback attempt in the nightcap fell one run short as home-standing East Mississippi Community College fell 18-3 and 4-3 to Itawamba Community College during Wednesday night MACJC doubleheader baseball action at Gerald Poole Field.
Bouncing back from a five-inning, run-rule setback in the opening game, EMCC faced a 4-0 deficit late in the second contest. The Indians built their nightcap advantage off starting pitcher Wesley Grantham with a solo run in the second on Jacob Hall's RBI single followed by back-to-back sacrifice flies by Hunter Nabors and LaBryant Siddell in the fifth along with another sac fly from Connor Lewis a frame later.
After the Lions struck out nine times against ICC starting pitcher Austin King through five shutout innings, they managed to get to the freshman right-hander in the sixth. King gave way to reliever Sam Harrington following singles by Gage Nyman and Armani Lewis. A walk to S.T. McMurrian loaded the bases in front of Destin Payton's RBI single and a two-run single by Max Rinebolt off Harrington. With two runners on base and only one out, Kyle Crigger then moved to the mound from his second base position to get a strikeout and a force out at second to keep it a one-run game.
EMCC had another chance to tie up the game when Dillon Brown singled to lead off the seventh. He then stole second and moved to third on an infield out, but Crigger got Lewis to ground out to first base for the game's final out.
The Lions out-hit ICC, 10-6, in the second game with Lewis, Nyman and Ken Dill leading the way with two hits apiece.
The visitors took early control of the scheduled nine-inning opening game against EMCC starting pitcher Jaxen Forrester. A two-run single by Justin Medlin in the first followed by Russell Bunch's two-run homer an inning later set the stage for Itawamba's third-inning explosion that put the game out of reach.
Four consecutive singles by the Indians to begin the third inning paved the way for two-run hits by Lewis and Crigger. As a dozen batters came to the plate, the nine-run frame was capped by Nabors' three-run homer.
After stranding the bases loaded without a score in the second inning, EMCC reached Itawamba starting pitcher Hunter Hughes for three runs in the third. A pair of singles and a walk loaded the bases to precede two-out singles by Nyman and McMurrian.
ICC sent 10 more batters to the plate against Lion relievers Christopher Maurin and Garrett Ainsworth during a five-run fifth inning that extended the lead to the run-rule margin.
Out-hit by Itawamba in the opener, 14-9, the Lions had two-hit efforts from McMurrian and Anthony Hickman.
Coach Chris Rose's EMCC Lions (13-27, 6-20) are scheduled to close out their 2018 baseball season by playing host to the Bears of Southwest Mississippi in a 2 p.m. Saturday doubleheader on the Scooba campus.
Contact: David Rosinski, EMCC Sports Information Director