PERKINSTON — The recipe for the most satisfying sweeps is pretty simple, and Mississippi Gulf Coast got it Saturday in a doubleheader against Illinois Central at Ken "Curly" Farris Field.
The Bulldogs won 5-3 and 5-2 to get back to .500 at 4-4.
"We came out and really threw a lot of strikes on the mound," Gulf Coast coach Wes Thigpen said. "We got good starts from Dawson Hall and Hayden Robb, and really came out and filled up the strike zone and challenged hitters. That's our brand of baseball. That's who want to be, and we really pitched to our identity today."
Hall (So., East Central, Hurley) struck out five in five innings, issuing only one walk while throwing 56 of 84 pitches for strikes. Hayden Robb (Fr., Vancleave, Vancleave) struck out seven in five innings, walking two while pumping the strike zone on 61 of 87 pitches.
It's the first sweep of Thigpen's young head coaching career.
"These guys have been working so hard. They really deserve it," he said. "We put in a really good week of practice, and we feel like we had a turning point this week. The guys know exactly what to expect, and they delivered today."
Luke Welborn (Fr., Locust Grove, Locust Grove, Ga.) erased a 1-0 deficit in the third with a three-run double, and Louis Morgan (So., East Central, Hurley) made it 4-1 with a double of his own.
Tucker Thomas (So., Biloxi, Biloxi) hit his third homer of the season in the fifth for a four-run lead.
Illinois Central added a sac fly in the sixth and Dalton Crumley's second of three home runs on the day in the seventh, but Evan Keith (So., Vancleave, Vancleave) struck out the only two batters he faced to pick up the save.
Canaan Ray (Fr., Poplarville, Poplarville) homered in the first to give Gulf Coast a 1-0 lead in the second game, then doubled in the second for a two-run lead. Welborn followed with a single and it was 3-0.
ICC got two in the third, but Cameron Cotten (So., George County, Lucedale) destroyed a baseball just to the left of the batter's eye for a two-run shot in the bottom of the inning.
Robb got a big defensive play in the fifth when the Bulldogs converted a single to left field into an out at the plate when Jared Tribett (Fr., Lumberton, Lumberton) threw to cutoff man Nick Sims (So., New Hope, New Hope), who relayed home to Morgan for the third out.
Dawson Flowers (Fr., Brookhaven Academy, Brookhaven) struck out five batters in two innings to earn the save.
"We have a big week going to Vicksburg to play Mississippi Delta on Monday," Thigpen said. "It's a tough test against an in-conference opponent on a short turnaround," Thigpen said. "Friday, we have one of the top teams in Division I coming in in Northwest Florida. They're going to throw a lot of good arms at us."
First pitch Monday is at noon, with the doubleheader against NWFS starting at noon at Ken "Curly" Farris Field.
For more information on MGCCC's 10 intercollegiate athletic teams, follow @MGCCCBulldogs on Twitter and MGCCCBulldogs on Facebook, and go to mgcccbulldogs.com.
Sports Information Director
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College