DECATUR – The East Mississippi Community College baseball team got into the win column by earning a road doubleheader split with East Central during Monday's action played at the Clark/Gay Baseball Complex. Solid pitching performances from EMCC starters Josh Smith and Austin Campbell produced a 9-6 victory for the Lions followed by a tough-luck 4-2 setback to the Warriors.
On the heels of getting swept (14-6 & 10-5) during Sunday's twin-bill at Meridian, EMCC's season-opening losing skid was snapped with Monday's Game 1 nine-inning victory at ECCC. The games also marked the Lions' final pre-conference baseball action prior to the start of MACJC play this Saturday (March 14) at Copiah-Lincoln.
In Monday's first EMCC-ECCC contest, the home-standing Warriors grabbed an early 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. The Lions bounced right back with three runs of their own in the top of the second and added two more tallies the next frame to move ahead, 5-4, after three innings.
Following a slow start on the mound, EMCC's Smith settled into a groove and retired 11 consecutive batters beginning in the second inning. While the sophomore left-hander was keeping East Central off the scoreboard during the middle innings, the Lions added some insurance runs with solo home runs by ECCC transfer Al Dumas – his second homer in as many days – and Chase Logan in the fifth and ninth innings, respectively. The visitors also manufactured a pair of runs in the seventh, highlighted by Trey Trosclair's RBI double.
Smith, out of Tupelo, scattered five hits and eight walks while pitching into the eighth inning before giving way to the bullpen. The Mississippi College football signee and former EMCC kicker/punter struck out four and induced 14 groundball outs to record his first collegiate pitching victory.
Freshman right-hander Dylan Scott, a product of Oak Hill Academy, picked up the save for the Lions after working the final two innings.
At the plate against six East Central pitchers, the Lions had seven hits in the win over the Warriors. Logan had a pair of hits and reached base safely four times in five plate appearances. Sophomores Dillon Morgan and Reiley Tate each drove in a pair of runs in the opener.
The EMCC-ECCC nightcap proved to be a quality seven-inning pitching duel between Campbell and a trio of East Central hurlers, as the two teams combined for only six hits between them.
The Warriors again got on the board first by pushing across a pair of unearned runs without a hit in the third inning. East Central threatened again the next frame by loading the bases with three straight one-out singles, but Campbell worked out of the jam unscathed.
With the ECCC pitching trio of starter Walker Johnson along with relievers Grant Johnson and Robert Sanford limiting the Lions to just a leadoff single by Morgan in the fourth inning, the Warriors added two more runs in the fifth inning to increase the lead to 4-1. Dakota Kennedy's leadoff double sparked the inning that was capped by Courtland Posey's RBI single.
Meanwhile, EMCC only managed to push across solo runs in the fifth and sixth innings with the aid of leadoff walks. Austin Beech's double-play grounder plated Tate for the Lions' first run of the nightcap. A botched pickoff attempt at second base then brought home Smith, who earned a walk as a pinch-hitter to begin the next frame.
EMCC's Campbell, a sophomore southpaw, was the hard-luck loser for the Lions in the second game. The Starkville native went the distance in scattering five hits over six innings with five strikeouts and only two walks.
Contact: David Rosinski, EMCC Sports Information Director