PERKINSTON — Taking the ball for Mississippi Gulf Coast's fourth game of the season, Bulldogs right-hander Hayden Robb knew his team needed a strong performance.
The freshman from Vancleave delivered a strong performance, aided by Alex McWhorter's grand slam and two innings of relief, to help Gulf Coast earn its first win of the season by beating East Central 7-4 at Ken "Curly" Farris Field.
"That was the first thing I thought about heading into the start," Robb said. "You've got to get the first one, because it starts the rest of them. I just felt like it was important. I wanted to dominate every aspect I could."
Gulf Coast (1-3) clawed back from two big deficits in Game 1, but could never take the lead in a 16-13 loss.
Robb struck out nine and walked two in five strong innings. He allowed only one earned run among the three he allowed. He threw the last of 83 pitches in a 3-3 tie, but McWhorter (Fr., Mobile Ala./Faith Academy) delivered him the win by depositing a 1-1 pitch over the center-field for a grand slam.
"I was pretty much sitting on anything straight to take a swing on it," he said. "I was just up there trying to catch a barrel and it happened."
McWhorter moved from third base to the mound for the final two innings, striking out four and allowing a meaningless two-out run on a wild pitch in the seventh.
"McWhorter has had a really good spring swinging the bat in intrasquads," Gulf Coast coach Wes Thigpen said. "To see him in that moment at the plate, and when he got on the mound how much he wanted that moment was something we hadn't seen before. I guess that's something you don't see until you put him in the game. That was awesome to see, and that's something we need, somebody to close out a game."
Josh Cary (Fr., Petal/Petal) had two hits in the nightcap, including a double. He also had two hits in the opener. All but one starter had an RBI in that game, which saw Gulf Coast fight back from a 4-0 deficit to tie the game in the second and from a 12-5 deficit in the sixth to tie it in the seventh.
Tucker Thomas (So., Biloxi/Biloxi) had a two-run triple to start the seven-run outburst. Dawson Walters (Fr., Flora/Tri-County Academy) had an RBI double to make it 12-9. Jared Tribett (Fr., Lumberton/Lumberton) added a sacrifice fly before Cary's squeeze bunt made it 12-11.
Brendan McCauley (Fr., Gulfport/Harrison Central) forced another error on a ground ball to second that tied it up.
East Central (2-4), however, got four in the top of the ninth and Noah Blythe's solo blast in the bottom of the frame wasn't enough.
Gulf Coast is scheduled to travel to Jones on Friday. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.
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