PERKINSTON — After playing a murderer's row of five teams to start the MACCC schedule, Gulf Coast faced its first unranked team Saturday and got a much-needed sweep.
The Bulldogs beat Coahoma 8-0 in seven innings in the first game and 10-3 in the second.
"The first five series were tough. We started playing really well, and we played some good games against Pearl River and took it on the chin. East Central is really rolling. It felt great to get a sweep today."
Gulf Coast improved to 10-10 overall, 7-5 in the MACCC. The Bulldogs are tied with Meridian for eighth, a good spot to be in after playing No. 11 Northeast Mississippi, No. 9 Hinds, No. 4 Northwest Mississippi and No. 19 East Central to open conference play.
The Bulldogs got great starts from Antoine Harris (Fr., Chalmette La./Chalmette) and Drake Henderson (Fr., Sand Hill/Greene County), who pitched all but one inning against the Tigers (2-16, 2-10).
Harris threw a three-hitter in the first game, striking out eight while walking just one. He finished in only 89 pitches, a number pushed north by three Gulf Coast errors. He filled up the zone with 66 strikes after having not pitched in two weeks.
He and Henderson had their starts skipped during the Bulldogs' open date last weekend. Harris used the time to iron out his mechanics.
"I was keeping the fastball down in the zone," he said. "Lots of two-seamers and four-seamers, and the breaking ball was really good. We pitched a lot of guys backward and they didn't have any idea what was coming."
Josh Cary (Fr., Petal/Petal) was a terror, going 4-for-4 with a double, a triple and four runs scored. He finished the day 6-for-7 with two more hits in the second game, scoring each time he reached to account for a third of the teams' runs on the day.
P.J. Harrison (Fr., Gulfport/Harrison Central), Alex McWhorter (Fr., Mobile Ala./Faith Academy) and Canaan Ray (Fr., Poplarville/Poplarville) homered. McWhorter had three RBI in the first game and finished Saturday with seven.
He had three hits in the nightcap, including a pair of two-run singles. Noah Blythe (Fr., Lexington Ky./Tates Creek) homered for the only extra-base hit in Game 2.
Henderson stumbled a little coming out of the blocks, allowing two first-inning runs on four hits. Thigpen said he didn't have his best stuff but figured out what he did have and made it work.
"I got knocked around pretty hard at the beginning, but Coach Thig teaches us to stay level-headed," Henderson said. "I felt pretty comfortable after they put that five-spot up there."
Gulf Coast entertains Jones, which is now ranked 14th, on Wednesday. First pitch at Ken "Curly" Farris Field is 3 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.
BY: Don Hammack
Sports Information Director
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College