PERKINSTON — When a pitcher throws a no-hitter, he usually gets mobbed on the mound in celebration. Mississippi Gulf Coast's Dawson Flowers had a slightly different experience Saturday.
"Honestly, I went to the bathroom, and when I came out Luke (Welborn) was scoring," he said. "I said, 'Oh, man. We won!'"
Welborn scored from third after a two-run triple and an error, icing a 10-0 Bulldogs win in five innings that saw Alex McWhorter hit two homers to finish a sweep of East Mississippi. The Bulldogs won the opener 6-3 behind strong pitching from Hayden Robb (Fr., Vancleave/Vancleave) and Matthew DeLano (Fr., Biloxi/Biloxi).
Flowers struck out the first two batters he faced, setting the tone for a dominant seven-strikeout performance.
"Early in the game, I knew my changeup was working really well," he said. "I was struggling to throw the fastball early, so we played off that. I kept it located down in the zone."
He walked the leadoff batter in the second inning, then after a strikeout hit a batter. Flowers would strand runners at the corners, the biggest threat of the game. He walked a batter in the third and one in the fifth, but nobody else reached second base.
"The best part about today was he didn't have his best stuff," Gulf Coast coach Wes Thigpen said. "He just competed well. He had better stuff the last two outings, but he's really good about getting after them."
It was Gulf Coast's fourth no-hitter since 2016. Dylan Mills-Derouen had the 2016 no-no, with Kole Kittrell picking one up in 2018. Last season, Antoine Harris, DeLano and Evan Keith combined for a no-hitter.
McWhorter (Fr., Mobile Ala./Faith Academy) gave all the offense Flowers needed with one swing of the bat in the first inning. He slugged an opposite-field solo homer, then followed two innings later with a three-run blast off the equipment shed beyond the left-field wall.
He said he'd never hit two homers in a game, then went and added an RBI single in the six-run fifth that closed things out.
"It was mostly fastballs," McWhorter said. "I was sitting on that, laying off the fastballs."
Gulf Coast was shut down its first three innings in the opener, nine up and nine down. The Bulldogs, however, rallied from a one-run deficit with an RBI walk by P.J. Harrison (Fr., Gulfport/Harrison Central) and sacrifice fly by Welborn (Fr., Locust Grove Ga./Locust Grove) sandwiched around a run-scoring wild pitch.
Josh Cary (Fr., Petal/Petal) had a sac fly in the fifth to make it 4-2, and Welborn's double in the sixth added another run. Drake Henderson had a sac fly in the seventh.
Robb, who struck out eight in 6.1 innings, scattered nine hits. DeLano allowed two hits in 2.2 innings, striking out four to earn the save.
"We playing with some confidence, and we're playing loose," Thigpen said. "With that week break, we were a little worried about coming out slow, and we did that first time through the lineup."
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By: Don Hammack
Sports Information Director
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College