SCOOBA — A season-best offensive showing produced 20 runs and five home runs to power East Mississippi Community College to a home doubleheader split with seventh-ranked Meridian Community College during Thursday's MACCC baseball action played at Gerald Poole Field. EMCC's opening-game 20-12 victory was followed by Meridian's 15-2 nightcap win.
After jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning of the opening contest off MCC starting pitcher Lane Ladner, the Lions batted around a frame later to move ahead 8-1. EMCC's six-run second inning was highlighted by Rye McGlothin's seventh home run of the year – a two-run shot – and Wesley Sides' two-run double.
Though the visitors never held the lead in the opener, Meridian managed to cut into the deficit with four-run innings in the third and fifth frames. Easton Rainer's three-run homer keyed the Eagles' four-run fourth, while they hit through the lineup to generate four more runs in the fifth to make it a 10-9 ballgame.
Following back-to-back solo home runs by Austin Beech and Sides that increased EMCC's lead to 12-9 after five innings, the Lions extended their lead with consecutive four-run frames in the sixth and seventh to close out the scheduled nine-inning opener in walk-off fashion. Beau Bates belted his third homer of the year during a sixth inning that also featured four walks by Meridian pitching. A frame later after the Eagles cut into the deficit again with three runs in the top of the seventh to make it 16-12, the Lions reached the run-rule margin in the bottom half of the frame on Beech's second homer of the game – a three-run blast that ended the game and gave him the team lead with eight home runs on the season.
While scoring more runs in a game since posting a 31-2 win over Coahoma in 2015, EMCC's five home runs were the most since also launching five long balls during an 18-17 victory over East Central in 2019.
Sides led the Lions' 16-hit attack in the opener with a 4-for-4 effort at the plate that drove in five runs. He also crossed the plate four times in the game, as did leadoff batter Al Dumas. Beech also had five RBIs with his pair of homers and a sacrifice fly. Bates added three hits in the winning effort.
While Meridian used eight different pitchers during the slugfest, EMCC's Dakota Boney earned his second win of the year after throwing the first three innings. Following an inning of middle relief by Jonah Caskey, Mississippi State transfer Blayze Berry came on to pick up the save for the Lions by finishing up the contest with three innings of relief work.
The nightcap was a completely different story, however, as the Eagles batted around during a five-run opening inning to knock out EMCC starting pitcher Gabe Garner.
After adding a solo run in the second, Meridian reached the run-rule margin for the scheduled seven-inning contest by plating six runs in the third and three more a frame later. Three-run homers by Brett Mason in the third and Braden Luke in the fourth powered the Eagles' offensive effort in the second game.
EMCC was limited to two hits – a third-inning double by Bates and a fourth-inning single by Davione Hull – in the nightcap by Meridian starting pitcher Alec Sparks and reliever Reid Blakely.
Coach Brett Kimbrel's EMCC Lions, 17-13 overall and 10-12 in conference play, are scheduled to play a road doubleheader at Mississippi Delta on Wednesday, April 14