POPLARVILLE, Miss. — No. 3 Pearl River turned in a pair of incredible pitching performances in its sweep of Jones College on Tuesday. The Wildcats claimed the first game 3-1 and took the nightcap 6-3.
"It's just special," said coach Michael Avalon. "We found a way to get two really big wins against a really good club."
After two scoreless frames to begin the game, Jones College (22-18 overall; 15-11 MACCC) opened the scoring in the top of the third. An infield single allowed the first run to come home giving the Bobcats a 1-0 lead.
Pearl River (31-7; 21-5) evened the score in the fifth. Austen Izzio (Carriere; Pearl River Central) reached base after a hard ground ball was booted by the shortstop. A few pitches later, he moved into scoring position on a passed ball. John Griffin Bell (Mobile, Ala.; Faith Academy) laced an RBI double to left field to tie the game at 1-1.
In the sixth, Dalton Cummins (Seminary) worked a walk after an eight-pitch at-bat. Izzio quickly made the Bobcats pay for the walk by doubling to centerfield to drive in Cummins, giving the Wildcats a 2-1 lead.
PRCC added an insurance run in the seventh to take a 3-1 lead. After a leadoff double from Nick Skaggs (Biloxi), Kasey Donaldson (Gulfport; West Harrison) lined a single into right field to drive him in.
Dakota Lee (Purvis) turned in a gem in his first collegiate start throwing seven innings, allowing five hits and zero earned runs. He struck out six batters.
"Everything was working good," said Lee. "I think my best pitch today was my changeup because I was able to throw it for strikes. It was pretty efficient today."
Landon Harper (Lauderdale; Northeast Lauderdale) earned the save, pitching the final two innings of the contest, allowing no hits and striking out two.
Donaldson and Skaggs finished with two hits each. Graham Crawford (Sumrall) walked twice.
A ground out in the first inning allowed the Bobcats to strike first and go ahead 1-0.
Pearl River quickly evened the score in the second inning. Two pitches into his at-bat, Cummins blasted a solo shot over the left field wall to make the score 1-1.
The Wildcats took a 2-1 lead in the third inning. Donaldson lined a ball just over the first baseman's glove to bring in the go-ahead run.
JC didn't let PRCC hold the lead for long putting up a two spot in the top of the fourth to go ahead 3-2.
Pearl River tied the score 3-3 half an inning later. Von Seibert (Mobile, Ala.; Daphne) went down in the count 0-2 but battled back to work a walk. A few batters later, Skaggs singled to right field to bring him home.
The Bobcats threatened in the top of the sixth moving two runners into scoring position, but a huge punchout from Landon Gartman (Bogue Chitto; Enterprise) got the Wildcats out of the jam.
A relatively quiet day at the plate for Crawford ended in the sixth inning. After back-to-back singles from Seibert and Taylor Woodcock (Pass Christian; West Harrison), Crawford blasted his team-leading 14th home run of the year to put the Wildcats on top 6-3.
"Crawford had a tough day," said Avalon. "I just kept telling him as he walked up there that it just takes one."
Gartman turned in yet another impressive performance on the mound. He pitched a complete game allowing seven hits and three runs. He racked up 11 strikeouts on the day, one off of his career high.
Skaggs led the team in hits with two. Crawford led the team in RBIs with three.
Pearl River returns to action Saturday as they host Northeast in a doubleheader. The games will begin at 2 p.m.