A come-from-behind 8-4 win in the opener followed by a combined 6-0 shutout victory in the nightcap lifted the sixth-ranked East Mississippi Community College baseball team to a Tuesday doubleheader home sweep over Coahoma Community College at EMCC’s Gerald Poole Field.
With their sixth doubleheader sweep of the season, the Lions improved their records to 18-6 overall and 5-1 in MACJC North Division play.
Tuesday’s twin bill got off to a fast start for the home team, as Blake Key’s first collegiate home run also brought home lead-off batter Chase Nyman, who had walked, to give EMCC a quick 2-0 lead after the first inning. After the rough start for the visitors, Coahoma starting pitcher Ray Williams settled down to limit the Lions to just a third-inning single by Colton Caver and only allowed four base runners total through the next four innings.
Meanwhile, the Tigers’ bats came alive in the top of the third inning. Sparked by Corey O’Brien’s lead-off single followed by T.J. Knowles’ two-run home run to left field, Coahoma batted around to score four runs on six hits in knocking out EMCC starting pitcher Chase Cameron. The go-ahead runs came on Matt Rappa’s two-out, two-run double down the left-field line.
With sophomore left-hander Hunter Graham pitching effectively in middle relief for the Lions, the score stayed 4-2 in favor of the visitors until EMCC was finally able to reach Williams in the sixth inning. Tyler Odom’s second home run of the year to lead off the frame broke the ice for the Lions. Dylan Vuncannon’s RBI double then tied the score and Nyman’s run-scoring single brought home the go-ahead run. Key followed with a two-run single while Trent Waddell’s sacrifice fly capped EMCC’s six-run sixth.
After Graham threw three innings of one-hit baseball to set up the victory, Conner Burton collected the final four outs and was the recipient of his second win of the year in three decisions.
Key and Odom led the way at the plate for the Lions with two hits each. Key, a product of Northeast Lauderdale High School, drove home four runs in the opener.
East Mississippi jumped out on top quickly again in the nightcap by plating three runs in the bottom of the first. Doubles by Nyman, Odom and LeDarious Clark were the key hits in the inning. Caver also added a sacrifice fly during the three-run first.
That would prove to be the only offensive production that EMCC starter J’Daylin Jackson would need in the nightcap. The freshman left-hander retired the first 11 batters he faced – seven by strikeout – before allowing solo singles in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. The former standout from Greenville’s St. Joseph Catholic School scattered those three singles, while striking out eight with no walks, over six innings of work to move to 5-0 on the season.
The Lions would pad the lead with a trio of two-out tallies in the sixth on Nyman’s two-run triple to straightaway center field followed by Clark’s run-producing double down the left-field line.
Offensively as a team in game two, EMCC received multi-hit performances from Nyman, Clark, Chase Reeves and Kyle Liberto with two hits apiece. Six of the Lions’ nine hits – four doubles and two triples – in the nightcap went for extra bases. They also had three extra-base hits in the opening game with the pair of homers and a double.
Coach Chris Rose’s East Mississippi Lions now have a week between games before resuming action next Wednesday (March 26) with a division road doubleheader at Northwest Mississippi.