The Meridian Community College Eagles entered its second weekend of Miss-Lou Conference play Saturday afternoon at Scaggs Field looking to capture a pair of wins to stay in the driver's seat at the top of the standings. The Eagles came away with a doubleheader split (1-7, 7-6) against its arch nemesis, the Delgado Community College Dolphins, on the baseball diamond Saturday afternoon in front of the largest crowd of the season.
Delgado also came into the weekend ranked second nationally according to the latest NJCAA Division I Baseball poll.
MCC (20-16) sits in control of the lead in Miss-Lou Conference standings after the split with a 3-2 record, while Delgado is one game back at 2-3. Baton Rouge defeated Delgado twice in its three-game series last weekend and currently holds a 3-3 mark.
The third game of the series between MCC and Delgado is schedule for Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m., but the threat of very heavy rain in the area for the remainder of the weekend could cause the game to be postponed.
MCC didn't have an answer for the Dolphins in Game One of the twin bill as Chase Hymel pitched a complete game in the 7-1 victory. Hymel allowed one earned run over seven innings of work, to go along with five strikeouts.
Delgado (27-7) scratched for its first run in Game One in the top of the first inning on an RBI ground out by Austin Barrios and the Dolphins never looked back. Delgado put the game away for good with a four-run top of the third inning to take a commanding 5-0 lead over the Eagles. Josh Watkins knocked in the second run of the game for the Dolphins on an RBI double and Chris Eades gave the Dolphins a 3-0 lead moments later on a sacrifice fly to right field.
Delgado continued to pour on the runs in the third inning on a two-run double by Cody Ducote to give the Dolphins a 5-0 lead. Delgado added two more runs in the contest with one run coming in the fifth inning on a single by Ducote and on a wild pitch in the seventh inning to secure the six-run victory.
The lone run of Game One for MCC came in the sixth inning on a solo home run by Ben Gann. Goose Yates (3-2) took the pitching loss on the mound for MCC by working 2 2/3 innings.
MCC rebounded in Game Two and held off a furious rally in the final inning of play to escape with a 7-6 victory. MCC carried a 7-1 lead into the seventh inning and Delgado scored five runs, but the Eagles were able to finally close the door shut as MCC relief pitcher Kellon Hibbard finished the game off by getting the last batter out on a fly out to right field.
The Eagles took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning on a solo home run by first baseman Scott Votaw and started the run away with the game in the middle innings. MCC scored six runs combined in the fourth and fifth innings to take a 7-1 lead over Delgado. Former West Lauderdale star Grant Hill provided the spark in the fourth inning on a two-out double to right field that plate a pair of runs to give MCC a 3-0 lead.
Delgado answered the Eagles with a run in the top of the fifth inning on an RBI double by Lewis to cut the MCC lead to 3-1, but the Eagles would answer in a big way in the bottom half of the frame.
The Eagles continued its impressive offensive showcase in the fifth inning with four more runs to take a 7-1 lead. Garrett Larosa got things started with an RBI double and Kevin Hall followed with an RBI single to make the score 5-1 in favor of the green and white. Mac Seibert drove the next run on a bunt and Michael Druhan finished off the inning with an RBI single to give the Eagles a six-run lead heading into the late stages of the game.
Delgado would come to the plate in the final inning down six runs and narrowly completed a miraculous comeback over MCC. Lewis led the inning off with a double and Bryce Adams followed with a strikeout to give the Dolphins two more outs to work with in the frame. Cole Freeman followed with an infield single to out runners at first and second with one out. Frankie Watts came to the plate and blasted a single to center field that plated the first run of the seventh inning for the Fish to make it 7-2. Josh Watkins followed a hard hit single to first base that plated the next run and Barrios smashed a double to score another run to make the score 7-5.
Eades would reach base safely moments later on an infield error by the Eagles to put runners at the corners with still one out in the seventh inning. MCC elected to go to its bullpen and bring in sophomore Kellon Hibbard to try and put the fire out and get the home team a victory. Hibbard collected the second out of the inning on a sacrifice fly by Ducote to center field that made the score 7-6. Jordan Caillouet would walk to put a pair of runners on base for Delgado, but Hibbard would finish the game for the Eagles by getting Lewis to fly out to right field, and give MCC a hard earned one-run win.
Jake Smith picked up the pitching win for MCC by working four innings and collecting a pair of strikeouts. Bryant Johnston worked 2 1/3 innings out of the pen for the Eagles and allowed four earned runs and picked up a strikeout in his appearance.
MCC finished Game Two with nine hits and two players in the lineup had a pair of hits. Hill and Hall each had two hits for the Eagles, while five other players had one hit apiece.
Lewis led the Dolphins in Game Two with two hits and an RBI, while Barrios finished the game with a pair of RBI's on a base hit.