The East Central Community College baseball team went a week without seeing any action due to the weather, and when they did take the field it was in a couple of nine-inning affairs against the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams in the nation. The Warriors defeated No. 2 Parkland College (Ill.) 3-2, after falling earlier in the day to No. 1 ranked LSU-Eunice 5-3.
The games were played Saturday, March 2, at the Sports Force Parks in Vicksburg.
Parkland out of Champaign, Ill, defeated LSU-Eunice (Eunice, La.) 7-1 in the other game of the day.
LSU-Eunice is the NJCAA Division II defending national champion, having beaten Parkland 5-3 in last season's championship game.
Freshman right-hander Tanner Knight had a dominant outing in the win over Parkland. The product of Eupora High School left the mound after five innings and a 3-0 lead. He struck out 10 Cobra batters and gave up just two hits while allowing no runs. On the season, Knight has struck out 19 batters in 13 innings of work.
East Central scored all three of its runs in the bottom of the first inning. Sophomores left fielder Ryan Cupit (West Monroe, La.) and second baseman Jay Johnston of Lake led off with back-to-back singles. Johnston would score on a walked batter before freshman designated hitter Cameron Cotten of George County brought in two runs with a single to left field.
Parkland scored its two runs in the top of the sixth aided by an error, two walks, and a hit batter.
Cupit and sophomore catcher Alex Hay (Lewisburg High School) both had two hits for East Central.
In the opening game of the day, East Central took a 1-0 lead over the top ranked Bengals in the first inning when freshman center fielder Al Dumas (Eupora) scored on a wild pitch. Dumas was hit by a pitch to lead off the game. LSU-Eunice took a 2-1 lead in the second, thanks in part to a couple of East Central errors and a walked batter. The Bengals added another run in the fourth and two in the top of the seventh to take a 5-1 lead.
East Central would close the final gap to 5-3 with a solo home run by Hay in the seventh and an RBI double by sophomore right fielder Ken Scott (Clarkdale High School) in the eighth.
East Central outhit the Bengals 7-4 in the loss, but committed three errors and walked eight batters. A trio of Warrior pitchers combined to strike out nine LSU-Eunice batters.
Cupit, Hay, and Scott all had two hits in the loss.
East Central is now 3-5 on the season. LSU-Eunice is 17-3, while Parkland is 2-2.
East Central will be on the road this coming week. The Warriors travel to Booneville to face Northeast in a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, March 6, and then to Scooba to play East Mississippi in two games starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 9. The four games do not count in the regular season MACJC standings. The Warriors will play both teams at home later in the season.
The Warriors will be at home again on Tuesday, March 12, when Coastal Alabama-South visits Clark-Gay Baseball Complex in Decatur for a doubleheader. First pitch is 3 p.m. You can listen to all home baseball games on WKOZ "Cruisin" 98.3 or watch live stream video at www.eccc.edu/eccc-media.