The East Central Community College Warriors picked up a convincing win over the nation's No. 7 ranked baseball team in game one of a doubleheader and then saw its hopes of a sweep end by an extra inning walk-off home run in the nightcap.
East Central defeated No. 7 Pearl River 8-2 in the opening game of an MACJC baseball doubleheader Wednesday, April 10, at Dub Herring Park on the PRCC campus in Poplarville, before the Wildcats won the second game 2-1 in dramatic fashion.
With the conference split, East Central is now 17-13 overall on the season and 10-6 in MACJC play. The Warriors are in fifth place in the 15-team MACJC standings. Pearl River is 23-8 overall and 8-6 in the conference.
East Central took advantage of eight hits, four Wildcat errors, and a strong pitching performance by Javian Stone to win the first game 8-2.
Stone (Jackson, Provine, Highland Community College) pitched the first seven and two-thirds innings to pick up the win. The sophomore scattered seven hits and gave up just two runs while striking out 10 batters.
The Warriors scored first in the top of the second on a sacrifice line out by sophomore designated hitter Ryan Cupit (West Monroe, La.) that scored sophomore catcher Alex Hay (Lewisburg). Hay opened the inning with a double.
After Pearl River tied the game 1-1 in the fourth, the Warriors began to pull away. Sophomore right fielder Ken Scott (Clarkdale) hit a solo home run in the top of the fifth and another run scored on a passed ball, giving East Central a 3-1 lead. The Warriors took advantage of a walk, hit batter, and two Pearl River errors to score three more runs in the seventh, to go with an RBI single off the bat of freshman center fielder Al Dumas (Eupora). East Central's final run came in the eighth on an RBI single by Hay.
Scott had three hits in the win to lead East Central, while Dumas and Hay each had two. Dumas stole a couple of bases.
The two teams were tied 1-1 after the regulation seven innings in the second game and headed to extra innings. With one out in the bottom of the eighth, Pearl River's Kasey Donaldson ended the game with a solo walk-off home run.
East Central had an opportunity to possibly win the game in the top of the seventh with the bases loaded and two outs, but could not get a run across the plate.
Both Pearl River runs in the game came on solo home runs, the first coming in the bottom of the second inning. The Warriors tied the game 1-1 on a double steal in the top of the fourth inning. East Central managed just three hits in the loss.
Both starting pitchers went the distance in game two. East Central freshman right-hander Tanner Knight (Eupora) pitched all seven and a third innings and took the loss.
East Central will be at home for its next three doubleheaders. No. 4 ranked Itawamba visits Clark-Gay Baseball Complex in Decatur for games at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 13. The Warriors then host Hinds at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 16, and Baton Rouge (La.) at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 18.
Most East Central home baseball games can be heard on WKOZ "Cruisin" 98.3 or watched via live stream video at www.eccc.edu/eccc-media.