No. 7 Pearl River found two different ways to sweep arch-rival Gulf Coast on Wednesday at Dub Herring Park. After rallying late to claim a pitcher’s duel in the opener 2-1 in 10 innings. Pearl River then put together two huge innings in Game 2 to take a 10-6 victory and secure the second sweep of MGCCC on the season.
“I’m proud of our guys,” Pearl River coach Michael Avalon said. “This is a rivalry series for us. Those guys threw their best punch at us and I was proud that we handled it and found a way to win two games.”
The Wildcats (14-4 overall; 4-2 MACCC) and Bulldogs (8-8; 5-3) were locked in a pitcher’s duel in Game 1, with reigning Mississippi Association of Community Colleges Conference Pitcher of the Week Landon Gartman turning in his best performance of the season.
Despite surrendering MGCCC’s lone run of the game in the third on a balk, the Memphis signee allowed minimal traffic on the basepaths. In seven innings of work, MGCCC was only able to muster four hits and a walk. Gartman, in turn, struck out a career-high 11.
“What a special day he had — and in back-to-back starts,” Avalon said.
The Bulldogs looked to add to their lead in the eighth, advancing two runners into scoring position. Right-handed flame-thrower Landon Harper slammed the door, however, with a big punch-out to end the threat.
Pearl River scratched out the tying run in the ninth. Von Seibert led off the frame with a ground rule double and then came around to score on a double from Kasey Donaldson (Gulfport; West Harrison).
After a scoreless top of the 10th, the Wildcats went to work in the bottom half of the inning. Graham Crawford worked a one-out walk and then stole second base. Seibert then blasted a 2-2 pitch to the right-center gap, scoring the Wildcat catcher and prompting the PRCC dugout to spill onto the field in jubilation.
“They kept battling,” Avalon said. “It wasn’t pretty but I think we only had five strikeouts in 10 innings against a good arm. We squared some balls up and hit ‘em right at them and that’s baseball.
Harper earned the win in relief, tossing three scoreless innings with a career-best six strikeouts.
Tate Parker (Gulfport; West Harrison) and both walked twice.
The Wildcats didn’t wait until the late innings to jump on MGCCC in the nightcap. Pearl River worked the visitors in the first to jump out to a 4-0 lead.
Seibert opened the scoring after being plunked with the bases loaded. After Crawford scored on a passed ball, Parker scored on a Matt Mercer sacrifice.
An RBI-single from Donaldson capped the scoring in the inning.
PRCC starter Sam Hill worked into — and out of — trouble in the fourth. MGCCC singled in a run in the frame but the freshman right-hander struck out the side — including a big punch-out with the bases loaded.
The Bulldogs chased the PRCC starter in the fifth and ultimately plated four runs in the frame to jump ahead of the Wildcats 5-4.
The Wildcats tied the game back up in the bottom of the inning on an infield single by Donaldson to the right side that allowed Crawford to race home.
A huge sixth from the Wildcats removed any doubt in the game as PRCC plated five runs.
Parker started the big frame when he was plunked, scoring pinch runner Nick Skaggs. Seibert walked plating PRCC’s seventh run. The Bulldogs then booted a ball from Mercer, scoring Crawford. A Donaldson single and Skaggs walk tacked on two more runs.
The Bulldogs got a run back in the seventh but the Wildcats shut the door to ensure their second sweep of MGCCC on the season. Donaldson led PRCC with a 3-for-4 performance.