POPLARVILLE – Pearl River Community College got the 2018 baseball season off on the right note Friday, with a pair of victories at Dub Herring Park.
The Wildcats unlimbered the bats in their opener, smacking four home runs in a 12-7 win over Southeastern (Iowa), then four pitchers combined for a four-hit shutout in a 5-0 triumph over Elaine P. Nunez (La.) in the second game of the day.
“I was proud of how we responded after we got down early against Southeastern,” said Michael Avalon, who opened his second season as the coach for PRCC.
“The hitting carried us in the first game, and the pitching stepped up in the second. We talked to the kids about playing their role, and they really answered the call.”
After Southeastern touched Wildcat redshirt sophomore starter Drake Nightengale (Sumrall) for a run in the top of the first inning, Pearl River immediately rallied for three runs in the bottom of the inning.
Sophomore Derek Eberly (Blountstown, Fla.) led off with the first of his three homers on the day, then the Wildcats loaded the bases and added a run on a walk to freshman Wiley Cleland (Columbia) and another on a sacrifice fly by freshman Shemar Page (Raleigh).
The Black Hawks, however, chased Nightengale with three runs in the fourth and they added two more in the fifth of freshman reliever Miles Smith (Laurel).
But the Wildcats seized the momentum in the bottom of the fifth with a four-run rally, three coming on a homer by sophomore Simon Landry (Ponchatoula, La.). Sophomore Scooter Ginn (Columbia) drove in the go-ahead run on a two-out single.
PRCC broke it open with five runs in the sixth, as the Wildcats took full advantage of a stiff breeze blowing out to leftfield. Eberly, a transfer from Chipola (Fla.) College, smacked a two-run shot, the freshman Noah Barron (Hoover, Ala.) rapped a three-run blow following with a hit batter and a single.
Smith earned the victory, and he was followed by two innings of hitless relief by freshman Colin Danley (Lucedale), an inning of hitless relief by redshirt freshman Dylan Usry (Lake), the freshman Deyton Lingle (Lake) pitched the ninth, allowing one run, but nothing more.
Eberly continued his hot hitting in the second game, leading off the bottom of the first with a home run, and he later had an RBI single in the fourth. For the day, Eberly was 6 of 8 with 5 RBIs.
The Wildcats were stymied until the fourth, when they scored three runs.
After freshman Luke Harper (Meridian) reached on a walk, sophomore Kevin Carter (Gulfport) smoked a two-out triple into the rightfield corner to drive in one run, and Lingle followed with a run-scoring single, and he scored on a hit by Eberly.
The Wildcats added another run in the fifth on a one-out single by redshirt freshman Matt Taylor (Raleigh), a groundout and a two-base error on an attempt to steal third.
Page pitched four innings to pick up the win, and the Wildcats got an inning each of relief from freshman Jerod Meggs (Kosciusko), sophomore Luke Bradley (Bay St. Louis) and sophomore Colby White (Foxworth).
For the day, Wildcat pitchers recorded a total of 22 strikeouts in 16 innings.
The Wildcats will be back in action at 1 p.m. Wednesday, when they host Pensacola State (Fla.) for a doubleheader.
PRCC BASEBALL LINESCORES
Friday at Poplarville
Pearl River 12, Southeastern (Iowa) 7
SCC 100 320 001 – 7 12 2
PRCC 300 045 00x – 12 12 1
SOUTHEASTERN (0-1): Bryce Simon 2B, 1B; Zeb Adreon 2B; Kevin Gomez 2B, 3 1B (3 RBIs); John Mead HR (2-run), 1B (3 RBIs); Austin Martin 2 1B; Marcos Sanchez 1B; Justin Matthews 1B. LP – Hayden Malefant (0-1). Also pitching – Justin Snow; Will Undershute.
PEARL RIVER (1-0): Derek Eberly 2 HR (solo, 2-run), 1B (3 RBIs); Bryson Medious 1B; Simon Landry HR (3-run), 2 1B; Noah Barron HR (3-run), 1B; Scooter Ginn 1B; Logan Walters 1B; Luke Harper 1B. WP – Miles Smith (1-0). Also pitching – Drake Nightengale (starter); Colin Danley; Dylan Usry; Deyton Lingle.
Pearl River 5, Elaine P. Nunez (La.) 0
NCC 000 000 0 – 0 4 2
PRCC 100 301 x – 5 7 0
ELAINE P. NUNEZ (1-4): Zane Hibbs 1B; Alex Powell 2B; Daniel Baez 1B; Nigel Mayfield 1B. LP – Dominic Curole (0-1).
PEARL RIVER (2-0): Derek Eberly HR (solo), 2 1B; Simon Landry 1B; Matt Taylor 1B; Kevin Carter 3B; Deyton Lingle 1B. WP – Shemar Page (1-0). Also pitching – Jerd Meggs; Luke Bradley; Colby White.