Sarah Moomaw / The Meridian Star
In a rematch of Saturday's blowout at Southeast Lauderdale's baseball field, the Meridian Spikes beat the Hattiesburg River Cats, 7-5, to grab a much needed win on Monday night.
Three multi-run innings and defensive infield plays combined for the Spikes (3-5) second home win.
"Feel pretty good, thought we played a lot better than we'd been playing," Spikes coach Colton Mitchell said. "We put something together tonight. We played defense behind out pitching, and swung it pretty good."
All five Meridian pitchers were behind the win on the mound, but that was according to plan with a scout from University of Southern Mississippi in attendance.
"There was a scout here from Southern, so I kind of just wanted to let him see all of them," Mitchell said. "I gave each of them an inning, that's how I had it planned."
The real pitching gem came from Witt Haggard in the ninth inning after a 3-run eighth inning rally.
"It came into close the other night and he went one and a third, so he's been pretty good for us this summer," Mitchell said.
Haggard came in for the final four outs and foreboded the game's end with a strike out to end the eighth inning attack. In similar fashion with a runner on third, Haggard struck out Dominique Griffith and Logan Farrell to end the game.
"It feels good to get some innings out here and get my work in," Haggard said. "It meant a lot to leave that runner on third and not let a run score. It felt good to strike out the last two."
The Spikes had grabbed an early lead in the second inning, but the sixth and seventh inning runs sealed the games, despite the late comeback attempt by the visitors.
With a tie game in the sixth, an error and two passed-balls by Hattiesburg catcher David Walley resulted in Dustin Smith's RBI double to go up 3-2 in the sixth inning. Smith rounded the bases to score two batters later, 4-2 Spikes, to end the inning.
The rally continued in the seventh when the Spikes took advantage of River Cat woes.
"We got guys on and drove them in," Mitchell said. "We'd been leaving them stranded, but tonight we put it together."
A one-out two-RBI single by Grant Hill, following an error and walk, broke the game open, 6-2, and would eventually stand as the game-winning hit. Hill crossed home when Reagan Warren grounded into a fielder's choice as the seventh run plated.
Hattiesburg's Blaze Napier opened the River Cats seventh inning attack with a 2-run single. Walley earned an RBI on a sac-fly to right field but Haggard proved to be more than the River Cat offense could handle to earn the save.
Meridian's Hunter Graham got the win.