Meridian Star


April 1, 2014

No. 5 EMCC Lions get doubleheader sweep over Itawamba CC

SCOOBA — The fifth-ranked Lions of East Mississippi Community College assumed sole possession of first place in the MACJC North Division baseball standings with an 8-6, 5-3 home sweep over division rival Itawamba Community College Sunday afternoon.

With the sweep, head coach Chris Rose's 21-7 Lions have already matched last year's EMCC overall win total with a month of regular-season play still remaining.  Now also 8-2 within the division, East Mississippi enters the week's action percentage points ahead of Northeast Mississippi (13-11, 6-2) and Mississippi Delta (16-10, 7-3) atop the division standings.

Postponed one day due to rain, Sunday's opener began with the Lions owning an early 6-1 lead after the home team produced runs during each of the first three innings.

EMCC answered Itawamba's first-inning solo run with a pair of scores in the bottom half on Trent Waddell's bases-loaded walk and Tyler Odom's subsequent sacrifice fly to left field. After adding an unearned run in the second, the Lions increased their lead to five runs with five consecutive two-out hits in the third, highlighted by RBI singles from Blake Key, Dylan Vuncannon and Chase Nyman.

In relief of starting pitcher Tyler Odom, Joshua Griffis worked a pair of scoreless innings for EMCC before allowing four straight singles and a walk that all came around to score and tie the contest at 6-6 after five innings. Sophomore reliever Conner Burton put out the fire by getting the final two outs in the fifth and keeping the visitors off the scoreboard during the final two innings.

Meanwhile, East Mississippi loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the sixth off ICC reliever Ben Aldridge. Odom and Key responded with an infield hit and a ground out, respectively, to account for the final margin.

Burton, a right-hander from East Webster High School, did not allow a hit while striking out two and walking two in his 2 2/3 innings of relief work to pick up the victory in relief and improve to 3-1 on the year.

Offensively in the opener, all but one starting position player had at least one hit for the Lions. LeDarious Clark, of Southeast Lauderdale, led the way with a 3-for-4 effort at the place, including a double, while Odom, from Oak Grove, went 2-for-3 with two runs batted in.

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