Late-game heroics lift Mississippi College to sweep of No. 12 Concordia-TX
CLINTON, Miss. -- Mississippi College swept Saturday's doubleheader and handed No. 12 Concordia Texas their first series loss of the season. Mississippi College won the first game in come-from-behind fashion, 2-1, and Zach Evans launced a home run to left field in the 8th inning to give the Choctaws a 2-0 win in the second game.
In a series that saw only eight total runs scored, it was the Choctaws (14-12, 12-9 ASC) that used the long ball in Game 2 as Evans sent a full-count pitch over the left field wall with two outs in the eighth inning to give the Choctaws a 2-0 victory. The Taylorsville native came off the bench after entering the game for J.D. Tackett just two innings earlier.
The two runs was all junior Jayme Monroe (3-4) would need as he continued his impressive stretch of pitching by allowing just one hit and striking out six over 8.0 innings. He has allowed just two earned runs over his last three starts. Blake Roberts earned his third save of the year, retiring the Tornados (20-6, 16-4 ASC) in order in the ninth inning, including two strikeouts.
Brandon Garwood took the loss for Concordia in the second game, allowing just the one hit and two earned runs over 1.2 innings pitched. Kiel Harmon, who came into the game with a perfect 4-0 record and a 1.34 ERA, had to leave after the third inning with an apparent injury.
The series win was made possible by a walk-off victory in the first game as Tate Ratcliff drove home Robbie Jernigan with an infield single up the middle in the seventh inning. The victory did not come without controversy, however, as Jernigan reached first on a catcher's interference after it appeared he had struck out for the final out of the game and the Tornados poured onto the field for the postgame celebration.
With Jernigan now on first and Spencer Wilson on second after he had singled with two outs in the frame, Trey Pirkle singled to left field to drive in Wilson and tie the game at 1-1 as Ratcliff stepped in with runners on first and second, again. Ratcliff hit a sharp ground ball up the middle that was stopped on a dive by shortstop Jon Franz, but Jernigan continued his run from second all the way home and an elusive slide scored the game-winner for the Choctaws.
It would be one of three pitcher's duels on the weekend as Cameron Cox and senior Blake Mcilwain battled for seven innings. Both teams were scoreless through five innings before the Tornados used a pinch-hit single by Trevor Harlos to drive in Connor Bertsch for the go-ahead run. Mcilwain was resilient, howevern, as Concordia still had two on with no outs in the inning, but they could not put another run across.
Cox allowed just one hit over the first five innings, a single by senior Kyle Blount in the third inning. In the sixth, Mississippi College got a couple of base-knocks, but could not put much of a threat on the bases. The Tornados retired the first two batters of the seventh inning before the Choctaws began their comeback.
Mcilwain (4-1) earned the win for Mississippi College, scattering eight hits and striking out six over the complete-game effort. Cox took the tough-luck loss, giving up six hits and two unearned runs, while striking out five in the contest.
The Choctaws have now won nine of their last 10 games with the only loss coming to the nationally-ranked Tornados on Friday night, 2-1.