Well-rounded performances highlight No. 8 Pearl River sweep

No. 8 Pearl River opened the 2019 season at the newly renovated Dub Herring Park in Poplarville, Miss., on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019, against Jefferson College. The Wildcats and Vikings split the doubleheader, with JC winning 5-3 in 13 innings and then PRCC won 5-4 in a walk-off in Game 2. (KRISTI HARRIS/PRCC ATHLETICS)
No. 8 Pearl River opened the 2019 season at the newly renovated Dub Herring Park in Poplarville, Miss., on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019, against Jefferson College. The Wildcats and Vikings split the doubleheader, with JC winning 5-3 in 13 innings and then PRCC won 5-4 in a walk-off in Game 2. (KRISTI HARRIS/PRCC ATHLETICS)

BREWTON, Ala. — No. 8 Pearl River did a little bit of everything Tuesday to get a comfortable sweep at Coastal Alabama-East. The Wildcats didn't score a combined 34 runs against the Warhawks like they did Sunday at Baton Rouge, but they did cruise to 10-2 and 6-1 wins.

"Anytime you can get two wins it's a good day," Pearl River coach Michael Avalon said. "Another positive to the day is we had two guys go out and get their first starts of the year.

"There are also a lot of areas where we can get better and we're going to work to get better."

GAME 1: PRCC 10, CACC 2

Pearl River (5-1 overall) didn't waste any time putting up a crooked number on the Warhawks (2-8), plating three runs in the first on a bases-loaded walk from Shemar Page (Raleigh) and a two-run single by Dexter Jordan (Hattiesburg). 

PRCC tacked on two more runs in the second on an RBI single by Wiley Cleland (Columbia; Columbia Academy) and an RBI double from Page.

RBI singles from Luke Harper (Meridian; Northeast Lauderdale) and Austen Izzio (Carriere; Pearl River Central), plus a two-run error by CACC in the fifth, pushed PRCC's lead to 9-2. 

The Wildcats scored their 10thrun in the seventh on a Trenton Lee (Picayune) single.

Izzio, Cleland and Kasey Donaldson (Gulfport; West Harrison) led PRCC with two hits each. Both Page and Jordan drove in two runs.

Starting pitcher Reece Ewing (Mobile, Ala.; Faith Academy) was locked in on the mound to start the game, striking out the side in the first. The freshman left-handed took a no-hitter into the third and finished with four strikeouts against two runs on one hit and five walks.

"I think the big thing that he's got to figure out is not to relax and stop competing," Avalon said. "He has really good stuff but how he commands his stuff is going to decide how successful he is.

"He just has to remain focused."

Evan Bynum (Soso; West Jones) earned the win after pitching four scoreless innings, striking out five. Wes Starr (Auburn, Ala.) pitched a scoreless seventh.

GAME 2: PRCC 6, CACC 1

The second game didn't feature as much offensive firepower, but the Wildcats still made the most of their opportunities.

After Matt Taylor (Raleigh) drew a bases-loaded walk to open the game's scoring, the Wildcats plated three runs on a single error off Izzio's bat.

PRCC didn't score again until the sixth when a fly ball by Noah Barron (Hoover, Ala.) and subsequent error scored the Wildcats' final two runs.

"I think one of the things we have to do is keep pressure on people and while doing that make sure we take what they give us," Avalon said of his Wildcats scoring five runs off Warhawk errors. "They walked us some and we squared some balls up and made them pay."

The Warhawks made it interesting in the bottom of the seventh by loading the bases, but relief pitcher Reid Golemon (Moselle; South Jones) got himself out of his own jam by inducing a sweep-clinching ground out.

Colin Danley (Lucedale; East Central) pitched four strong innings, scattering two hits and a walk while striking out four to earn his first win of the season.

"I was really impressed with Danley today. If he can fill that fourth starter role we're going to be in good shape," Avalon said. "Today he got ahead of hitters and got to his offspeed stuff. 

"He was very efficient."

Jerod Meggs (Kosciusko) allowed one unearned run and combined with Golemon to close out the final three innings.

In a game where offense was at a premium, Barron, Donaldson, Ewing and Breitt McKay (Wiggins; Ocean Springs) each recorded one single to lead PRCC. McKay worked a team-high two walks and scored twice.

"I think two freshmen really stepped up today in Kasey Donaldson and Britt McKay," Avalon said. "I thought they had the best at-bats on the team."

EXTRA-BASE HITS

CACC's double in Game 2 was the Warhawks' only extra-base hit of the doubleheader … PRCC stole five bases on the day, courtesy of Barron, Cleland, Lee and Deyton Lingle (Lake) in Game 1 and Ewing in Game 2.

NEXT UP

Pearl River returns to the diamond Friday with a home doubleheader against Coastal Alabama-South. First pitch at Dub Herring Park is set for 3 p.m.

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