Southwest wins twinbill over Gulf Coast

Published 11:10am Thursday, April 10, 2014

With the race for the playoffs heating up, the Southwest Bears went on the road Wednesday and picked up a huge10-8 and 5-1 sweep of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Bulldogs in Perkinston.

With the sweep, the Bears (13-19, 7-9) moved into fourth place in the MACJC’s South Division (East Central is currently in third place with a 7-7 Division mark). Gulf Coast dropped to 15-18, 5-11. The top four teams from each division advance to the playoffs.

Southwest 10, Gulf Coast 8 

The Bears took a 2-0, third-inning lead in the opener when catcher Tyler Towles sent a ball over the fence in left field. Scoring ahead of Towles on the play was Logan Ferrell who was on base via a lead-off walk. The Bears’ lead went to 3-0 in the top of the fifth when a pair of Gulf Coast errors allowed Andrew Hulbert to reach the plate.

Four base hits, including a Tyler Quave home run, gave the host Bulldogs three runs in the bottom of the sixth and knotted the game at 3-3. They took a 5-3 lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh.

The Bears tied the game at 5-5 in dramatic fashion in the eighth inning when Collin Carroll sent a 2-2 pitch flying over the right field fence. Scoring on the play was Kendric Hodges, on base with a single.

The Bears then exploded for five runs in the top of the ninth to go on top 10-5. Ferrell picked up his second hit of the game and moved to third on Patric Devlin’s single to center. After Devlin stole second, Cole Guyton reached first on a fielder’s choice, allowing Ferrell to reach the plate and give the Bears the lead for good. Towles then drove Devlin home with his third hit of the game and Hodges followed with a three-run homer to right.

The Bulldogs made it 10-8 with three runs in the bottom of the ninth and had the winning run at the plate with no outs when reliever Brady Badon induced Jacob Swiney to ground into a double play. Badon then struck out Adam Cagnina to end the game and secure his sixth save of the year.

“We played hard the whole game,” Ferrell said, “(and) we never gave up. We were down 5-3 at one point and fought back and tied it. That last inning, we scored five big runs which pretty much put the nail in the coffin (for the Bulldogs).”

Sam Richard pitched 1.2 innings in relief, giving up three runs (one unearned) and two hits, to pick up the win for the Bears. He struck out one batter and walked one. Badon retired both batters he faced.

Southwest starter Cliff Hurst went five innings, allowing only two hits while striking out two and walking one. Jared Simon, J. D. Stockstill and Austin White also pitched. Anthony Durr and Hulbert both hit safely for the Bears.

Southwest 5, Gulf Coast 1 

The Bears took a 2-0, second-inning lead in the nightcap. Trey Wynn was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and moved to second on a Trent Gordy sacrifice bunt before Durr reached base via an error. The first of two Hulbert base hits then sent Wynn and Durr to the plate.

The score went to 4-0 in the fifth inning when Ferrell singled, Devlin walked and both scored on Hodges’ line-drive base hit to right. A Southwest error and Rikki Pribanic base hit gave the Bulldogs their only run of the game in the bottom of the fifth and make the score 4-1.

The Bears added their final run in their half of the seventh when Devlin reached second base on an error, stole third and scored on Towle’s sacrifice fly.

The Bulldogs made things interesting in the bottom of the seventh, loading the bases with two outs. But, Badon picked up his second save of the night and seventh of the year when D. Q. Farmer flew out to Devlin in right field to end the game.

“It was just a grind,” Hulbert said of the second-game win. “(We) had to come out after a hard-fought nine-inning game by them (Gulf Coast). Nothing was given to us. The umpires were calling kind of tough today, but we had to keep fighting. That’s what this whole season has been about.”

Starting pitcher Shane McKinley surrendered four hits in three innings, while striking out one and walking two, to get the win for the Bears. Chase Ladd followed McKinley on the mound, giving up one hit and an unearned run and striking out five in just over three innings of work. Badon faced the final five batters, striking out one and walking two. Durr had a single in the game.

The Bears hit the road to Wesson Saturday as they look to sweep the season-series against arch-rival Co-Lin and return the Coca-Cola Baseball Challenge trophy to Summit in an MACJC South Division twinbill. Game one is set for a 2:00 first pitch.