Eagles set school records in wrong categories
By By Austin Bishop/Special To The Star
Feb. 19, 2001
It was a record-setting day for the Meridian Community College baseball program on Sunday, but it wasn't quite the kind of mark first-year MCC head baseball coach Russ McNickle was hoping his Eagles would leave.
Meridian made 14 errors, including five in the fourth inning alone to set two school records on the way to an 11-7 loss to Faulkner (Ala.) State in the final game of the 2001 Rush Invitational Baseball Tournament.
Eight different players made at least one error in the game, with four making at least two. The worst was the fourth inning, when five errors led to seven unearned runs for the Sun Chiefs.
What baffled McNickle even more was the nature of the errors.
The 14 errors in a game eclipsed the mark of 12 set on March 24, 1970 against the Ole Miss Freshman in the first baseball game ever played by what was then Meridian Junior College.
The five errors in an inning erased the mark of four set against Mississippi Gulf Coast on April 4, 1970.
But, amazingly enough, the Eagles were still in the game despite the defensive miscues.
MCC, now 4-3 on the season, scored four runs in the bottom of the first and used a single run in the third to take a 5-0 lead, before Faulkner hit for seven in the error-plagued fourth inning.
The Eagles picked up single runs in the fourth and fifth to tie the game at 7-7 after five innings of play.
Faulkner used two singles, a double and two more errors to take a 9-7 lead in the top of the seventh. Then came what McNickle termed as the end of MCC's real hopes of winning.
After a pop out to open the bottom of the seventh, Tyler Scarbrough singled and Lance Dawkins and Trave Hopkins walked to load the bases.
The Sun Chiefs then brought in John Beech to pitch and he recorded a strike out and got a grounder to end the Meridian scoring threat.
The winners added single runs in the top of the eighth and ninth innings on the way to the four-run win.
Brent Killam, Faulkner's third pitcher in the game, picked up the win, while Beech earned the save. Adam Smith (1-1), took the loss in relief of starter Jason Wimberly.
Faulkner had nine hits in the game, to go with just one error, while MCC picked up seven hits.
Antion Gray had a single, double and two walks to lead MCC at the plate, while Scarbrough had two hits, Dustin Cliburn had a two-run double and Travis Garner and Rory Thornton picked up a single each.
The bottom four hitters in the Meridian order were a collective 0-15.
The Eagles return to action on Tuesday when they travel to Perkinston to take on traditional power Mississippi Gulf Coast at 2 p.m. The next home game for MCC is Wednesday at 1 p.m. when Pearl River Community College comes to town for a single game. That will mark the return of Jamie McMahon to Scaggs Field.
McMahon, currently an assistant coach at Pearl River, is a former assistant coach and player at MCC.
The Eagles will host the Rush Classic on Friday through Sunday, which features East Central, East Mississippi and Jones joining MCC in a three-day round-robin tournament with games starting at noon and 3 p.m. each day.
Although Panola (Texas) College lost to Columbia (Tenn.) State 8-5 on Sunday, the Ponies wound up the champions of the Rush Invitational due to their win over Faulkner on Saturday.
Panola and Faulkner were both 2-1 in the event, while MCC and Columbia State were 1-2.