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Eagles drop third straight at home

By By Austin Bishop/Special To The Star
FEB. 22, 2001
No matter how hard you shovel, some holes are just too deep to dig out of.
The Eagles of Meridian Community College found that to be true on Wednesday afternoon as they fell behind visiting Pearl River Community College early and despite scoring six runs in the bottom of the sixth and the last eight runs of the game, dropped a 15-11 decision to the Wildcats.
The first three MCC pitchers Robinson, Gillaspy and Justin McMullan gave up eight hits, walked seven and hit three batters in just three innings of work.
The Wildcats, who improved to 3-6 on the year, scored seven runs in the top of the third to take a 9-3 lead they never relinquished. Pearl River opened the inning with a solo homer by Ryan Landry, then sandwiched two singles around a sacrifice to knock Robinson (1-1) out of the game.
The next six batters reached off Gillaspy (three singles, two walks and a hit batter), before McMullan came in. After a walk, he coaxed designated hitter Steven Knight to hit into an ending-inning double play.
But then in the fourth, the first hitter was hit by a pitch and the next two walked to load the bases.
Infielder Temetric Thomas, a sophomore from Starkville, came in to pitch for the Eagles and actually did a good job for four innings, giving up six hits and five runs, but walking just two and recording four strikeouts.
Despite falling way behind, McNickle thought his club still had a chance to win the game. He knew if the Eagles could stay close, he would be able to bring ace pitcher Brian Reed and middle reliever Adam Smith in late.
Both had recently pitched, but were due to get some work in the bullpen. So the idea was to give them each an inning of work late in the game.
Smith did pitch the eighth and Reed the ninth, but the MCC offense couldn't draw the Eagles any closer than four runs.
PRCC took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, only to have the Eagles strike for three in the bottom of the inning thanks to RBI singles by Antion Gray and Tyler Scarbrough and a run-scoring double off the bat of Dustin Cliburn.
But the Wildcats used seven in the third, single runs in the fourth and fifth and four more in the sixth to go up 15-3 and close in on a possible run-rule victory.
Meridian, which has now lost three consecutive home games, scored six runs in the bottom of the sixth thanks to four PRCC errors, an RBI single by Josh Raggio and a two-run homer from Gray.
Gray singled in a run in the eighth and Chad Bradley's one-bagger in the ninth drove in another to close out the scoring.
Brandon Dupuy, 2-1, pitched six innings to pick up the win for the Wildcats, while Matt Magee went the last three innings for the save.
Raggio was one of the bright spots for the Eagles on the night. Not only did he go 2-for-4 at the plate and reach base four times, but he set a new school record with five stolen bases in the game. The old record of four was shared by Lane Burroughs, Robert "Popeye" Cole and Markey Joiner.
MCC returns to action on Friday when the Eagles host East Central Community College at 3 p.m. in the first day of the Rush Classic. Jones and East Mississippi open the three-day event at noon at Scaggs Field.

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