Warriors outlast MCC, 15-14

By By Jeff Byrd/staff writer
Feb. 25, 2002
There was a whole lot of runs, hits, home runs and errors on display in the final game of the Rush Classic here Sunday evening at Scaggs Field.
Visiting East Central and home-standing Meridian Community College combined for 29 runs, 38 hits, seven home runs and nine errors.
But it was Warrior pitcher Aaron Gisler, ECCC's sixth pitcher of the game, who came in during the bottom of the ninth to get the game's final three outs preserving the Warriors' 15-14 win.
With the victory, East Central grabbed a share of the Rush Classic title with Jones Junior College. Both teams finished the four-team round robin with 2-1 records.
Meridian, who made six errors including one which led to seven unearned runs in the third, falls to 4-8. The Eagles did excite their fans by rallying from a near run-rule twice, the last coming at 15-5 heading into the bottom of the eighth. They also hit four home runs.
Still, that didn't seem to matter to MCC coach Mike Federico.
East Central coach Jake Yarborough was happy to see his team answer in a tight situation once MCC started putting pressure on in the ninth, down just 15-12.
East Central erupted for seven runs in the third inning to erase a 1-0 MCC lead. All seven runs were unearned after a two-out error by MCC.
The Warriors made it pay off getting a two-run triple by Tyler Rogers, a two-run homer by Adam McCurdy followed by another two-run homer by Lewis Bradford.
MCC got two runs back in the third off a two-run shot by Billy Porter to make it 7-3. It went to 7-4 in the fourth when Adam Smith blasted a solo shot that went over the left-field light tower and halfway up the bern.
East Central answered with three runs in the fifth off a tiring MCC starter Justin Rayborn. He went five innings allowing 10 runs, only three earned, off 15 hits and no walks.
William Mars, Dee Hornsburger and Josh Chaney all had RBI hits for ECCC in the fifth to make it 10-4. The Warriors added two more in sixth off three MCC errors.
A two-run homer by Chaney made it 14-4 East Central in the seventh.
Brad McKee extended the game by driving in a run off a sac-fly in the bottom of the seventh to make it 14-5.
East Central got the run back off MCC's sixth error of the game in the eighth.
Then came the comeback. The Eagles scored seven runs off three Warrior pitchers. Chris Wright had a two-run homer, MCC's fourth of the day. Phillip Garrett and Jeff Knight provided further bench power with a pair of two-run singles to help cut the deficit to 15-12.
Justin Pounds then struck out the ECCC side in the ninth. Pounds struck out five in a sharp relief appearance.
In the MCC ninth, Trave Hopkins reached on an error. Drew Van Sickle singled and Brian Page singled in pinch-runner Todd Doolittle to make it 15-13. Yarborough went back to the pen to get Gisler.
A sacrifice by Brent Towne moved Van Sickle and Page into scoring position. McKee then sent Van Sickle home for MCC's 14th run on a sacrifice fly to center. Page moved up a base.
The game ended with a ground out to third base.
East Central was led by Mike Kulbeth who went 5-for-6. Justin Darby had three hits as did Chaney and Hornsburger. ECCC had 22 hits in all.
MCC ended with 16 hits.