Eagles slip past Navarro, 6-5
TAKING A RIP Meridian Community College's Toddrick Johnson puts the ball in play during the Eagles 6-5 win over Navarro in the Rush Invitational at Scaggs Field on Friday. PHOTO BY KYLE CARTER / THE MERIDIAN STAR
By Robby Atkinson / staff writer
Feb. 28, 2004
The story of the 2004 baseball season for the Meridian Community College Eagles has been the impressive hitting from top to bottom in the lineup.
That continued in Friday's opening round of the Rush Invitational Tournament, as the host Eagles used several key two-out hits to go along with great pitching from the bullpen to take an exciting 6-5 win over Navarro (Texas) College at Scaggs Field.
"I was very excited that some guys got some innings," MCC head coach Mike Federico said. "I was very pleased that we were able to stay patient at the plate to scratch for a run at the end."
The Eagles, ranked No. 5 in the country by the NJCAA, came from behind three times to earn the win.
MCC took the lead for good in the bottom of the seventh when Van Pope ripped a two-out single to left to score Michael Murray. Moments earlier Murray had tied the game at 5-5 with an RBI double to left.
Pope took care of business on the mound as well, pitching the top of the ninth to earn his first save of the season.
"We pulled together as a team today and got the job done," Pope said. "We did make a couple of mistakes and this was probably the best game that I have played here at MCC."
Jason Phillips (1-0) got the win out of the bullpen and Justin Brewer also got an inning out of the pen for MCC to make his debut after shoulder surgery last season.
"I think that this was a very big win for us and this was probably the best game we have played," Murray said. "We also got some great pitching from the bullpen which was great."
Jason Vonbehren put Navarro up 1-0 in the third with an RBI double off the center field wall. MCC came back to take the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Toddrick Johnson reached first base on a fielder's choice, stole second and scored the tying run on a two-out single to right by Dillon Sudduth.
Kyle Ginn followed Sudduth with a single to right and both runs came around to score on a double by Michael Murray, giving MCC a 3-1 lead.
Navarro put together a three-run rally, sparked by an outfield error by MCC, to retake the lead at 4-3. The go ahead run scored thanks to an RBI single by former Meridian High School standout Maurice Cole.
"We did make a couple of errors that cost us at times, but we found a way to win," Federico added. "They have a great team and it always feels good to win the close ones."
MCC tied the game at 4-4 on an RBI double by Aaron George in the bottom of the sixth. Navarro was able to regain the lead in the top of the seventh when Kyle Freeman was hit by a pitch to open the inning and later scored on a ground out by Chris Coover.
MCC returns to action today against Pensacola at 3 p.m. in the second day of the three-day, round-robin tournament. Navarro takes on Shelton (Ala.) State at noon.
Shelton St. 5
The Pirates scored four huge runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to take a three-run win over Shelton State. Shelton State did have a 3-1 lead in the top of the fourth inning highlighted by a two-run single by Adam Smith to give the Buccaneers an early lead.
Pensacola (7-5) tied the game at 3-3 on a towering two-run home run by Bo Brown and the Pirates tallied four runs in the fifth inning led by a two-run single from Reuben Williams.
Williams led Pensacola by going 3-for-4 with three singles and Pat Clayton (3-0) picked up the win on the mound by going four innings with five strikeouts.
Brian Sprowl led Shelton State with three singles.