A year ago, Mississippi Gulf Coast needed a win on the last day of the regular season to make the playoffs and wound up disappointed.
The Bulldogs didn't suffer the same fate, getting sterling pitching performances from Irby Dossett and Dylan Mills-Derouen to sweep Northeast in Booneville and clinch sixth-place in the final MACJC standings, winning 2-0 and 6-2.
"I think this group of sophomores remembers this day last year when we needed to win one game to get in and didn't do it," Gulf Coast coach Rodney Batts said. "They didn't want to go through that feeling again. I put it on their shoulders and they kind of carried the team."
The Bulldogs (25-19, 15-13 MACJC) earned their first playoff berth since 2013. They'll travel to third-place East Central on Friday for the start of a best-of-three first-round series.
Dossett pitched 7.2 innings of five-hit ball in the opener, combining with Ethan Necaise for the shutout. Mills-Derouen threw a four-hitter, striking out five Warriors (20-26, 11-17).
"Irby and Dylan both threw really well, just like they have the last month, month and a half," Batts said. "Both of them had quality starts, pitched really well and gave us a great chance to win."
Dossett (4-2) hasn't allowed a run over 14.2 innings his last two times out.
Rhodes and Michael Shubert had two hits each in a 10-hit attack, but the Bulldogs left 14 runners on base.
Necaise pitched himself into and out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth. The Tigers loaded the bases with nobody out, but he got a strikeout, a force at home and a lineout to right to earn the save.
Gulf Coast blew open a 1-1 second game with a five-run sixth. Slater McCarty had a two-run single, and Rhodes added another.
Rhodes went 4-for-6 with three RBI in the doubleheader. Ian Goff and Michael Shubert also had two hits.
Gulf Coast will have a couple days to get ready to play East Central again. The Bulldogs swept the Warriors in a regular-season doubleheader at D'Iberville.
Batts knows the trip to Decatur will be tougher.
"I think we caught them at a good time when we played them earlier," he said. "It's going to be a challenge to go to their place to play. It's not an easy place to play. They're going to be better on their home turf."