PERKINSTON — With his team trailing big in the opener, Mississippi Gulf Coast's ace went to his coach and asked for the ball in Game 2.
Coach Rodney Batts debated for about three innings, but he chose to hand the ball to Dylan Mills-Derouen. The decision paid off big when the sophomore lefty from Biloxi allowed only two hits while striking out nine in a 3-0 shutout.
"I knew it was crunch time for the playoffs," Mills-Derouen said. "I said I'd like to give it a go since we're down in pitchers right now. I knew I was feeling OK, so I figured I'd give it a go. I stood up to the test."
Gulf Coast (24-16, 13-11 MACJC) dropped the first game 11-7. With four games to play, the Bulldogs are in the ninth in the league, which is the last playoff spot.
East Mississippi is 23-14, 13-10. The eight-place Lions won a protest of their second game at Northeast, and those teams will have to resume that game later in the season. It will be tied 1-1 in the bottom of the sixth. Northeast had won 2-1.
Gulf Coast scored its first two runs in the nightcap on wild pitches, one in the third and one in the sixth inning. Logan McGrew's ground ball in the sixth made it 3-0, but Mills-Derouen didn't need the insurance.
"He came to me in about the sixth inning of Game 1 and said he wanted it. We mulled over it for about three innings," Batts said. "He pitched on heart and guts today. Coming off three days rest, that's what got him through it."
It was his fourth complete game of the year, following his five-inning complete game win against Southwest.
Gulf Coast plays its last four regular-season games on the road, with doubleheaders Wednesday at East Central and Saturday at Northeast.
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