PERKINSTON — Mississippi Gulf Coast got two good pitching performances but only enough offense for a split Thursday against No. 20 Hinds at Ken "Curly" Farris Field.
Gulf Coast got a complete game from Josh Lewis (So, Theodore/Mobile Ala.) and two home runs from Cullan O'Shea (Fr, Mary G. Montgomery/Mobile, Ala.) in an 8-3 win in Game 1, but a strong first start by Kole Kittrell (Fr, Greene County/State Line) wasn't enough in a 3-2 loss in a heated nightcap.
The Bulldogs are 23-7 overall, 7-5 MACJC, and now in seventh in the conference. Hinds is 19-7, 5-5, just behind the Bulldogs in eighth.
Lewis (6-1) threw Gulf Coast's first nine-inning complete game, striking out 10, walking one and allowing only two earned runs. He scattered eight hits, and Hinds managed only single runs in three innings off him despite his defense making five errors behind him.
"All my stuff was good today," Lewis said. "I could throw all three pitches for strikes anytime I wanted to. I was confident in all of them."
MGCCC tied the game at 1 in the second inning on a double by Chase Fagan (R-So, Hancock/Poplarville), and jumped into the lead on the first four pitches of the third.
Alden Davis (Fr, Pascagoula/Pascagoula) hit the first pitch over the left-field wall. After Brandon Parker (Fr, West Harrison/Saucier) got hit on a 1-0 pitch, O'Shea slammed a two-run shot on the first pitch he saw.
"I felt like I was seeing the ball well," he said. "I saw some fastballs I thought I could get a hold of and got some good swings on them."
His eighth of the season, a solo shot in the fifth, made it 6-2.
"He seems to hit them in pairs," Batts said. "That was big for us. He hit those at the right time, and it propelled us in Game 1."
O'Shea has three two-homer games, and his other two home runs came on the same day at Itawamba.
Lewis finished things off by stranding a pair of singles in the ninth.
"Josh threw really good," Batts said. "That was his first complete game of the year. He saved all our arms (in the bullpen for the second game). I thought he handled them fairly well, and they're a good-hitting ballclub."
Kittrell had pitched 20 innings of scoreless ball in his first 10 appearances, but Batts handed him the ball to start Thursday. He allowed six hits while striking out five, and still has a 0.72 ERA after allowing his first two runs.
"Kole made his first start at threw good. He made one mistake with the two-run single in the second, but he gave us a chance. We just couldn't get anything clicking offensively."
Davis had a sacrifice fly to give Gulf Coast as a 1-0 lead after 1, but Hinds got a two-out single in the second to score twice. The Eagles pushed across another run sixth to make it 3-1.
Gulf Coast had a rally in the sixth squelched by bad base-running when a Chase Fagan two-out RBI single saw a runner miss second and have to retouch. Hinds was able to record the third out.
Another gaffe on the bases in the seventh wasted a leadoff single in the bottom of the seventh.
Gulf Coast plays Sunday against Mississippi Delta. First pitch in the doubleheader at Moorhead is scheduled for 1 p.m.
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