PERKINSTON — Mississippi Gulf Coast fought back from a big deficit in the opener Friday against state champion Itawamba, but lost a late lead on the way to dropping two at Ken "Curly" Farris Field.
The Indians pulled out a 10-9 win by scoring twice in the ninth, then cruised to a 4-1 victory in the nightcap.
Gulf Coast (26-16, 16-12 MACJC) will finish sixth in the conference regular-season standings, and travel to Meridian for the NJCAA Region 23 qualifying series. The best-of-three series will start Thursday with Game 1 at 6 p.m. Game 2 will be Friday at 2 p.m., with a third game, if necessary, immediately following.
The Bulldogs trailed Itawamba (39-6-1, 24-4) by five runs in the sixth inning, but a ground ball by Matt Inlow (So., Pascagoula/Pascagoula) pushed across a run and Nick Sims (Fr., New Hope/New Hope) had a two-out RBI single to make it 8-5.
The Indians tied it with a one-out double in the ninth, then took the lead on a wild pitch with two outs.
The Bulldogs managed only three hits in the final game, which had no implications for playoff seeding. O'Shea's solo homer in the seventh let them avoid their first shutout of the season.
In addition to honoring the entire sophomore class before the game, designated hitter Fisher Ray (So., George County/Bruce) was named the winner of the Randy Rouse Award. The award honors Rouse, a Gulf Coast baseball player who died of leukemia in 1992. The award is voted on by the team and is given to the sophomore who best exemplifies sportsmanship, unselfishness, and loyalty.
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