The second-seeded East Mississippi Community College baseball team ran into a buzzsaw in the form of defending NJCAA champion and fourth-ranked LSU Eunice on Tuesday, dropping a five-inning, 10-0 decision to the Bengals in the Region 23 Tournament in Poplarville.
LSUE right-hander Patrick Vienne tossed a two-hitter with a walk and a hit batter while striking out eight. A double by Beau Bates and a single by Trey Trosclair were the Lions’ only hits.
Vienne struck out the side in order to end the game in the fifth and improved to 11-1.
The Bengals exploded out of the game, seeing the first six batters of the game reach base safely. Peyton LeJeune put LSUE on the board with a two-run single to right. Two batters later, Alexander Saunier laced a single to left-center to score two more runs. The fifth run of the inning came on a sacrifice fly to center by Cole Romero.
Both teams will face elimination games on Wednesday, with the Lions (28-18) facing Hinds Community College, a 4-3 winner over LSUE in their tournament opener, at noon and the Bengals (39-16) facing Jones College at 3:30 p.m.
EMCC 8, Jones 4: Wesley Sides blasted two home runs, increasing his team-leading total to 13, to lead the Lions in their tournament opener.
After Colson Harris’ run-scoring single off EMCC starting pitcher Blayze Berry opened the scoring in the top of the first, Sides answered with the first of his home runs in the bottom of the inning.
The Bobcats reclaimed the lead three innings later when Drew Williamson led off the fourth with a triple and came home on Billy Garrity’s RBI groundout. The Lions responded by taking their first lead in the fifth on Sides’ two-run blast off Keeton.
EMCC moved ahead 4-2 an inning later on Trey Trosclair’s leadoff homer in the sixth, his ninth home run of the season.
It was 5-3 when the Lions produced three runs in the eighth. Kade Shannon’s two-run shot to center field was later followed by Berry getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
With a four-run lead in hand, Boney returned to the bump in the top of the ninth to retire the Bobcats in order, including two strikeouts, and nail down his second save of the season.
Berry, a UAB signee out of Columbus’ Heritage Academy, improved his record to a team-best 7-1 on the season by allowing three runs on 10 hits with three strikeouts and one walk over seven innings.
The Lions’ four home runs raised their total to 64. EMCC entered the week tied for 10th nationally in home runs among NJCAA Division II teams.