PERKINSTON — Dylan Menhennett's dream start to the 2018 season continued Friday as his three home runs propelled Mississippi Gulf Coast to a dominant sweep of Mineral Area at Ken "Curly" Farris Field.
The Bulldogs, winners of their first six, won both games in just five innings. Game 1 ended 11-1 after Menhennett's two-run blast invoked the mercy rule, and Game 2 wound up 14-2.
"I'm just trying to stay level-headed, not get too high, not get too low," the sophomore third baseman from Biloxi said. "I'm trying to keep working every day."
Menhennett hasn't had much to get too low about in the early going. He is batting .588 with a 1.529 slugging percentage. He says he never hit a home run in high school, and only hit one last year for the Bulldogs, but has five through six games.
In a stretch of eight plate appearances starting in the second game at Baton Rouge through the first at-bat of the second game Friday, Menhennett went 5-for-6 with a hit by pitch, walk, double, fielder's choice, single and culminating in three consecutive homers.
"I've been working out non-stop, just getting better," he said. "I've been swinging every night, coming up here and getting extra work."
Gulf Coast coach Rodney Batts confirmed the work ethic and said Menhennett is inquisitive about hitting. He often picks the brains of the coaching staff about his swing.
He drove in four runs in the first game and three more in the second.
Ty Barnes (So, Petal/Petal) struck out seven and allowed four hits in the five-inning shutout. Dustan Dille (Fr, Brookwood/Tuscaloosa, Ala.) struck out eight in four innings to get the Game 2 win, allowing four hits.
"It's a good day all the way around," Batts said. "I thought we played well in every aspect. The pitchers threw really good. Ty was really sharp, much better than his first game. I thought Dille was really good. Both of them had all their stuff. They threw all their pitches for strikes.
"Our hitters did what they've been able to do. We had a lot of two-out hits, a lot of hits with runners in scoring position."
Mineral Area falls to 0-5.
Gulf Coast travels to Elaine P. Nunez in Chalmette, La., on Wednesday. The Bulldogs' next home game is Feb. 24 against Dyersburg State. First pitch is at 1 p.m.
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