Truitt Smith pitched into the seventh inning for the first time, allowing only three hits, to help Mississippi Gulf Coast earn a split Saturday at Northeast.
He went 6.2 innings, striking out six, to win 4-1. In the opener, the Bulldogs lost an early five-run lead on the way to a 10-8 defeat.
Smith's longest previous outing was five innings against Coahoma back in March. He allowed only three singles, and pitched around six walks.
The offense staked him to a two-run lead before he even toed the rubber. Fisher Ray (So., George County/Bruce) drove in a run with a single, and Alden Davis (So., Pascagoula/Pascagoula) plated another with a groundout.
After getting a double play to erase a leadoff walk in the seventh, Smith walked two more batters, giving way to Kole Kittrell (So., Greene County/State Line), who got the final out for the save.
In the first game, Dee Hawthorne (Fr., Harrison Central/Gulfport) hit a three-run homer to cap a five-run second inning.
Northeast's second of three home runs pulled the Tigers within one at 6-5 in the fourth, but Ray drove in a run with a single and Castor Lee (So., Gulfport/Gulfport) doubled in another in the fifth.
NEMCC went ahead 9-8 in the sixth, and added insurance in the eighth.
The Bulldogs stranded nine runners in the game.
Gulf Coast is now 24-14, 14-10 MACJC. Northeast (22-18, 12-12) saw a seven-game winning streak snapped.
The Bulldogs, who can clinch a playoff spot with any combination of their wins and Hinds losses that add up to two, close out the regular season with home doubleheaders Tuesday against Southwest and Friday against Itawamba.
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