PERKINSTON — Mississippi Gulf Coast exploded in the first inning of its doubleheader Tuesday against Southwest, then went on to cruise to a sweep at Ken "Curly" Farris Field.
The Bulldogs won 17-2 in five innings in the first game and 9-4 in the nightcap.
"Anytime you come out and put up 11 in the first inning of the first game, that's momentum to start your day," Gulf Coast coach Rodney Batts said. "We played that way all day. It trickled down throughout our offense. We swung the bats much better today."
The Bulldogs (26-14, 16-10 MACJC) clinched a playoff spot with the sweep, but they still have some work to do to earn a home playoff series next week. Teams that finish second through fifth will host the sixth- through ninth-place teams on May 10-11.
Gulf Coast closes out the regular season on Sophomore Day in Perkinston with a 2 p.m. doubleheader against first-place Itawamba.
The first nine Bulldogs batters reached base and scored to start the day, and the rout was on. Alden Davis (So., Pascagoula/Pascagoula) had a two-run homer in the fourth and was one of five Bulldogs with three RBI. Eight of nine hitters had hits, with Fisher Ray, Cullan O'Shea and Dee Hawthorne doubling.
Tyler Hoffman (Fr., Mobile Christian/Mobile Ala.) pitched four shutout innings, allowing only three hits, to improve to 4-4.
The Bulldogs waited until the second inning to get the bats going in the second game, pushing across five runs. Southwest (14-25, 6-20) got two back in the third, but Gulf Coast put it away with four runs after two were out in the sixth.
Hawthorne went 3-for-4 with a double and had five hits on the day.
"It was just we were seeing the ball much better than we did before," he said. "Today, we played more as a team. We're just focusing on getting wins Friday for our seeding."
Ian Landreneau (Fr., John Curtis/River Ridge La.) went 6.2 innings and is now 5-2.
"My fastball and changeup were working," he said. "I pitched to contact, and the defense played well. The offense was good, so I didn't have to go out there and strike people out."
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