(Photo by Lee Adams/ICC)
No. 3 Mississippi Gulf Coast's Paige Dill broke a tie and drove in an insurance run Friday in a 7-5 victory at No. 9 Itawamba, earning the Lady Bulldogs a split.
"We kinda got a little bit of energy going," Gulf Coast coach Kenneth Long said. "We made our minds up that we were going to play and at least split."
ICC (12-6-1, 1-1 MACJC), which played without coach Andy Kirk after the death of his mother this week, won the top-10 showdown opener 5-1 in Fulton. Gulf Coast is now 14-7, 3-1.
In the second game, Gulf Coast saw a 3-0 lead disappear in the bottom of the third, but got its own three-run rally in the sixth.
Dill broke the tie with a RBI single up the middle. Precious Sanders (Fr, Philadelphia/Philadelphia) had an RBI groundout that scored Dill. She got a small lead after the ball was hit, then waited for the third baseman to throw to first.
Dill was able to dive into home and beat the throw from first, but she landed on the bat and knocked the wind out of herself.
"That was some real heads up baserunning on her part," Long said. "You've got to really be good to do what she did."
Just after, Brittney Triplett (Fr, Brandon/Brandon) scored on a passed ball for a 6-3 lead.
Itawamba got two back in the bottom of the sixth before Nora Keehn (So, Thibodaux, La./Vandebilt Catholic) came into the game in relief with the bases loaded and only one out.
She got a fielder's choice and a soft lineout, then a Dill RBI groundout provided an insurance run in the top of the seventh. Keehn retired the side in order in the bottom of the seventh for her second save of the year.
Triplett went 3-for-5 with an RBI double and scored twice in the nightcap. Lexie Mathis (So, Mobile, Ala./Baker) had two hits, including a double, and two RBI. Kristen Sexton (Fr, Gulfport/West Harrison) went 2-for-3.
Aidan Nichols (Fr, Brandon/Brandon) pitched 5.1 innings for the win, striking out six and walking one. She improves to 7-4.
Gulf Coast managed only one hit in the first game against Carleigh Mills.
Keehn (7-3) allowed eight hits while striking out three.
MGCCC returns to action Tuesday when Hinds visits South Mississippi. The doubleheader starts at 4 p.m. at West Harrison High School.
For more information on MGCCC's 10 intercollegiate athletic teams, follow @MGCCCAthletics on Twitter and BulldogLIVE on Facebook, and go to mgcccbulldogs.com.