PERKINSTON, Miss. (MGCCC Athletics) - Mississippi Gulf Coast destroyed Southwest Mississippi in a pair of five-inning games Wednesday at Ken “Curly” Farris Field.
The Bulldogs won the opener 10-0 on a shutout by Hayden Robb (Fr., Vancleave/Vancleave) and pounded out 14 hits in a 13-2 victory punctuated by Noah Blythe (Fr., Lexington, Ky./Tates Creek) hitting his seventh home run.
“It was probably our best all-around doubleheader yet,” Gulf Coast coach Wes Thigpen said. “One of the things I was most proud of was our two-strike hitting. It’s come far in the last couple of weeks. Guys look more and more comfortable now. They’re putting together better at-bats, we defended it well and guys threw strikes. That’s a good combination.”
Gulf Coast (15-11, 12-6 MACCC) had a double, three singles, two sacrifice flies, two hit-by-pitches and an RBI groundout in two-strike counts in the first game. The Bulldogs added a walk and four hits, including a double, in the second.
“It’s something we’ve been working hard on in practice, and I’m glad to see it in action,” Blythe said. “We see what it does for us.”
Robb needed only 65 pitches, striking out four and walking one, to finish his shutout. Blythe had a two-strike RBI double and a two-strike RBI groundout.
Connor Holliman (Fr., Gulfport/St. Patrick) picked up his first two collegiate hits in his first start behind the plate. Ethan Coleman (Fr., Lucedale/George County) and Canaan Ray (Fr., Poplarville/Poplarville) also had two hits.
Flowers threw only 52 pitches in four innings of work in the second game, striking out five. He would have finished the game, but Thigpen wanted to get Alex McWhorter (Fr., Mobile Ala./Faith Academy) back on the mound after coming back from a broken finger. He needed only nine pitches to record a three-up, three-down fifth with a strikeout.
Tucker Thomas (So., Biloxi/Biloxi) had three hits. McWhorter had two hits, including a double. Coleman and Dawson Walters (Fr., Flora/Tri-County Academy) also had a pair of hits.
Blythe’s three-run home was his sixth of the season. He only has 36 at-bats for an eye-popping 1.224 slugging percentage.
“I finished with four my senior year in high school,” he said. “Getting in the weight room here definitely help me with that kind of power, and I can’t thank Encore (Rehabilitation) enough. They helped me with my rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery last year, and I think they definitely put some strength in my body I didn’t have when I came here.”