ELLISVILLE – Errors and missed opportunities doomed No. 12 Jones College in a pair of one-run losses to Meridian here Wednesday night at chilly Community Bank Park in the 2021 season-opener for both teams.
The Bobcats committed six errors on the day, five in the opener, and stranded 19 baserunners.
Game 1 – Meridian 11, Jones 10 (12 inn.)
In a four-hour marathon to start off the day, Meridian took a 6-0 lead in the top of the first, held off a big Jones rally and won it on Caleb Dyess' sac fly in the 12th.
Braden Luke's two-run homer put MCC on the board first, and they would add four more on an RBI-single and Bridley Thomas three-run home run. Five runs in the inning were unearned.
Trailing 7-2 in the second, the Bobcats started to chip away at the deficit the ensuing four innings. Zach Flaskamp (Southeast Lauderdale) came on in the second and delivered a strong 5.2 innings to keep the Bobcats in striking distance.
A Tyler Ducksworth (South Jones) sac fly, RBI-single from Murray Hutchinson (Madison Central) and sac fly from Hunter LeBlanc (Luling, Louisiana) allowed Jones to tie the game at 7-7 after six.
The tie was broken with the first at-bat of the seventh, however, on Banks Tolley's solo home run to left. Parker Nelson added a two-run single to make it 10-7.
Preston Ratliff’s (Slidell, Louisiana) two-run single in the bottom of the inning cut it to 10-9 and Ducksworth's RBI-fielder's choice knotted the game at 10-10 in the bottom of the ninth to force extras.
Scoreless in the 10th and 11th, Dyess' sac fly scored Bo Gatlin for the game-winning run in the 12th for Meridian.
JC pitchers struck out 12 Eagles in the loss, with just four of the 11 runs earned on five Bobcat errors.
The top of the JC order (Hutchinson, DeeJay Booth (Oak Grove), Ratliff) combined to go 7-for-14 with eight runs scored and three RBIs.
Game 2 – Meridian 5, Jones 4
Clinging to a 2-0 lead after four, Jones couldn't deliver the big inning to put the Eagles away as they rallied for five runs over the final three innings to sweep the day.
MCC tied the game at 2-2 in the fifth on back-to-back doubles by Gatlin and Thomas, only to see Jones retake the lead 4-2 in the bottom half on an error and Ducksworth RBI-single.
The Eagles rallied to tie it at 4-4 in the sixth on a double play ball and John Mitchell two-out, RBI-double to right.
MCC was able to use Bobcat miscues to plate the go-ahead run in the seventh, with Gatlin reaching on a hit-by-pitch, advancing to second on a groundout, to third on a passed ball and home on a passed ball to make it 5-4.
Jones had the tying run on base in the bottom of the seventh but couldn't find the big hit.
The Bobcats (0-2) head to East Central (0-2) on Saturday for a 2 p.m. doubleheader. The game will be streamed at eccclive.com/gold.