The Baton Rouge Community College baseball team entered Saturday’s doubleheader against Meridian needing a sweep to clinch the Miss-Lou Conference regular-season championship and a split to push the matter into Sunday’s series finale.
The Bears got neither.
Meridian hammered out a 10-0 victory in the first of the two seven-inning games, then held on for a 10-9 win.
BRCC scored five runs in the seventh inning of the second game and had runners at second and third when Jackson Lowery induced a Tanner Sheets groundout to end the game. Meridian (31-19, 7-4) wrapped up the Miss-Lou regular-season title — and earned the right to host the Region 23 tournament May 10-13 — by beating the Bears (25-28, 5-6) for the fourth time this season in five tries.
“You can have a lot of excitement and enthusiasm, but you’ve got to play,” BRCC coach L.J. Dupuy said. “We came out all excited about playing, but we didn’t play in the first game.”
BRCC lost two of three at Meridian earlier in the season. But because Delgado took a pair of games from the Eagles last weekend, the Bears entered the weekend tied with Meridian atop the Miss-Lou standings with the series at Pete Goldsby Field to decide the regular-season champion.
There were similar stakes last year when the Bears beat Meridian in the final game of a three-game series and celebrated the first conference title in their history. Meridian would have won the regular season had it won that game.
“I give credit to coach Dupuy and his club,” Meridian coach Chris Curry said. “We knew it was going to be a battle. We did not feel comfortable coming down here. My hat’s off to them the way they got back in the second game with the big seventh inning. That shows what kind of fight they have. We expect to see that kind of fight (Sunday) and in the regional.”
A pair of Southeastern Conference recruits led Meridian in the first game.
Mississippi State signee Wes Stokes went the distance on the mound, allowing BRCC a double by Cade LeBlanc and an infield single by Jacob Williams in the two-hitter.
“We couldn’t get anything generated against him at all,” Dupuy said. “The guy just pitched a heck of a good baseball game.”
And Alabama signee Wade Wass clubbed his NJCAA-leading 20th homer to lead a 10-hit attack.
It looked like the Eagles would have just as easy a time as they raced out to a 9-0 lead in the second game.
Jami Rachel ended 11 innings of shutout baseball when he scored Sawyer Gandy on an RBI single up the middle in the fifth. BRCC added three more runs in the frame, cutting the deficit to five. And the Bears scored five runs in their final at-bat and had runners on the corners with one out before Lee Elisar struck out and Tanner Sheets bounced a chopper to Johnny Tolson at third for a 5-3 putout.