The Northwest Mississippi Community College Rangers closed out their regular season by splitting a doubleheader with the Holmes Bulldogs April 25 in Goodman.
Northwest dropped the opening contest 7-4, but salvaged the nightcap 10-7 in eight innings to move its overall record to 27-20-1.
The Rangers’ split with Holmes coupled with Northeast’s split with Itawamba kept Northwest in third place in the MACJC north division standings with a 16-8 mark.
Northwest will face south division runner-up Hinds in a best of three series in Raymond in the opening round of the MACJC State Tournament. The first game is set to be played Friday, May 1 at 6 p.m. The second contest is set for Saturday, May 2 at 1 p.m., followed by a third game, if necessary, at 4 p.m.
“Playing in the state tournament will be like opening a new season,” said Northwest Head Coach Mark Carson. “The league is so balanced this year that anyone can win this tournament. I am excited about our chances.”
The Rangers used a three-run homer in the first inning from third baseman Alan Mathis of Memphis and a solo blast from catcher Rick Russell of Olive Branch in the sixth inning to build a 5-3 advantage against Holmes headed into the bottom of the seventh of the second contest.
The Bulldogs tied the score at 5-5 in their final at-bat and had a chance for the sweep, but Northwest freshman pitcher Mark Husband of Tunica got out of a bases-loaded jam to leave the score locked and force an extra inning.
The Ranger bats came alive in the eighth by pounding out six hits. Northwest second baseman Seth Milliorn of Olive Branch and first baseman Joel Rich both collected RBI-doubles, while outfielder Kory Petri of Oxford hit a three-run homer.
Husband surrendered two runs in the bottom half of the eighth before retiring the side and moving his record to 1-1.
In the opening contest, Holmes broke a 2-2 tie with five runs in the fourth inning to earn the victory.
Northwest had 11 hits in the game, while the Bulldogs collected just six.
The Rangers scored on RBI-singles by Rich and Matt James of Nesbit. James also collected an RBI-double in the fifth frame. Mathis hit a solo home run in the sixth inning.
Northwest starting pitcher Matt Shaw of Oxford tossed the first four innings and took the loss to fall to 3-4.