Northwest Mississippi Community College first baseman Joel Rich collected four RBI to help the Rangers salvage a doubleheader split with the Itawamba Indians April 13 in Senatobia.
Rich hit a two-run homer and a two-run double as Northwest claimed an 11-3 victory in the second contest. Itawamba won the opener 16-10.
The split between the Rangers and Indians coupled with Northeast’s sweep of East Mississippi set up a three-way tie for first place in the MACJC North Division. Northwest is 24-17 overall and deadlocked with Itawamba and Northeast with identical division records of 11-5.
“These last few weeks of the regular season should really be fun and interesting,” said Ranger Head Coach Mark Carson. “Our guys know what’s on the line. We have to focus and play with intensity the rest of the season.”
In its second game victory, Northwest scored eight of its 11 runs with two outs. Rich, a sophomore from Southaven, hit his fifth homer of the season in the third inning to break a 3-3 tie.
Rich added his two-run double as part of a six-run, fourth inning for the Rangers. Sophomore outfielder Ronnie Ferrell of Water Valley added a two-run single in the frame, while freshman shortstop Drew Griffin of Somerville, Tenn., picked up an RBI-double. Northwest racked up 10 hits in the game.
Ranger sophomore pitcher Matt Shaw of Oxford tossed the complete seven innings to get the win and improve to 5-3. Shaw allowed five hits and struck out four, while giving up one earned run.
Northwest collected 14 hits in the first contest, but the Indians scored seven runs in the sixth inning to pull away from the Rangers.
Northwest’s Griffin, who had three hits in the game, picked up his team-leading eighth homer of the season with a solo blast in the second inning, but the Rangers trailed 7-2 after three frames.
The Rangers cut the margin to 9-8 by pushing four runs across in the fourth inning and two more in the fifth. Northwest freshman outfielder Chad Wardlaw of Olive Branch, who had three RBI in the nightcap, sparked the Rangers with a two-run double to score Griffin and Tyler Benson of Pope.
Sophomore pitcher Mark Husband of Tunica shouldered the loss to drop his record to 5-2.
The Rangers travel to Goodman Saturday, April 17 to battle Holmes in a doubleheader at 1 p.m.