The Class 5A state title series will come down to Game 3 at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
Oxford rolled to a 9-2 victory over Pearl River Central Friday afternoon at Trustmark Park after PRC won 8-4 in Game 1 on Tuesday.
PRC coach Neil Walther likes his team's chances if history holds true on Saturday.
“We're going to respond fine,” he said. “It doesn't mean it's going to be like this forever, but we're 9-0 in Game 3 since I've been here. Hopefully, we'll be 10-0 before that streak stops.”
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Oxford is aiming for its third consecutive state title on Saturday.
“We talked a lot about it this week about we've been here,” Oxford coach Chris Baughman said. “We've handled the pressure of success over the last three, four years. So, that's got a little to do with it. But once that first pitch is thrown you get between the lines, it's high school kids. Whoever performs better in the moment, doesn't matter what's happened in the past. This will be uncharted territory for us. We've never been in a Game 3 for state finals. So, we'll see what happens.”
Things got off to a good start in the first inning for the Blue Devils.
First, PRC starting pitcher Hayden Lebeau held Oxford scoreless after loading the bases with one out in the top of the first.
In the bottom of the first, Tristan Schlottman led off with an infield single and two batters later, Hayden Dunhurst brought him home with a single to right to give the Blue Devils (27-12) a 1-0 lead.
Oxford tied it at 1-1 in the second inning on a two-out RBI single by Parker Stinnett.
The wheels came off for PRC in the fourth inning as Oxford put four runs across, helped by an error and a pair hit by pitches.
“It boils down to three fly balls that aren't outs in the fourth inning and a ground ball that's not an out,” Walther said. “If we make those first two plays, maybe they don't score a run.”
Lebeau took the loss, giving up two earned runs on three hits in 3 1/3 innings. He struck out five and walked three.
Sclottman and Roussell both had a pair of hits to lead the six-hit effort for the Blue Devils.
Preston Perkins finished 2-for-2 at the plate with three runs scored to lead the Chargers (32-6).
Stinnett went the distance for Oxford, giving up two earned runs on six hits in seven innings. He struck out seven and walked one.
PRC held its ace, senior Cade Lee, for Game 3. The right-hander is 7-0 with a 2.04 ERA in 14 appearances this season.
In his last appearance, Lee was the winning pitcher in a 7-4 Game 3 win decision over Hattiesburg to clinch the 5A South State title.
“Cade is good to go,” Walther said. “Rigel Robinson is also eligible to pitch tomorrow as well. We're going to win or lose with Cade or Rigel on the mound. Cade will go as long as long as he can, hopefully finish. If not, we don't have a problem coming with Rigel for a few.”
Oxford has yet to announce a starter for Saturday's game, but is likely to go with either Reed Markle or Tyler Smith.
5A State Finals
Who: Pearl River Central vs. Oxford
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Where: Trustmark Park, Pearl