LUCEDALE -- Pitcher Walker Robbins overcame a shaky third inning to put George County on the brink of reaching the Class 6A State Baseball Championship Series.
The Mississippi State signee struck out nine batters as George County beat Petal 7-2 in Game 1 of the 6A South State Championship Series on Thursday at Claude Passeau Field.
George County (20-7) can clinch a berth in the series at 7 p.m. Friday night at Petal. A third game, if needed, will be played at 2 p.m. Saturday back at Passeau Field.
"In a three-game series, winning the first game is very important," Rebels coach Brandon Davis said. "Ending Petal's 11-game winning streak is also important. We look forward to playing Game 2 at Petal with Trevor McDonald on the mound. We believe he'll get the job done."
George County took advantage of two Petal errors to grab a 3-0 lead in the second inning. Logan Tanner walked, followed with consecutive singles from Kyle Whittington and Jathon Staton. Tanner scored the Rebels' first run off Conner Dunlap's grounder. Whttington and Staton later scored off a grounder misplayed by the Panthers.
Petal, however, responded in the third. Xavier Yancey's two-run double cut the Rebels' lead to 3-2.
After that, Robbins (8-1) settled down and kept Petal batters off-balance, allowing just three hits.
"I was glad to get out of that inning giving up only two runs," Robbins said. "I came into the dugout after the inning and forgot about it."
George County scored four runs in the fifth to put the game away, extending its lead to 7-2. Pinch runners Kyle Estes and Ashton Schultz each scored on errors. Staton added an RBI double, followed by McDonald's sac-fly.
"A lot of those hits came with two strikes," Davis said. "That's what I'm most proud of this team. A lot of people think we're built around Walker. We've got a strong team from top to bottom. We've got a complete team."
Robbins and Staton each had two hits for the Rebels.
"This team never stops," Staton said. "Once we scored four in the fifth, we knew it was over. With Walker Robbins on the mound, we know we've got a win."
Ty Barnes took the loss for the Panthers.