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JUCO roundup: Mills-Derouen throws no-hitter; No. 3 Gulf Coast passes 40-win mark

 Mississippi Gulf Coast freshman pitcher Dylan Mills-Derouen celebrates his no-hitter against East Central on Tuesday at D'Iberville High School.
DON HAMMACK/MGCCC Mississippi Gulf Coast freshman pitcher Dylan Mills-Derouen celebrates his no-hitter against East Central on Tuesday at D'Iberville High School.

Freshman pitcher Dylan Mills-Derouen threw a no-hitter to top off a crucial Mississippi Gulf Coast sweep of second-place East Central.

The Bulldogs (21-15, 11-9 MACJC) jumped two spots in the conference standings with 3-2 and 3-0 wins at D'Iberville High School and finished a great night in sixth place after Mills-Derouen's heroic.

"It's amazing," the former Biloxi standout said. "It amazing to know these guys are behind me 100 percent. I'm glad I could produce for them. They deserve it."

Mills-Derouen evened his record at 3-3 after throwing 113 pitches. He struck out eight and walked five.

"His slider, they couldn't touch it," catcher Brian Lane said. "He kept it down in the zone. It was nasty."

Two of those walks started the seventh, and the runners advanced on a wild pitch.

But Mills-Derouen got a comebacker, a strikeout and a hard ground ball to shortstop Justin Nussbaum to end it.

"The no-hitter was in the back of my mind," he said. "I can't lie, it was. The man behind the plate was an animal. Without him this no-hitter wouldn't be possible."

George County's Ian Goff singled to lead off the third, then advanced to second on an error in the outfield. Lane extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a double and an RBI, then courtesy runner Andrew Ryals scored on Michael Shubert's single.

Goff laid down a critical suicide squeeze in the sixth to provide a critical insurance run. That made it a little easier for Gulf Coast coach Rodney Batts to leave Mills-Derouen in after the two walks in the seventh.

"I told him (after the game) he was one walk away from coming out," Batts said. "I wasn't sure if he was losing it or not. The good thing was he refocused and ended up finishing."

Gulf Coast got great starting pitching all day. Three Bulldogs pitchers scattered eight hits in the opener.

St. Stanislaus' Irby Dossett gave up two runs in his 5.1 innings of work. He gave way to former SSC teammate Destin Aime with the bases loaded, and Aime not only pitched out of the jam, he would go on to retire all eight batters he faced to pick up his second win of the season.

Brandon Kennedy picked up his sixth save of the season with a 1-2-3 ninth.

St. Stanislaus' Chase Rhodes tied the game at 1 with a fourth-inning sacrifice fly, and the Bulldogs took the lead on Brycen Burge's bases-loaded walk in the fifth.

After East Central tied it up with a solo home run in the top of the sixth, Brian Lane's RBI double in the bottom the inning scored the winning run.

Tyler Evans went 3-for-3 with a walk in his return to his old home field.

"It was fun and stressful all at the same time," Batts said. "It's always good to win two, but to win two against the caliber of team as East Central is something else. Our guys showed a lot of grit and a lot of heart today."

Gulf Coast softball earns win No. 41: No. 3 Mississippi Gulf Coast got its second straight 40-win season Tuesday by sweeping Copiah-Lincoln on the road on the strength of five home runs.

Hannah Melendrez hit two home runs in a 4-2 win in Game 1, then had another home in the second, a 16-4 win in five innings. Molly Murphy had two home runs, including a grand slam, in the second game.

The Lady Bulldogs are 41-3 and finished the MACJC regular season 25-3.

"When you look at that many wins against the opponents that we play, that says everything about this team," Gulf Coast coach Kenneth Long said. "We're a solid team. We play together."

Gulf Coast opens the MACJC playoffs Friday against East Mississippi. Game 1 at Ross-Smith Field is at 6 p.m. Game 2 is Saturday at 1 p.m., with a third game, if necessary, following immediately.

The Lady Bulldogs are the first team in the state to 40 wins. It's the second season in a row past that milestone and third time in program history.

Melendrez has now hit home runs in three straight games. Her five homers in that span give her 13 for the season.

"Hannah is seeing the ball so well," Long said. "She's just absolutely on right now. They tried to get her on a changeup, she hit it out. They tried to get her on hard stuff, she hit it out. Whatever they threw, she hit it out."

She led of the second inning with a solo shot ahead of Kelli Berry's RBI single. Melendrez belted a two-run shot in the third.

Co-Lin (29-12, 19-9) got a two-run homer in the fourth to cut its deficit in half, but Nora Keehn (12-1) pitched five strong innings before yielding to Kaitlin Lee with two on and no outs in the sixth.

Lee got a double play and a fly ball to get out of the jam, then retired the side in order in the seventh for her third save.

She picked up her 20th win of the season in Game 2, pitching four innings. She struck out four and allowed three hits, with her four runs allowed unearned.

Lexie Mathis had two doubles, and Camry Griffith had two hits.

The Bulldogs had 15 hits in the second game, with Murphy slugging a grand slam in the second and added a two-run shot after Melendrez's three-run homer in the third.

Murphy has homered in three of the last four games. In two of those, she homered in her only at bat as a substitute late in games.

"I can't say enough about Molly right now," Long said. "She's taking advantage of every opportunity to play and coming up big for us. She's worked hard in practice and been very coachable."

PRCC baseball sweeps Co-Lin: Pearl River Community College used some late-inning magic to take a doubleheader sweep against Copiah-Lincoln Tuesday at Wildcat Field.

The Wildcats scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning to win Game 1 5-4, then took the sweep with a six-run outburst in the bottom of the sixth for a 7-4 victory in the nightcap.

PRCC kept its flickering playoff hopes alive at 9-15 in MACJC play (24-18 overall). Co-Lin dropped to 9-26 and 4-16.

In the opener, the Wolfpack took a 3-2 lead in the fifth inning and made it 4-2 in the seventh, but the Wildcats tied the game in the bottom of the seventh on Carter Hankins' leadoff triple and an RBI single by Peyton Lee after Graham Hackbarth was hit by a pitch.

The winning rally started when Hackbarth led off the home ninth with a double, Noah Nicaud singled and walk loaded the bases. Co-Lin got one out on a force at home, but Lucas Scott's grounder was bobbled, allowing Nicaud to score from third.

Billy Cox (2-2) got out the Wildcats out of bases-loaded jam in the top of the ninth to keep the game tied, and earned the victory. Tanner Jones (2-3) was the losing pitcher for the Wolves.

Pearl River broke the nightcap open after Co-Lin took a 3-1 lead in the top of the sixth on a pair of bases-loaded walks. The first broke a 1-1 tie and invoked the wrath of Wildcat coach Josh Hoffpauir, which led to his ejection from the game.

The fired-up Wildcats wasted no time getting their revenge, as Chandler Ray led off the bottom of the inning with a single, took second on a passed ball and scored on Gare Teer's double.

Teer took third on a fly ball to rightfield and scored the tying run on a sacrifice fly by Justin Demary, coming after a walk to Hackbarth. Nicaud singled to extend the inning, and Zachary Clark drove in Hackbarth with a single for the go-ahead run.

Lee and Scott followed with run-scoring singles, Scott's hit plating two runs. Demary (3-2) earned the victory after getting a strikeout to end the top of the sixth and got through the seventh with only a run allowed on three hits. Jones (2-4) took the loss for Co-Lin.

The Wildcats will complete their home schedule on Saturday against East Mississippi in a 1 p.m. doubleheader, and will finish the regular season on April 30 at Holmes.