PASCAGOULA Will Inlow’s two-run homer helped Pascagoula beat Pearl River Central 5-4 Saturday at Ingalls Field.
The Blue Devils (19-10) will host Game 3 at 7 p.m. Monday. PRC is 7-0 in game threes under coach Neil Walther.
Pearl River Central left five runners on base in the seventh and eighth innings, allowing Pascagoula to eventually force extra innings and win.
Pascagoula pitcher Austin Beech replaced starter Steven Mota to start the seventh inning. PRC catcher Hayden Dunhurst beat out a single on a slow roller to short. Eli Lee followed with another slow roller to short and both runners were safe after Pascagoula shortstop Collin Young’s throw pulled the secondbaseman off the bag.
Young, though, would more than make up for his slow start in the eighth inning.
Beech got the first out on the inning on a called strike three, but hit Cade Lee to load the bases with one out. Beech came back strong, getting the next two outs on strikeouts.
In the eighth, pinch-hitter Conner Holston started with a single to left and was replaced by Mason Treat. Treat moved to second on Tristan Schlottman’s sacrifice bunt. After Beech struck out, the Panthers intentionally walked Dunhurst, whose solo homer in the fifth inning gave Pearl River a 4-2 lead. Lee singled, but Young plucked the hard-hit line drive out of the air for the third out.
“If he doesn’t make that play, there is going to be a play at the plate,” said Pascagoula coach Richie Tillman.
“Their shortstop made a very nice play on the ball,” Walther said. “I don’t know if we would have scored if the ball had went through to left field, but we were sending Treat home in that situation.”
Pearl River took an early 3-1 lead on Pascagoula two walks and three wild pitches. Josh Kennedy had an RBI single as Caleb Tynes and Zach Roussell scored on pitches in the dirt.
The Panthers (12-14) closed within 3-2 in the fourth. Beech led off the fourth reaching on an error. Zarin Cole followed with a double to put runners on second and third. Erving Rosa, who came in defensively at shortstop, laid down a perfect suicide squeeze to score Beech for a 4-2 lead.
In the fifth, Inlow slapped a two-out two-run homer to tie the game at 4-4. Alden Davis, who doubled in the inning, scored on the play.
“Two out hits are the key to the game,” Tillman said. “We haven’t been getting them this year. Inlow’s homer definitely brought momentum back to us. It gave us the momentum to pull out the game.”
Walther believed the game was about missed opportunities.
“Good teams can’t lose focus in the playoffs,” he said. “That just can’t happen.”
Lee reached four times for the Blue Devils with a single, walk, hits-batsman, and reaching on an error. His liner caught by Young was potentially the game-winning RBI. Dunhurst added a pair of hits including his solo homerun.
Inlow finished 3-for-4 to pace Pascagoula, adding a pair of singles to his homer. Beech picked up the win.