All it took was one big inning for Pearl River Central.
The Blue Devils scored six runs in the top of the seventh inning Tuesday night to get past Oxford 8-4 in Game 1 of the MHSAA Class 5A Baseball State Championship series at Trustmark Park.
Game 2 is set for 1 p.m. Friday.
“Throughout the playoffs if we are able to stay in the game we have been fortunate to get a big inning,” said Pearl River Central coach Neil Walther. “I thought early in the game we got away from our approach, but we had some big time hits. Eli Lee did what he’s done all season and come through for us when we need him to.”
Trailing 4-2 in the top of seventh with one out and runners on second and third, Eli Lee smoked a two-run triple to center field to tie the game.
Cade Lee followed with a run scoring single to right to give Pearl River Central a 5-4 lead. Josh Kennedy and Zach Roussell hit back-to-back RBI doubles and Mason Treat added a run scoring single to center to cap the six-run inning.
“I hit it and I saw the center fielder start sprinting and I just ran as hard as I could to get to third base,” Eli Lee said. “(We) got fired up and came together as a team and put together big hits that scored runs when we needed to.”
Starter Rigell Robinson (7-3) got the win on the mound for Pearl River Central (27-11).
“We got to come in Friday refocused,” Walther said. “Oxford is a great team and they can hit it and we are going to have to have an answer.”
Carson Stinnett got the loss on the mound for Oxford (31-6). Preston Perkins had two hits and three RBI’s to lead the Chargers.
“We are disappointed we gave up the lead like we,” said Oxford coach Chris Baughman. “Just comeback and fight and try to get the momentum and force a Game 3.”