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Northwest Drops Two, One-Run Games to 13th-Ranked Itawamba
March 21, 2012By Kevin Maloney of NORTHWEST MISSISSIPPI COMMUNITY COLLEGE
FULTON– In a pair of big north division games played at Cresap Field Tuesday afternoon, the 13th-ranked Itawamba Indians got go-ahead home runs in the latter innings of each game to hold off the visiting Northwest Rangers 2-1 and 4-3 to sweep the doubleheader. Game 1 Box / Game 2 Box
Itawamba improved to 18-4 overall and 5-1 in north division play, while Northwest dropped to 10-12 overall and 2-2 in division action.
In the opening game of the afternoon, Itawamba's Dylan Earnest and Northwest's Nolan Ryan dueled it out on the mound and neither pitcher gave up much.
Northwest broke open a scoreless game with a single run in the third, using Austin Overall's sac fly that scored Josh Johnson. Two pitches earlier, Overall appeared to give the Rangers a three-run lead, but his fly ball inside the pole in left was called foul which would come back to haunt Northwest later.
Itawamba knotted the game at 1-1 in the fifth, with Jeremy Ferguson sending a solo home run over the fence in right. The Indians would then plate the winning run in the bottom of the sixth, using Dillon Mitchell's sac fly that scored Drew Alford.
Earnest improved to 5-1 on the mound for Itawamba, scattering 10 strikeouts, six hits and just one run. Ryan went the distance for Northwest, scattering just three hits and two runs while striking out four.
Bradley Noland went 2-for-3 to pace the Ranger offense against a 2-for-2 day for Itawamba's Ferguson.
In another tightly contested contest in game two, Jimmy Braswell's solo home run to left-center broke open a 1-1 game in the fifth and gave the Rangers their first lead at 2-1.
Jeremy Massie escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fourth as the momentum was clearly in favor of Northwest, and Braswell made Itawamba pay the ensuing Ranger at-bat. The Indians would strand two more in the fifth, closing the game with 10 stranded.
Itawamba, however, would break through in the sixth, as Channing Nanney's two-run home run to left-center and Alford's RBI-single put the Indians back in front 4-2. Massie retired the first two batters before Zach Randolph's single kept the inning alive.
Northwest wouldn't go down easy, stringing together back-to-back doubles by Dex Herrington and Jeremy Carlisle to start the seventh and pulling within a run at 4-3.
But that's as close as Northwest would get, with Mitchell picking up his first save of the year by retiring three of the final four Rangers in relief of Ben Hudspeth.
Johnson closed the game 2-for-3 in the leadoff position for Northwest against two hits apiece for Cody Shrewsbury and Chris Hannig for Itawamba.
Northwest will return to the diamond on Saturday, hosting Northeast (10-15, 5-1 MACJC) at 1 p.m.