MCC clinches Region 23 tournament berth
By By Marty Stamper/The Meridian Star
April 14, 2001
The Meridian Community College Eagles swept Delgado Community College 2-1 and 10-7 Friday at Scaggs Field to clinch a berth in the Region 23 Division I Tournament, May 10-13.
For MCC first-year head coach Russ McNickle, that's just the starting point for his team which improved to 6-2 in the Miss-Lou Conference with four games remaining. Delgado fell to 4-7 with one league game left. Bossier Parrish is 4-5 with three games remaining at MCC.
After a 90-minute delay due to rain to begin the opener, both teams got complete-game efforts from their starting pitchers. MCC's Martin LaRocca (6-2) tossed a five-hitter to get the win, striking out three and walking two. He faced 27 batters in seven innings.
Delgado's Brandon Kling (4-4) tossed a four-hitter, fanning nine and walking only one in six innings. Both of his runs were unearned. Kling faced 24 batters.
Delgado took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning as Carlos Velasquez led off with a single and scored on a two-out single by Wade Schexnayder.
Meridian got a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the first. With two outs, Antion Gray was hit by a pitch and Dustin Cliburn reached on a throwing error by Dolphin shortstop Matt Graziano. Tyler Scarbrough's double to center field plated both runs.
Scoring threats were few after that. MCC had two runners on with two outs in the bottom of the second, but Kling got Travis Garner to hit into an inning-ending fielder's choice.
Delgado had two runners on board in the top of the sixth with two outs, but LaRocca got Ryan Core to hit into a fielder's choice to end the inning.
Trave Hopkins of MCC was the game's only multiple hitter as he had a single and a double.
In the second game, the Eagles broke out the hitting sticks as they hammered three Delgado pitchers for 14 hits.
Cliburn staked MCC to a 2-0 lead with a two-run single in the bottom of the first inning. Garner opened the frame with a single with Rory Thornton following with a double.
Velasquez cut Delgado's deficit to 2-1 with an RBI-single in the top of the second frame only to have the Eagles tally three times in their half of the inning. Two Eagle runs scored on a home run to right field by Garner.
Delgado closed to within 5-3 with a pair of runs in the top of the fifth.
MCC responded with five runs in the bottom of the fifth with Chris Knight hitting a two-run double and Ben Shannon and Garner lashing RBI-singles. The fifth run in the inning scored on a double by Thornton.
Trailing 10-3, the Dolphins got a grand slam from Velasquez in the top of the sixth to chase MCC starter Brian Reed (5-1) who had hit a batter and walked another after a leadoff error by Eagle shortstop Josh Raggio. Michael Goodson got the Eagles out of the inning with three fly ball outs.
Garner went 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs for MCC, 28-11. Thornton went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles. Knight had a pair of doubles, while Scarbrough added two singles.
Velasquez went 4-for-4 with a grand slam, a double, and five RBIs to lead Delgado, 22-15.
Dolphin starter Chris Bourgeois took the loss.
The teams conclude the three-game set today with a single game at 1 p.m.
Marty Stamper is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.