No. 4 Pearl River battles for sweep of Copiah-Lincoln

Published 6:51 pm Wednesday, April 5, 2023

POPLARVILLE, Miss. — The No. 4 Pearl River baseball team had to work for it Tuesday, but the Wildcats came away with a big doubleheader sweep of visiting Copiah-Lincoln at Dub Herring Park. PRCC pulled away late in game one to win 5-1 before using a big fourth inning to take the nightcap 10-3.

“We’ve been needing guys to step up lately and now with some injuries, we’ve really needed that. Today, we had several guys step up which was good to see. I was glad to see our guys battle against a tough arm in game one.”

The day was highlighted by a new record holder. Preston Soper (Madison; Germantown) drew his 41st walk of the season, the modern record for walks in a single season, passing Forrest Dungan and KrisJon Wilkerson whom had 40 each in 2013.

“Setting the walks record this early in the season is pretty special,” Avalon said. “That kid has matured and gotten so much tougher. You’re continuing to see him excel. We’re proud of that kid and how he’s grown. We are really, really happy he’s a Wildcat.”


Fans of good pitching and solid defense were in for a treat in the first game of the twin bill between Pearl River (30-7 overall; 11-4 MACCC) and Copiah-Lincoln (9-26; 3-10).

Starting pitcher Luke Lyon (Hattiesburg; Oak Grove) was locked in right from the start of the day, retiring the first nine batters he faced and striking out six.

In the fourth inning, Lyon looked as if he was in trouble as the Wolves moved a runner around to third base, but Lyon picked up his eighth strikeout of the inning to end the frame.

Both teams finally got onto the scoreboard in the sixth inning. A leadoff double by the Wolves helped them score. PRCC did its damage with two outs in their half of the inning. Preston Soper (Madison; Germantown) drew a walk and advanced to third base on a perfectly executed hit-and-run by Alex Perry (McComb; North Pike). On the next Wolves pitch, Perry took off for second to draw a throw down. When the catcher made the throw, Soper dashed for home. The throw back from the CLCC second baseman was in plenty of time, but a swim move on the slide by Soper allowed him to avoid the tag.

The Wildcats tacked on three insurance runs the following inning, 4-1. Triston Hickman (Wiggins; Stone County) got things started with a single before advancing to third on a single off the bat of catcher Hunter Sute (Tuscaloosa, Ala.; American Christian Academy). Jonah Katsaboulas brought Hickman home by slapping a single into right field. Blaise Breerwood (Poplarville) laid down a bunt, and when the pitcher fielded it, he threw it out of play which allowed two runs to score. The final run of the inning was scored, on a ground out off the bat of Marshall Phillips (Hattiesburg; Sumrall).

PRCC added another run in the eighth inning. Hickman ripped a double into the left-centerfield gap, prompting the Copiah-Lincoln infield to play in. Sute dropped a single just out of the infield for an RBI, 5-1. A clean top of the ninth inning from the Wildcats secured the 5-1 victory.

Lyon was incredible in the contest, pitching seven innings and striking out 11 batters. He allowed one run on five hits and one walk. Blake Gollott (D’Iberville) was awarded the save after two clean innings.

Sute was 3-for-4 in the game with an RBI and a run scored. Hickman finished 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored. Soper had a 1-for-2 game with two walks and a run scored.


The nightcap started much differently for both teams. PRCC’s starter Cooper Cooksey (Waveland; Bay) worked around a runner in scoring position in the first inning to put the Wildcat bats right to work. The second batter of the inning, Soper, roped an opposite-field solo shot over the left field wall. Soon after, Hickman stepped to the dish with Perry standing on third base. The sophomore promptly smashed a double into left field for an RBI. Sute followed it with an RBI double of his own, 3-0.

An error by the Wildcats in the second inning allowed Copiah-Lincoln to push across two runs, 3-2.
Cole Fletcher (Picayune; St. Stanislaus) was hit by a pitch in the second inning and quickly stole second base. With two outs, Soper whacked a single right back where it came from to bring Fletcher around the bases, 4-2.

The fourth inning gave the Wildcats five important insurance runs, 9-2. Breerwood and Fletcher reached on a walk and a hit-by-pitch before Ian Montz (Lafayette, La.; Acadiana) drew a walk to load the bases. The walk caused the CLCC coach to make a pitching change, and Soper greeted the new pitcher with a two-run single. Logan Walters (Petal) knocked a single up the middle and off the glove of the Copiah-Lincoln shortstop for an RBI. Sute capped off the big frame by tucking a line drive down the right field line and cruising all the way around to third base for a two-run triple.

The Wolves got a run back in the fifth, but the Wildcats matched it in their half of the inning on an RBI single from Soper, 10-3. The hit was his fourth hit of the contest.
Blake Hooks (Petal) closed out the game quickly in the seventh with a 1-2-3 inning, securing a 10-4 victory and a series sweep of Copiah-Lincoln.

Cooksey picked up his sixth win of the season by throwing four innings and allowing two unearned runs on three hits and three walks. He struck out six batters in the game. Hooks earned his third save of the season, throwing three innings of three-hit, two-run baseball with three strikeouts.

Soper finished 4-for-4 with five RBIs and three runs. Sute went 3-for-3 with three RBIs and a walk.


Pearl River returns to action Wednesday for an exhibition game against the Biloxi Shuckers. First pitch inside MGM Park is set for 6:35 p.m. Tickets can still be purchased online at PRCC returns to MACCC action Friday at East Mississippi for a 2 p.m. first pitch.

For the latest on Pearl River Community College athletics, follow us on Twitter (@PRCCAthletics) and Facebook (PRCCAthletics).