PERKINSTON — Mississippi Gulf Coast got a much-needed sweep against Nunez on Monday at Ken "Curly" Farris Field. The first game there was too much grit, the second was too much Hayden Robb.
Cameron Cotton's three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning tied the opener, and Nick Sims got plunked with the bases loaded in the 10th for a 9-8 win. Robb struck out 11 batters in six innings to lead a 6-0 victory for the second.
"It's huge, especially in our last doubleheader leading into conference," Bulldogs coach Wes Thigpen said. "It'll give these guys confidence to get rolling. We had some big at-bats in key situations, which just hasn't happened all year long, especially the home run by Cameron Cotten."
Gulf Coast improves to 6-8 before Saturday's MACJC opener against Coahoma. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.
The Bulldogs dug themselves a hole after a five-run Pelicans sixth put them down 8-3. Luke Welborn (Fr., Locust Grove, Locust Grove, Ga.) singled in a run in the seventh, and another scored on a double steal. The rally appeared stalled after three strikeouts in the eighth.
Canaan Ray (Fr., Poplarville, Poplarville) walked with one out in the ninth, and Welborn did the same with two outs to bring up Cotten, a sophomore from George County.
He'd seen nothing but curveballs and decided to sit on a fastball. He got it on the first pitch and mashed it over the scoreboard in left-center for a no-doubter.
"I'd been struggling all day," Cotten said. "I know these guys count on me. It really helped us a lot. You saw we came out the second game and we got after it. It gave us a little spark, a little life."
The game wasn't won yet, but consecutive one-out singles by Jared Tribett (Fr., Lumberton, Lumberton), Ethan Coleman (Fr., George County, Lucedale) and Ray brought Sims to the plate. A 2-2 pitch inside banged off his arm, and the game was over.
It was Sims' fourth RBI of the game, and he missed the cycle by a triple. He had a two-run homer in the first and an RBI double in the fifth that tied the score at 3.
"I really knew what pitches were coming today," Sims said. "I got myself in good counts, and I knew what pitches were coming and took advantage of that."
The Bulldogs gave the ball to Robb in the second game, and the redshirt freshman allowed just three hits. It was his best outing of the year as he continues his return from Tommy John surgery.
"It's been a long road," Robb said. "It feels good. I haven't thrown a game like that in a long time. I think I got up to 108 pitches today to stretch it out a little bit. It always feels good to put all zeroes on the board, get a win and get the sweep."
Sims had two more RBI with a second-inning single that made it 3-0, and Dawson Walters (Fr., Tri-County Academy, Flora) added an RBI single in the third followed by Coleman's two-run double.
That was all the cushion Robb would need.
"He gave us everything we needed and more," Thigpen said. "The kid is such a great competitor, and that really sets him apart from everybody else. His fastball had a lot of life today."
Sims, Coleman, Cotten and Tribett had two hits each.
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