The 19th-ranked Jones County Junior College Bobcats split a doubleheader with Northwest Mississippi Community College here Friday afternoon at Community Bank Park.
The Bobcats won the opener, 2-1, while the Rangers took the nightcap, 5-3. The games were moved up a day to avoid the forecast of rain on Saturday.
The teams will meet again in the opening round of the MACJC playoffs next week.
The Rangers, the No. 2 team out of the North, will host the Bobcats, the No. 3 team out of the South, in a best-of-three playoff series. JCJC is 28-16 on the year, while Northwest is 27-14.
Game 1 will be at 6 p.m. on May 3 at Ranger Baseball Field. Game 2 will be at 1 p.m. on May 4 with a third game, if necessary, to follow 30 minutes after game 2. All of those games will be webcast on the Northwest site at http://www.ihigh.com/nwccrangers/
The winner of the four, best-of-three playoff series across the state next week will head to the four-team, double-elimination MACJC State Tournament at the highest seeded remaining South Division team on May 9-11.
Bobcats 2, Rangers 1
Ryan Milton, Kyle East and Cole Barlow combined to limit the Rangers to four hits.
Milton, a Southern Miss signee, was credited with the win. He started, went the first three innings, gave up one run, two hits, walked one and struck out one as he improved to 3-1.
East pitched three innings, gave up no runs, two hits, struck out three and walked. Barlow notched his fourth save of the year by pitching a hitless seventh.
The Rangers took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Kramer Hollenbach singled with one out, James Lear singled and Brennan Pugh reached on an error, which allowed Hollenbach to score.
JCJC responded with two runs in the bottom of the second and made them stand up.
Jordan Stark was hit by a pitch to start the inning and Alex Shermer singled to put runners on first and third. Stark would score on the back end of a double steal and Stephen Stiglets' groundout scored Shermer to make it 2-1.
Codey Minter doubled and singled for JCJC, while Tyler Graves and Shermer singled twice. Trent Giambrone and Josh Pankratz had singles.
Hollenbach doubled and singled twice for the Rangers, while James Lear singled.
Tanner Cable, 3-3, started and took the loss. He went four innings, allowed two runs, six hits, walked none, hit two and struck out one. Tanner Densford went the final two innings, gave up no runs, two hits and struck out one.
Rangers 5, Bobcats 3
Northwest jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first and would never trail.
Jay King singled with one out and Jordan Barnes followed with a single. Hollenbach then singled to drive in both runners.
JCJC got a run back in the bottom of the first when Giambrone walked, Minter singled and Benji Sullivan's sacrifice fly to center scored Giambrone.
The Rangers made it 3-1 in the third when Lear was hit by a pitch with one out and Densford singled. Both runners then stole a base and Lear came around to score on the same play when a wild pitch was thrown.
Northwest took a 5-1 lead in the sixth.
J.D. Tackett singled with two outs and Dylan Castoria followed with a double. Jay King's double drove in two runs.
JCJC came back with two runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Stark led off with a double and scored on Shermer's single. A Stiglets' sacrifice fly to center scored Shermer.
Stark doubled and singled for the Bobcats, while Minter had two singles. Giambrone, Pankratz and Shermer added singles.
Jon Mark Herrington, 5-1, was the starter and loser. He went three innings, gave up two runs, three hits and hit one. Dawson Kennard pitched 1 2/3 innings, allowed one run, one hit, hit three and walked one. Jeremy Kidd pitched the final 2 1/3 innings, gave up four hits and two runs.
Jay King doubled and singled for the Rangers, while Castoria and Chase Clark each doubled. Barnes, Hollenbach, Densford and Tackett had singles.
Will Faulkner, 2-0, started, went 4 2/3 innings and got the win. He allowed one run, four hits, walked two, hit one and struck out three. Ryan Seawright pitched 1 1/3 innings, gave up three hits, two runs and struck out one.
Tyler Scholl recorded his fifth save of the year with a perfect bottom of the seventh. He had one strikeout.
Community Bank Park
Jones County 2, Northwest 1
Northwest (26-14) 010 000 0 – 1 4 1
Jones County (28-15) 020 000 x – 2 8 1
Tanner Cable, Tanner Densford (5) and Cody Carson. Ryan Milton, Kyle East (4), Cole Barlow (7) and Tyler Graves. WP-Milton (3-1). LP-Cable (3-3). Sv-Barlow (4). Northwest hitters: Kramer Hollenbach 2B, 2 1B; James Lear 1B. JCJC hitters: Codey Minter 2B, 1B; Tyler Graves 2 1B; Alex Shermer 2 1B; Trent Giambrone 1B; Jordan Stark 1B. LOB: Northwest 6; JCJC 7. T-1:38.
Northwest 5, Jones County 3
Northwest (27-14) 200 102 0 – 5 8 0
Jones County (28-16) 100 002 0 – 3 7 1
Will Faulkner, Ryan Seawright (5), Tyler School (7) and J.D. Tackett. Jon Mark Herrington, Dawson Kennard (4), Jeremy Kidd (5) and Tyler Graves. WP-Faulkner (2-0). LP-Herrington (5-1). Sv-Scholl (5). Northwest hitters: Jay King 2 1B; Dylan Castoria 2B; Chase Clark 2B; Jordan Barnes 1B; Kramer Hollenbach 1B; Tanner Densford 1B; J.D. Tackett 1B. JCJC hitters: Jordan Stark 2B, 1B; Codey Minter 2 1B; Trent Giambrone 1B; Josh Pankratz 1B; Alex Shermer 1B; LOB: Northwest 8; JCJC 8. T-1:48.