BLOG: Oxford sweeps Grenada, heads back to 5A finals

Published 10:54 pm Friday, May 13, 2016

GRENADA — Oxford will get its chance to repeat.

Behind another strong outing from Houston Roth and some help from the bottom of the order, Oxford finished a sweep of Grenada on Friday with a 6-3 win at Charger Field to capture its second straight MHSAA Class 5A North Half championship and clinch its spot in the state championships series. Oxford (26-8) will take on Hattiesburg, which knocked off Pearl River Central in South Half, in a best-of-three series beginning Tuesday ay 7 p.m. at Trustmark Park in Pearl.

Roth, an Ole Miss signee, turned in his second complete game in as many starts to improve to 9-0 despite struggling with his command at times, but the senior right-hander got more support from an offense that was bottled up 48 hours earlier.

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After mustering just three hits in Wednesday’s 2-1 win in extras against Grenada ace Caleb Morgan, Oxford finished with 10 hits against Bradley Sanford and Dane Bevell, six of those coming from the final five spots in the order. Oxford led 6-1 after four at-bats with Roth helping his own cause with a two-run double in the first.

Nine-hole hitter Duncan Graeber was 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles. Leadoff man Grae Kessinger led Oxford with three hits and an RBI while Drew Bianco, Thomas Dillard and Jason Barber each drove in a run.

It was plenty to work with for Roth, who gave up his first two earned runs since March 29 but didn’t allow Grenada (25-5) to get any consistent offense going while pitching around three errors. Roth scattered five hits while walking one and striking out six, keeping Grenada at a distance throughout.

Sanford belted a solo homer in the bottom of the fourth. Grenada plated another run in the sixth on Sanford’s groundout following a leadoff double by Morgan, but Roth, who got a strikeout of Gage Little in the fifth to leave a runner in scoring position, retired five of the final six batters he faced to seal the win.

Sanford took the loss after allowing six runs (five earned) on five hits and issuing three walks in the first three innings. Devarious Wilborn had two hits for Grenada.

See Sunday’s edition of the EAGLE for complete coverage of Friday’s game.