LIMA — The Lima Locos fell behind early.
But this year’s offensive-heavy Locos are getting used to putting lots of runs on the board.
The Locos overcame a five-run deficit to bump off the Michigan Monarchs 11-8 in a Great Lakes Collegiate League game Friday at Simmons Field.
Locos outfielder Randon Jernigan (Georgia) went 3 for 4 with two stolen bases and an RBI to pace the offense.
Jernigan, Georgia’s regular left fielder, made the drive up from Georgia last Sunday after taking a week off after Georgia was eliminated by Florida State in the NCAA regionals.
“It was a terrible drive, 12 hours, to be honest,” Jernigan said. “But it’s fun up here. I love it up here.’’
Added Locos coach Matt Furuto, “He’s (Jernigan) a player. He’s got a lot of skills. Any time he puts the ball on the ground, he can run. He gives me a lot of options with him, running the bases and hitting.’’
Peyton Berry (Mercer) picked up the win with four shutout innings of relief. He gave up three hits, struck out six and walked none.
It was a complete turnaround for Berry after giving up five runs in an inning last week against Muskegon.
“I slowed things down, took a breath and it was definitely a better day,” Perry said. “The first time out I was rushing everything. My slider was good tonight and my fastball was good and the catcher and defense did a great job.’’
The first-place Locos stand 6-2. Michigan is 4-4.
The Locos ended up with 11 runs on 11 hits.
The Locos have scored 79 runs in eight games.
“I think our offense is pretty exciting,” Furuto said. “We have a lot of speed and lot of athleticism. And it says a lot about their character to come back (down 6-1 after two). It could have been a game where they shut down, but they never gave up, stayed positive and continued to have good at-bats.’’
Michigan jolted the ball early with two runs in the first and four in the second to grab a 6-1 lead.
The Locos came back with two in third and three in the fourth to tie the game at 6 after four innings.
The Locos pulled ahead 7-6 in the fifth when Ryan Smith scored from third on a wild pitch.
Lima added one in the eighth and three more in the seventh to pull out to an 11-6 lead.
Michigan scored one in the eighth and one in the ninth to get within 11-8.
For the Locos, Tyler Tolve had two RBI and one hit. Lavoisier Fisher went 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI.
Michigan scored two unearned runs in the first to take a quick 2-0 lead.
The Locos came back with a run in the home first.
Jernigan put down a perfect bunt single and went to second on a wild throw to first by the Michigan pitcher
“I probably bunted two times a game at Georgia,” Jernigan said.
Tolve’s RBI single to center brought the Locos within 2-1.
Michigan pounded out four runs in the second to pull out to a 6-1 lead.
Jordan Rogers’ RBI groundout to second gave Michigan a 3-1 lead.
Michigan’s Peter Ahn launched a two-run home run to right and the Monarchs’ lead expanded to 5-1.
Nolan Clegg tripled and came home on and RBI single to left by Michael MacLean to give Michigan a 6-1 lead.
The Locos scored two in the home third to get within 6-3.
Tolve’s RBI groundout made it 6-2. Zach Sweet scored from third on a passed ball and it was 6-3.
In the fourth, the Locos exploded after two were outs.
Colton Frank was hit by a pitch. He came home on an RBI double by Fisher to bring the Locos within 6-4.
Sweet followed with an RBI double down the right-field line and it was 6-5.
Jernigan’s third hit of the game was an RBI single to right to tie the game at 6.
Smith’s RBI double in the sixth pushed the Locos’ lead to 8-6.
The Locos tacked on three more in the seventh to push the lead to 11-6. In the inning Frank had an RBI double.
Dylan Coburn (Louisiana Lafayette) started for the Locos, but went only two innings. He gave up six runs, four earned, on five hits. He struck out two and walked one.
Jared Rine (Kennesaw State) picked up the save with three innings of relief to close it out. He gave up two runs, one earned, on three hits. He struck out six and walked four.
Locos notes: The second game of the three game series with the Michigan Monarchs is at 7 p.m. tonight at Simmons Field. The series wraps up at 5 p.m. Sunday at Simmons Field.
The Locos had three players join the team this week, outfielder Randon Jernigan (Georgia), outfielder Tim Martin (Alabama-Birmingham) and pitcher Cole Reeves (Dallas Baptist).
Locos shortstop Xavier Haendiges (sore right bicep) threw on Friday and hopes to play next week. Alexei Cazarin (hamstring) is also day-to-day.
Locos shortstop Ryan Smith left Friday’s game with a quad injury.
After seven games, the Locos led the GLCL in hitting (.323), doubles (19) and home runs (eight). They are tied for the lead in hits with 85. … The Locos ranked fifth in ERA at 3.83.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.