Daniel Mayes, Staff Reporter
The Jacksonville State Baseball team took a weekend series two games to one on the road in Carbondale, Ill. over the Southern Illinois Salukis.
The Gamecocks took the first game 8-6 on Friday before the Salukis rallied to steal game two by a score of 5-4 to even up the series.
With the series tied at a game apiece, Jacksonville State shutout Southern in the rubber match on Sunday in Itchy Jones Stadium, claiming victory in the game and the series by a score of 7-0.
The Gamecocks used a stellar pitching performance from Joe McGuire and the hot bat of Trent Simpson to blank SIU in the final game.
McGuire, who was named Co-OVC pitcher of the week thanks in part to his performance on Sunday, pitched seven innings, only allowing two hits on 24 plate appearances for SIU and striking out five.
Before McGuire ever saw the mound on Sunday, the Gamecocks already possessed a 3-0 lead thanks to a three-run homer by Simpson.
Simpson, who added two more RBIs with a double in the fourth to increase the Gamecock lead to 5-0, had a hot bat all series against the Salukis, finishing with two home runs and eight RBIs on the weekend.
A single from Nic Gaddis in the fifth brought two more Gamecocks home and finished out the scoring for the day.
In the initial game, the two teams played to a scoreless tie until the bottom of the fifth inning, when JSU pitcher walked in SIU’s Ryan Sabo to allow the Salukis to tally the first run of the series.
The Gamecocks quickly answered back in the sixth, when junior Taylor Hawthorne tripled to right field, scoring Nolan Greckel.
After holding SIU scoreless in the sixth, the Gamecock bats were on fire in the seventh.
With the bases loaded, McGuire hit a ground rule double to get the scoring in the inning started off, and Simpson blasted a three-run homer to make it a clean seven runs in the seventh inning.
JSU held an 8-1 advantage, but were unable to get anymore offense going throughout the contest.
An SIU homer in the bottom of the ninth cut the margin to 8-6, but the Gamecocks were able to fend of the Saluki comeback attempt and took the game by the same score.
In the second game, SIU held a 2-0 lead before another big seventh inning for JSU saw the Gamecocks take a 4-2 lead off of RBIs from Greckel, Hayden White, Andrew Naismith and Chase Robinson.
Once again, the Gamecocks were unable to drive home anymore runs, and an SIU run in the bottom of the seventh followed by two more in the eighth led the Salukis to the 5-4 win.
After the series, Jacksonville State’s record now stands at 12-10. The Gamecocks will be in action again with another road weekend series, this time against conference foe Murray State.
The first game will be Friday, March 31 at 6 p.m. in Murray, KY.