Daniel Mayes, Chanticleer Sports Editor
The Jacksonville State Softball team won two in a row on Saturday and Sunday to finish the River City Leadoff with a winning record.
The event, which was held in Jacksonville, Florida, was the first of the season for the Gamecocks, and the Gamecocks took three of five games against the field of Army West Point, Connecticut, and Jacksonville University.
The two wins came in dramatic fashion, with both taking extra innings.
Saturday’s contest saw a walk-off winner on a sacrifice fly from Emily Woodruff, and on Sunday, the Gamecocks used a five-run sixth inning come back from a 5-2 deficit, eventually winning the game in extras.
On Saturday, the Gamecocks followed up a 7-4 loss to UCONN earlier in the day with a 4-3 walk-off win over Army to earn a split on the day.
The Gamecocks earned an early lead thanks to a home run from freshman outfielder Jada Terry, the first of her young Gamecock career. Terry then reached base on her next at-bat, scoring again after an error to put JSU up 2-0 in the third.
Army was able to tie the contest back up in top of the fifth before the Gamecocks seized back a 3-2 advantage in the bottom on a Hayley Sims RBI single that brought home Taylor Beshears.
Beshears had a sterling debut to her first season in a Gamecock uniform. The junior transfer from Wallace State tallied 10 hits on a .526 batting average, enough to earn her the title of OVC Player of the Week.
Army knotted the game up once again on an errant Faith Sims pitch that reached the backstop that allowed Kristen McPeek to steal home for the tying run.
JSU kept the Black Knights off the board in the top of the eighth, then Anna Chisolm reached third on a bunt from Amber Jones.
Woodruff’s sacrifice fly then brought Chisolm home and won the game.
On Sunday, both Jacksonville and Jacksonville State started off the first inning strong, with the Dolphins coming out of it with a 3-2 lead.
Jacksonville added two more in the fifth to increase their lead to 5-2.
The scoring remained quiet until the sixth, where the Gamecocks caught fire.
JSU tallied five runs in the top of the sixth, thanks to RBIs from Sims, Jones, Beshears, and Lexi Hull, which gave the Gamecocks a 7-5 lead.
The Dolphins scored two once again in the sixth to tie the game up, eventually forcing extra innings.
A Beshears double in the top of the eighth brought home Woodruff, then JSU held the Dolphins scoreless in the bottom to take home the win and a winning overall record in the River City Leadoff event at 3-2.
The Gamecocks return to Florida for the Emu Madeira Beach Spring Invitational on beginning Feb.16.