Sadie Appleton, Correspondent
JSU softball made another trip away from home this past weekend, competing in the Mardi Gras Mambo tournament in Youngsville, Louisiana. The Gamecocks opened up tournament play with a 6-2 win against Nicholls State from Thibodaux, Louisiana on Friday.
Nicholls struck early, bringing in two runs in the opening frame. However, redshirt Freshman Macy Bearden responded swiftly from the pitcher’s rubber and kept the Colonels from reaching home plate for the rest of the matchup.
While it was her first complete game, Bearden struck out six and allowed only one walk in the seven innings. Only one runner from Nicholls would reach scoring position against the Bowdon, Georgia native following the second inning.
The Gamecocks started the game behind, but worked to overtake the Colonels once the third inning began. Senior Alexus Jimmerson initiated the JSU comeback with a two-run single through the right side. Junior Keeli Bobbitt and sophomore Savannah Sudduth would bring it in to even out the score.
An RBI groundout from freshman Megan Fortner and infield RBI single from junior Jada Terry allowed Jax State to take the lead in the sixth. Two errors from NSU, one of which being a wild pitch, allowed two JSU runners to cross home plate, putting up the final score.
Jimmerson brought in a team-high two wins while Bobbitt led offensively with two of the Gamecocks’ seven hits. Jacksonville State continued to move on and move up as they swept their opponents on Saturday to capture a pair of wins against Abilene Christian and Incarnate Word to extend their win streak to four games.
The afternoon matchup against Abilene Christian was another comeback win for JSU that culminated from an exciting seventh inning resurgence. ACU came out to take the lead early with one run in the first and another in the third. Jax State would remain scoreless up until the seventh frame.
In a rallying performance, JSU put in nine batters to the plate and the first six were able to round the bases and score. An error from the Wildcats allowed freshman Lauren Hunt to start the frame with a reach. Bobbitt and Sudduth went on to lead the bases with no outs thanks to back-to-back singles.
The score was tied at 2-2 following a single up the middle from sophomore Maddie Clay and the bases were quickly reloaded after the single from sophomore Karsen Mosley, who was recently named the OVC Softball Player of the Week.
Senior Alexus Jimmerson blasted in a triple that cleared the bases and put the Gamecocks in the lead for the remainder of the game. Jimmerson would later increase the lead to four after she scored on a sac fly from freshman Megan Fortner, making the final score 6-2.
Junior Reagan Watkins would be credited with the win after relieving sophomore Lexi Androlevich, who kept the Wildcats to two runs on five hits in addition to four strikeouts and two walks in the first three innings. Watkins held ACU scoreless in her four innings as she posted four strikeouts and two walks.
Sudduth, Bobbitt, and Jimmerson all marked in two hits each in the victory with Jimmerson adding on with three RBI.
Following the win against Abilene Christian, the Gamecocks closed out the day against UIW. Unlike the previous two games, JSU struck first with two runs in the second. The first came from a bases loaded walk drawn by sophomore Sidney Wagnon and they second was the result of a UIW error.
In the third, Mosley made her way around the bases as she led off with a single and stole second. A Jimmerson ground out would move her into scoring position at third where she would run in to score the game-winning run following a groundout by Fortner.
The fourth would see the Cardinals get on the board with a single before putting in another score in the fifth to reduce JSU’s lead to one. However, the Gamecocks held off any hopes of rallying in the final two innings, securing the win at 3-2.
Sophomore Hannah Brown took credit for the win after pitching the first four innings to limit UIW to three hits and one run. Bearden clinched her first save after tossing the final three innings and allowing a single run on three hits.
In the final day of the tournament, the Gamecocks fell in consecutive matchups against Northwestern State and McNeese State that each resulted in scores of 9-1.
NSU scored against the Gamecocks in both the second and third innings for a 2-0 lead before Mosley batted a single to bring in Clay for the score, cutting the deficit in half. With a close game at hand heading into the seventh, JSU hoped to put up more points to capture a win, but three errors and four Demon hits led NSU to run in seven and close out the game 9-1.
Clay and Mosley combined for five of the Gamecocks’ eight hits. A double by Clay would be the team’s only extra-base hit.
JSU wrapped up the weekend in their bout with McNeese, which resulted in the same ending result but in a separate fashion. MSU brought in a runner in the first and third frames before bringing in two in the fourth, three in the fifth, and finally two more in the sixth.
The Clay and Mosley duo helped put Jax State on the board in the fourth. With one out, Clay hit a double and later brought in the lone score thanks to Mosley’s single to right. JSU left the tournament with a 6-7 overall record.
The Gamecocks will return home this Friday, February 28 as they host the Jacksonville State Invite at University Field to face off against Samford University and the University of Texas-San Antonio.