Coley Birchfield, Correspondent
When the Jacksonville State Gamecocks filed into their locker room on Saturday night, they found themselves in unfamiliar territory. After dropping both games of a Saturday double-header, the team found themselves with a 4-11 record and eighth in the Ohio Valley Conference standings.
The UT-Martin Skyhawks travelled to University Field and left with wins in two of their three matchups.
Both of those wins coming on their last at-bat. In the early game of the doubleheader, the Skyhawks tallied four runs in the last inning to capture the 5-2 win. Also, in the nightcap UT-Martin pulled ahead in the 8th inning to take that game, as well 5-4.
The Skyhawks’ pitching staff led the way, with two impressive performances by Alexis Groet. In both wins, Groet pitched a complete game, improving her impressive 0.72 ERA. Her performances helped name her the OVC Softball Pitcher of the Week.
As previously mentioned, Jax State is not familiar with a losing softball team. Since joining the OVC in 2003-04, Jana McGinnis’s teams have won 80 percent of their conference games and were crowned conference champions in 11 seasons.
In a twist of scripts, the Gamecocks sit two games out of first place in a crowded OVC field. Jax State only averages three runs in their 15 games, however allowing 3.42 runs per game to their opponents. That unbalanced batting production is a recipe for disaster for any team aiming for the postseason.
Even with many negatives to discuss, Jana McGinnis is one of the most experienced head coaches in Division I softball. Her leadership will be key for the squad in the 20+ games still to come.
The JSU softball team will be at University Field again on March 26 for a doubleheader against Southern Illinois. That pair of games begins a nine-game home stand for the Gamecocks.
Tickets to those games are available through the online ticket office at jsugamecocksports.com. Children ages 18 and under, as well as enrolled JSU students receive free admission to all JSU softball contests. Every JSU home game is also streamed on ESPN+.