Grant Benefield, Sports Reporter
After opening the 2018 season to a hot 9-3 record, Gamecock baseball stumbled in its first OVC series of the year, dropping two of three to Austin Peay by scores of 7-4, 7-6, before winning the final game 13-0.
Game one of the weekend series started well for the Gamecocks (10-5, 1-2). In the bottom of the third, designated hitter Trent Simpson belted a three-run home run that scored Taylor Hawthorne and Clayton Daniel.
Both teams tallied a run in the fourth, with JSU hitting another home run—this time a solo shot from catcher Nic Gaddis.
The Governors (10-6, 2-1) scored three runs to tie the game in the fifth, and later broke through Gamecock reliever Tyler Wilburn to take the 5-4 lead in the seventh. Wilburn (2-1) would take the loss, his first of the season.
Two more runs in the eighth would be all the insurance the visitors needed to secure game one of the series.
The Governors would waste no time getting on the board Saturday, scoring runs off of Gamecock starting pitcher Derrick Adams in the first and second inning to take the 2-0 lead.
An RBI single from Gaddis and a two run shot from Simpson gave the Gamecocks a short-lived 3-2 lead in the fourth, before Austin Peay tacked on a tying run in the fifth and took the lead in the sixth off of Gamecock reliever Christian Edwards (0-1).
The Govs added two more runs in the eighth for some needed insurance, as the Gamecocks would load the bases in bottom of the inning.
Austin Peay found a way out of the jam, surrendering just one run in the eighth off of a fielder’s choice ground ball from Isaac Alexander that brought the score to its 6-4 final, securing the series for the Governors.
But while Austin Peay took the series, the Gamecocks would make sure to leave the visitors with something to remember them by—a 13-0 walloping in game three on Sunday.
The Gamecocks exploded for a season-high 18 hits on their way to the victory.
Trent Simpson kept up his monstrous series performance, going 2-for-4 with 5 RBI including a 3-run blast, his third homer of the series.
Colton Pate (3-1) earned his third win of the season, pitching six scoreless frames with 8 K’s and 3 walks.
The Gamecocks will now look to their next OVC series this weekend as they travel to take on Eastern Illinois starting on Friday.
Grant Benefield, Sports Reporter
JSU baseball took a weekend trip to Miami for a three game series with Florida International. The Gamecocks took two-out-of-three—both wins coming in extra innings.
Game one of the series featured plenty of free baseball, with the Gamecocks (8-3) and Panthers (5-6) holding a 6-6 stalemate from the seventh inning until the twelfth when Jacksonville State exploded for 6 runs to win 12-6.
Chase Robinson, Nic Gaddis, and Clayton Daniel each had multi-RBI days for the Gamecocks, recording 3, 2, and 2 respectively.
Garrett Farmer started on the mound for JSU, surrendering 4 runs over 5.1 innings, along with 2 walks and 4 strikeouts.
Gamecock reliever Austin Brewster earned the win for the Gamecocks with an outstanding performance over the last 5.2 innings of Friday’s game. Brewster allowed no runs, no walks, and just 2 hits along with 4 K’s to propel JSU to its big twelfth inning.
The second game of the series played oddly similar to the first, with JSU breaking another 6-6 tie in extra innings with a huge scoring outburst to take the 13-6 win in tenth inning.
This time, the Gamecocks were carried by a phenomenal 6-for-6, 6 RBI hitting performance from Gaddis. The junior catcher from Trenton, Ga, became just the third player in NCAA Division I this season to hit the 6 RBI mark in a game. Gaddis was named OVC Player of the Week for his efforts.
Derrick Adams recorded 5 innings and surrendered 4 runs in his start for the Gamecocks, but once again a reliever’s strong finish would earn the W, this time via Tyler Wilburn’s 4 innings of 1 run, 6 strikeout baseball.
The home team struck back in final game of the series, taking Sunday’s match 7-2 over the Gamecocks.
Colton Pate cruised through the first six frames of his start for JSU, until the Panthers mounted an offensive attack in the seventh inning that chased Pate and resulted in 6 runs. Pate would suffer the loss, surrendering 3 runs and no walks with 6 K’s on Sunday.
The Gamecocks also struggled at the plate, recording just 6 hits and striking out 13 times.
Gamecock designated hitter Trent Simpson posted two of those hits in his 2-for-3 performance.
JSU will play Kennesaw State on Tuesday before opening its OVC schedule on Friday with a three game series against Austin Peay in Oxford.
Grant Benefield, Staff Sports Reporter
After opening the season with a three-game sweep over Southern Illinois, Jacksonville State suffered its first loss of the season at the hands of the Samford Bulldogs 9-3.
The Gamecocks (3-1) struggled mightily at the plate on Tuesday night in Samford (2-2), notching just two hits total—both by Gamecock catcher Nic Gaddis.
Samford on the other hand, did not. The Bulldogs struck early and often, taking a 1-0 lead in the first, then exploding for six runs in the third and two in the fourth. The Bulldogs earned 14 hits total.
The Bulldogs had five players record multiple hits in the game, including outfielders Troy Dixon, Jordan Fucci, and Ryan Crockett, shortstop Branden Fryman, and and DH Ayrton Schafer. Dixon and Bulldog catcher Anthony Mulrine each collected three RBI’s.
The Gamecocks scored all three of their runs in the fifth inning, with an error by the Bulldog infield allowing Andrew Naismith to score. The Gamecocks then tacked on two more runs with fielder’s choices.
Gamecock starting pitcher Cody Willingham suffered the loss, completing just two innings of work before he was pulled in the third inning. Willingham surrendered seven hits, five runs, and a walk.
Hamp Skinner earned the win for the Bulldogs, tossing four innings and allowing all three of Jacksonville’s runs.
Gamecock relievers Sean Rape, Faleniko Teofilo, and Colin Casey had successful days for the Gamecocks, holding the Bulldog offense at bay for no runs over the last four innings of Tuesday’s game.
Jacksonville State will now look to a three-game series against Radford starting Friday at Choccolocco Park in Oxford.
Grant Benefield, Staff Sports Reporter
Gamecock baseball opened its 2018 campaign in convincing fashion with a three-game sweep over Southern Illinois by scores of 7-4, 10-9, and 6-0, in which the Gamecocks hit seven total home runs.
JSU kicked off its season Friday afternoon in Choccolocco Park in Oxford.
Sophomore first baseman Andrew Naismith delivered the first Gamecock runs of the year with a two-run blast in the second inning to give JSU the 2-0 lead.
Naismith didn’t stop there, delivering another home run in his next at-bat, this time a solo-shot that extended the Gamecock lead to 3-1.
Designated hitter Trent Simpson dropped the third bomb of the game for the Gamecocks in the fifth inning to make the score 5-1.
Simpson would be named OVC Co-Player of the Week for his efforts, sharing the honor with Tennessee Tech’s John Hamm.
Junior pitcher Garrett Farmer got the start on the mound and was excellent, allowing just one hit and one run along with five strikeouts and just one walk in his four frames of work. Farmer earned the W, and Simpson closed the game for the save.
In the second game of the series, Southern Illinois threatened to even the series at one a piece, but the Gamecocks would come back from a 7-2 deficit to defeat the Salukis 10-9.
JSU utlized the long ball again in game two, with outfielders Taylor Hawthorne and Matt Hammers each leaving the yard for five of the Gamecocks’ 10 runs.
Cody Willingham earned the win in relief for the Gamecocks, and Tyler Wilburn closed the door to secure the save and the comeback victory.
Game three of the series was a dominant encore for the Gamecocks, handily defeating Southern Illinois 6-0 for the series sweep.
JSU’s first two runs of the game came via solo shots from Simpson in the second, and Hawthorne in the fourth.
Aside from a few free passes, Colton Pate was masterful for the Gamecocks in his five innings of work, allowing just one hit and no runs with five strikeouts and four walks on his way to the W and the series sweep.