It will take another run through the elimination bracket to win its second consecutive Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Championship after Jacksonville State dropped the opening game of the 2015 OVC Baseball Championship to Tennessee Tech, 5-3.
The Gamecocks remember all too well about their run to the OVC Tournament Championship after last season's six-game winning streak through the elimination bracket and topped Tech in the finals. Jax State will face the loser of Wednesday's night cap between No. 3 seed SIU Edwardsville and No. 6 seed Belmont on Thursday at 11 a.m. at the Ballpark at Jackson.
Tech's big hit came in the fifth off the bat of Dylan Bosheers, who finished the day 3-for-4 with four RBI. Three of the his RBI came on a three-run blast over left field wall to break a 2-2 deadlock after the Gamecocks knotted the contest in the fourth with senior Ryan Sebra's team-high 10th home run of the season and eighth against OVC pitching.
The Golden Eagles started the fifth with back-to-back singles off JSU starter Zachary Fowler, who suffered just his third loss of the season. Tech touched the Daphne, Alabama-right hander for 11 hits and just four earned runs. Tech started strong against Fowler with a pair of runs in the first inning. Bosheers drove in his first of four runs with a single through the left side. TTU plated an unearned run after a Gamecock fielding miscue allowed the second run of the inning.
Fowler settled in until running in to the trouble in the fifth and allowed the Jax State offense to get the bats going. The Gamecocks registered their first run off of Tech starter Chris Chism in the second with an Elliott McCummings single left field, scoring Tyler Gamble.
After Sebra's solo blast to left field, the Gamecocks looked for a big inning off Chism. Junior Paul Angel followed the round-tripper with a single before McCummings belted a ball to centerfield that ricocheted off the top of the 16-foot wall for a double. The West Deptford, New Jersey-product tallied a team-high three hits and reached base four times.
JSU trimmed the lead to 5-3 in the seventh with an RBI by All-OVC first team selection Paschal Petrongolo with a double to left field. Petrongolo was one of three Gamecocks with multiple hits. Freshman Taylor Hawthorne also had a pair of hits in the setback.
Tech Jeb Scoggins finished the final 2.1 innings in relief and escaped trouble in the JSU ninth. After two quick outs, freshman Clayton Daniel reached second after Tech's Tyler Brazelton dropped a fly ball to left to keep JSU alive. Petrongolo laced a single up the middle to put the tying runs on base. Scoggins induced a Gamble pop up behind the plate to close out the contest. Chism moved to 8-3 on the season, while Scoggins earned his sixth save of the season.
All OVC Baseball Championship games will be available on the Gamecock Sports Network along with live video streaming on the OVC Digital Network.
(Courtesy: JSU Sports Information)