Jacksonville State started to write the script for another run through the elimination bracket of the 2015 Ohio Valley Conference Baseball Championship with an 8-5 Thursdayafternoon win over SIU Edwardsville at The Ballpark at Jackson.
JSU (30-26) has now won seven consecutive elimination games dating back to last season's run to the 2014 OVC Tournament Championship and survives to play again on Friday at 11 a.m.The Gamecocks' opponent on Friday will be determined afterThursday's games. SIUE, who swept JSU in the first weekend of conference play at Rudy Abbott Field, ends its season at 20-30. The Cougars dropped to the elimination bracket after falling in extra innings to Belmont in a game that ended at 12:50 a.m. It marks the second consecutive year that Jax State has eliminated the Cougars. The win marked the program's 12th 30-win season in the last 13 campaigns under head coach Jim Case.
The early start on a chilly day didn't affect either club's offense as the two teams seven of the 13 runs were scored in the first two innings. SIUE struck for two runs in the first inning off of JSU starter Jake Walsh. Keaton Wright delivered a two-run home run to give the Cougars the early advantage. The Gamecocks, who were facing SIUE's Jarrett Bednar for the second time this season, continued their dominance against him after he was touched for eight hits in the season series at JSU. The Gamecocks quickly erased the two-run deficit with three runs in their first at bat.
After a pair of one-out singles by Clayton Daniel and Paschal Petrongolo, JSU posted its first run of the game with an RBI byTyler Gamble. Senior Ryan Sebra had an RBI on his first of three hits in the contest, followed by an RBI by junior Paul Angel.
Both teams traded runs in the second inning as SIUE knotted the game at 3-3 with a two-out RBI by Denton Reed. JSU regained the lead in the home half with a two-out single by Daniel to scoreGavin Golsan, who reached via an SIUE fielding miscue. JSU had four two-out RBI in the contest and now has 150 RBI this season with two outs in a frame.
SIUE equalized in the fourth with a run with two outs in the inning after a JSU miscue allowed the run to score. Petrongolo broke a 4-4 fifth inning deadlock with a two-run blast over the right center wall that hit off the scoreboard. The Blackwood, New Jersey-native finished 3-for-5 with a pair of RBI.
The Cougars trimmed the lead 6-5 with its second two-out RBI in the seventh off of Jax State reliever Graham Officer, but that would be all they could get off of the right hander from Milton, Georgia. Officer earned the win in relief and moved to 5-1 on the season. The 3.2 innings pitched was his longest stint since 4.2 innings of work against Belmont. He was touched for four hits and turned in a pair of strikeouts. Walsh turned in a quality start, including seven strikeouts in the start.
Senior Travis Stout moved in to a tie for fifth place on the NCAA's all-time saves list with his 46th of his career and 14th of the season with a clean ninth inning.
All games at the OVC Baseball Championship will be carried on the Gamecock Sports Network and on the OVC Digital Network.
(Courtesy: JSU Sports Information)