JSU's Run in OVC Baseball Tourney Halted by SEMO
Jacksonville State's run in the 2015 Ohio Valley Conference Baseball Championship came to a halt with a 12-4 loss on Friday afternoon to top-seeded Southeast Missouri at The Ballpark at Jackson.
The Gamecocks were looking to mirror what they did a year ago by winning six straight elimination games to claim the 2014 OVC Tournament Championship, but a six-run sixth inning proved to be the difference as the Redhawks broke open a 3-3 deadlock to take a 9-3 advantage and hold on to the lead for the win. SEMO moves on the face No. 4 seed Tennessee Tech in another elimination contest on Friday. JSU's season comes to a close at 30-27 overall and 15-14 in league play. The Gamecocks were making their 12th consecutive appearance in the league's postseason event. The setback ends a string of seven consecutive elimination contest wins after JSU ousted SIU Edwardsville on Thursday. It was SEMO's third win over the Gamecocks in the OVC Tournament and the first since the 2012 edition of the tournament.
JSU quickly got on the board in the first inning with a three-run first at bat off of SEMO lefthander Alex Winkelman. Winkelman was touched for the trio of runs on three hits in the frame. SeniorRyan Sebra was plunked for the first RBI of the inning, followed by an RBI walk from junior Elliot McCummings. SophomorePeyton Williams drove in the third run on a fly ball to right field.
After the allowing three JSU runs in the first, Winkelman settled in to shut down the Jax State offense. He would sit down seven straight JSU batters until freshman Taylor Hawthorne's single up the middle in the fourth snapped that streak. Winkelman, who picked up his fourth win of the season, went six complete innings as he limited JSU to five hits in the outing. Hawthorne touched him for a double in the sixth for JSU's fifth hit off of the left hander.
JSU senior Tony Urban went five innings in the contest and ran in to trouble in two of those innings. SEMO's Brendon Neel belted a three-run home run over the 24-foot tall left field wall to equalize in the second.
Neel's home run would be the first of two for the Redhawks, who entered the game having scored just two runs in each of their last three OVC Tournament games, as Brandon Boggetto dealt JSU a big blow with a grand slam to left center to break open a 5-3 contest in the sixth. It was his fourth home run off JSU pitching this season. He finished the day 4-for-5 with six RBI after driving in two more in the eighth to extend the lead to 11-3. SEMO started the sixth with back-to-back base runners off of Urban before Jax State went to the bullpen with freshman Grant Chandler. SEMO took the lead with a fielders choice ground ball RBI and a hit-by-pitch. Urban was saddled with the loss and fell to 4-4 on the season.
JSU finished with nine hits in the contest and was led by Hawthorne's trio of hits, including an RBI single in the eighth to plate JSU's fourth run. The Prattville, Alabama-native and member of the All-OVC Freshman Team recorded his sixth three-hit game of the season and extended his hitting streak to seven games. Hawthorne tallied six hits in the three games in Jackson, Tennessee. Juniors Gavin Golsan, Tyler Gamble and Paschal Petrongolo each carded two hits each. Petrongolo, a member of the All-OVC first team, paced the Gamecock offense in the three game in the tournament with seven. Freshman Clayton Danielcollected of JSU's hits. Daniel, who was named to the All-OVC Freshman Team prior to the OVC Tournament, finished his first season in a Gamecock uniform by reaching base in each of the final 22 games.
JSU will have a bulk this year's squad returning but lose seven key seniors that have provided leadership in the program. SeniorTravis Stout exits the program as the all-time saves leader at JSU and in the OVC with 46 career saves. He moved in to a tie for fifth place all-time in NCAA Division I Baseball in career saveson Thursday as he nailed down the win over SIUE. Ryan Sebrawas an every day starter for JSU and finished the season with the second-best average on the team. He etched his name in the record book earlier this season by hitting for the cycle against Austin Peay on March 6. JSU will look for a new Friday night starter as Zachary Fowler has been the Gamecocks' top hurler on the weekend. He earned All-OVC first team honors in 2015 after posting eight wins this season.
(Courtesy: JSU Sports Information)