Whitney Gillespie got thing started in the circle and Ella Denes finished them off at the plate for Jacksonville State in a 3-1 win over Kennesaw State on Tuesday.
Gillespie, a freshman from Pelham, made her season debut in the circle and kept the Owls (12-5) in check for three innings before turning it over to Casey Akenberger to finish off. Denes, a senior from Pisgah, drilled a two-run double to left center in the bottom of the sixth to lift the Gamecocks (9-10) to a big non-conference win.
In her first appearance in the circle this season after offseason shoulder surgery, Gillespie allowed a run on just one hit, struck out three and didn't issue a walk to set the tone in the circle. The lone hit was a solo homer by KSU's Jenna Kniss that came on the eighth pitch of an at bat that saw her four off three pitches.
Akenberger (4-2) then came on and held the Owls scoreless on five hits and a walk over four frames to earn the win in relief.
Denes went 2-for-4 on the night, to lead a quartet of Gamecocks with two hits. Junior Emily Church drove in JSU's first run of the game in her 2-for-3 game, while Gillespie and fellow sophomoreEmily Woodruff each had a pair of hits that included a double.
After KSU got on the board with Kniss' third-inning homer, Church delivered an RBI single in the home half of the frame to tie the game at 1-1.
Both teams threatened, with JSU stranding nine runner and KSU eight before Denes' game winner found grass in the left centerfield gap.
Monica Vickery (2-3), the third KSU pitcher of the night, gave up the game winner, but Morgan Sikes (5-1) suffered the loss in the circle after allowing two runs on seven hits in four innings of work.
The Gamecocks travel to Louisville, Ky., for the Louisville Softball Classic this weekend, where they will play Illinois State and host Louisville on Friday and Dayton on Saturday.
Courtesy: JSU Sports Information (www.jsugamecocksports.com)