JSU Baseball Tops Austin Peay In OVC Tournament Opener
It took a while, but Jacksonville State advanced in the winners bracket of the 2016 Ohio Valley Conference Baseball Championship with a 12-10 decision over Austin Peay in a game that finished up Friday morning.
JSU and APSU played three complete innings on Thursday before heavy rains in the Jackson, Tennessee area forced tournament officials to suspend the 3-3 contest to Friday morning. With the win, it's Jax State's first tournament-opening winin the last five years after losing the first game in each of the last four years. JSU will play Southeast Missouri in Saturday's winners bracket game. First pitch is slated for 3 p.m. at The Ballpark at Jackson.
After JSU took a 3-0 lead in the second inning on Thursday, the Govs answered with a pair of runs in the third, followed by the game-tying run in the top of the fourth before the game was halted with one out and a pair of runners on base. APSU picked up right where it left off Thursday evening as it would add two more runs in the frame to take a 5-3 lead.
Sophomore Grant Chandler, who went to the mound to start Friday's resumption, settled in nicely and allowed just one hit in 2.2 innings pitched. Junior Nate Sylvester entered after a Chandler walked the leadoff man and worked out a Gov threat with a pair of strikeouts. The start to his outing gave JSU momentum heading into the home half of the frame.
The Gamecocks equalized at 5-5 in the seventh with RBI singles by senior Elliott McCummings and Josh Bobo. The two-run frame was the first of three straight innings in which Jax State plated runs to take the lead.
Junior A.J. Reynolds started the inning with a double down to the right field line and moved to third on a wild pitch. After APSU's Zach Neff intentionally walked Clayton Daniel and Taylor Hawthorne working a free pass from Neff, JSU took advantage of Neff's ineffectiveness with a walk by senior Tyler Gamble to push the go-ahead run across the plate. Junior Peyton Williams drilled a two-run single to left field to add to JSU's lead. After JSU loaded the bases again, sophomore Hayden White had an RBI after he was hit by a pitch.
JSU continued to swing the sticks off of APSU pitching in the eighth. Senior Gavin Golsan, who joined Bobo to lead the club with three hits in the contest, collected his first triple of his career to start the eighth off of APSU's Brett Newberg. Daniel added another walk on the day before Gamble blasted a three-run bomb that went 431 feet over the leftfield wall to give JSU a 12-5 lead heading to the ninth.
Sylvester tried to close out the contest, but he issued four walks in the final frame that led to four runs to trim the lead to 12-9. Redshirt freshman and the league's top closer, Justin Hoyt, was summoned from the bullpen and get the second out of the inning, but could not close it out after walking three and allowing APSU's 10th run. JSU went with freshman Garrett Farmer with the bases full of Govs. Farmer needed just one pitch to get Clayton Smithson to ground out. Farmer grabbed his second save of the season.
Daniel, McCummings and Reynolds all had multiple hits in the contest to lead JSU's 16 hit attack.
Saturday's contest will be available on the Gamecock Sports Network and streamed live on the OVC Digital Network.