JSU Falls to SEMO In OVC Tournament Opener

The 2017 OVC Baseball Tournament started on a sour note for Jacksonville State as the fourth-seeded Gamecocks dropped their opening game to Southeast Missouri 13-10. In the tournament's first appearance at Choccolocco Park in Oxford, Ala., JSU, which played its home games at the park during the 2017 season, got off to a stellar start against the fifth-seeded Redhawks when Taylor Hawthorne blasted a two-run home run to right-centerfield, which also scored Nolan Greckel, who lead off the bottom of the first by reaching first via a fielding error.

Colton Pate, with the two-run lead, kept SEMO's batters off balance the first time through the order, retiring four Redhawk batters with strikeouts through the game's first three innings. He finished with seven strikeouts and only one walk in his 4.2 innings pitched.

Dan Holst, SEMO's leadoff batter, started the top of the fourth with a solo home run, before the Redhawks scored four more on three hits to take a 5-2 lead.

Trent Simpson brought the Gamecocks (30-25) to within two runs with a solo home run to lead off the JSU fourth. However, a second-straight five-run inning by SEMO extended its lead to 10-3. JSU cut its deficit, again, with two runs on four hits in the bottom of the fifth when Greckel singled home Chase Robinson and Hawthorne doubled home Greckel two batters later.

After SEMO (29-24) added a single run on a fielding error in the top of the sixth, Clayton Daniel scored Hayden White and Greckel in the bottom of the seventh to bring Jax State to within four. The Redhawks answered with two runs in the top of the eight on two of their 13 hits during the contest.

Simpson became the first JSU player to hit multiple home runs in a game since Josh Bobo in 2016 when the Oxford native blasted a three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth.

Greckel, with three hits in four at-bats, recorded just his third three-hit game of the year en route to raising his batting average to .300. The Acworth, Georgia outfielder has now recorded multiple hits in four of his last five games. Hawthorne, White, Simpson, Andrew Naismith all recorded two hits while Daniel and Robinson each had one hit. Hawthorne extended his hitting streak against OVC teams to 13 consecutive games, while Daniel's base hit pushed his hitting streak to 14 straight games against league competition and he has now reached base 28 straight games in a contest versus a conference opponent.

The Gamecocks will await their next opponent and the game time after completion of Wednesday's action. JSU could either play at 9 a.m. or 7:30 p.m. depending on the outcomes of the second and third games on Wednesday.

(Courtesy: JSU Sports Information: www.jsugamecocksports.com)


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