Long ball lifts Gamecocks to 8-5 win over Golden Eagles

JACKSONVILLE, Tenn. – The big boppers went deep twice for both teams Wednesday afternoon, but rallies in the late innings and missed chances by Tennessee Tech lifted the Jacksonville State Gamecocks to an 8-5 Ohio Valley Conference victory over the Golden Eagles.

Kaleigh Gates and Whitney Cummings each went yard for coach Tory Acheson's team, but JSU got home runs from Nikki Prier and Sallie Beth Burch to get the win. Tech hitters were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and the Golden Eagles left 10 runners on base.

With Wednesday's home victory, JSU (20-16/7-6 OVC) took two-of-three in the season series with Tech (16-24/5-9 OVC). The Golden Eagles look ahead to a three-game series at Tennessee State this weekend.  

Ashley Eliasson (14-7) went the distance for JSU to get the win. In the seven-inning outing she scattered eight hits and yielded five runs, three earned, with three walks and five strikeouts.

Holly Thomas started in the circle for Tech, working the first 3 1/3 innings and allowing four runs on seven hits. Freshman Claudia Harke (2-5) took the loss, pitching 2/3 of an inning and allowing two runs. Maddie Schmissrauter gave up the final two runs while pitching the final three innings.

Kaleigh Gates staked Tech to a 2-0 lead in the first, clubbing her eighth home run of the year with Chanelle Spalding (pictured) aboard. Tech put two more runners on base before Eliasson got out of the jam with a foul pop up.

Chrissy O'Neal singled to lead off the JSU first and two batters later Prier punched one out of the park to tie the game.

The Golden Eagles reclaimed the lead in the second, but once again missed a chance for more when they stranded two runners. Brooke Basten led off with a single up the middle, and was replaced on the base paths  by Jordan Leff on a fielder's choice. Melody Christian laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runner forward, and the Gamecocks threw the ball away as Leff raced home to make it 3-2.

Tech made it 4-2 with a run in the third, started with a leadoff single by Cummings. JSU made another error two batters later, allowing pinch runner Samantha Everett to reach third and she scored on a throwing error, Tech's second unearned run of the contest.
 
Jacksonville State got one run back in the third on two singles, a Tech error and a run-scoring groundout.

The Gamecocks tied the game by manufacturing a run in the fourth with small ball. Two singles and a sacrifice bunt set the stage for O'Neal's sacrifice fly that made it 4-4.

JSU took the lead in the fifth as Prier doubled and Burch homered to left center for a 6-4 lead. The added two more in the sixth on a couple of singles, a walk, and a two-run single by Hillary Downs.

Cummings' seventh home run of the season opened the Tech seventh, but that was all Tech could muster.

O'Neal and Prier each had three hits for JSU while Burch and Downs had two apiece. Tech was led by Spalding and Cummings with two hits each.