March 21, 2012

Proficient pitching aids Gamecocks past Golden Eagles

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Jacksonville State relied on strong pitching performances as it picked up a pair of wins over the Tennessee Tech softball team on Wednesday. The Gamecocks topped the Golden Eagles by scores of 6-0 and 5-1 in the one-day series.

Pitching proved to be the story of game one as JSU sophomore Tiffany Harbin shut down the Golden Eagles. She allowed just four hits and a walk while striking out seven Tech batters.

Junior Melody Christian broke up the perfect game with an infield single in the fourth, but was left stranded at first. The Golden Eagles (9-17, 3-5 OVC) mustered a pair of base runners in both the fifth and seventh innings, but were unable to bring them in to score.

The Gamecocks (12-15, 7-1 OVC) did most of their damage through the middle innings, scoring two runs in each the third and fourth innings. JSU's Kristin Graham belted a two-run shot in the third and a two-RBI double in the fourth by Sara Borders made it 5-0.

JSU tacked on another run in the seventh on a home run by Shelby Holley to end the scoring at 6-0.

Harbin improved her record to 5-2 in her fifth complete game of the season. Tech junior Claudia Harke suffered the loss, giving up five runs and seven hits while fanning three batters. Freshman Taylor Ketchum came in in relief, striking out three and allowing just two hits in three innings of work.

Jacksonville State began game two by loading the bases with two outs, but Tech's Holly Thomas struck out the final batter looking to get out of the jam.

JSU's Sam Snow pitched a beauty of a game, giving up just two Tech hits through the first five innings. The Gamecocks jumped on top in the second, scoring a run with the help of a single, a Tech error and a passed ball.

Thomas held JSU to just two hits through the first five innings before the Gamecocks' offense exploded in the sixth. After getting two quick outs, JSU hit back-to-back singles and drew a walk to load the bases. Kaycee Crow then hit a two-strike pitch over the left-field wall for a grand slam to put the Gamecocks up 5-0.

Tech threatened a comeback in the seventh, as Chanelle Spalding singled and Samantha Everett doubled to put runners in scoring position. After the Gamecocks put Harbin back in to pitch, Kayla Floyd loaded the bases with an infield single. Cassie Garrett then battled through an eight-pitch at-bat to draw a walk and bring in Tech's first run of the day. Harbin was able to get finish up the game, however, with a strikeout and a foul-out to the catcher.

Snow earned the victory, improving her record to 4-4 on the year. She struck out a pair and game up five hits and one earned run. Thomas was charged with the loss, allowing four earned runs and six hits while fanning four.

Tech hosts Belmont for a single game on Thursday at 5:00 then goes to Tennessee State for a three-game series this weekend.