After a tough opening weekend in Georgia, the Gamecocks returned home to open play at Ruby Abbott Field on Tuesday. Jacksonville State (1-3) didn’t disappoint the home crowd and picked up their first win of the season in a 7-0 shutout over in-state foe UAB (2-2).
Junior Casey Antley took the mound for the Gamecocks and pitched a dominant performance, not allowing a run or walk, and left after six innings with the seven run lead that would stand for his first win of the season. Antley (1-0) allowed just two hits, struck out three and only needed 73 pitches to get through his outing, averaging just over three pitches per at bat against the 23 batters he faced.
Antley was backed up by an offense that never got going during the opening series at Kennesaw State. Leadoff batter Michael Bishop opened the game with a triple to left center field, but was momentarily stranded while the following two batters struck out. Clean-up hitter Cal Lambert came through with a two-out, two-strike rip to bring in Bishop for the first run.
Coty Blanchard opened the third inning with a leadoff hit to get on base and scored on Lambert’s double. Lambert quickly came around to score when Griff Gordon hit what turned into a triple. Facing the following batter UAB’s pitched balked bring in Gordon from third to score the third run of the inning giving JSU a 4-0 lead.
In the fourth, Eddie Mora-Loera recorded his only hit in a 1-5 game, but made it count, being a three-run home run on a line over the left field wall. Michael Bishop and Ty Pierce jogged home ahead of Mora-Loera to push the lead to 7-0 over the Blazers.
Freshman Graham Officer came in in relief of Antley for the final three innings and gave no chance for the Blazers to make a comeback facing the minimum nine batters remaining.
The Gamecocks are home this weekend for their first home series of the season against Southern Illinois.