JACKSONVILLE — For all the offense produced in Sunday's game, it was eight
straight pitches outside the strike zone that gave Jacksonville State its 12th
The Gamecocks and Tennessee Tech combined for 26 runs and 30 hits, but it was
back-to-back four-pitch walks to Matt McLaughlin and Andrew Edge with the bases
loaded in the seventh that gave JSU a wild 14-12 victory and its third straight
Ohio Valley Conference series sweep.
"It was pretty unorthodox, considering how the wind was blowing and the way
everybody was hitting the ball," Edge said, "but we'll take it any way we can
The Gamecocks' final home game of the season was an emotional seesaw for both
teams. JSU (32-19, 20-4 OVC) erased a 3-0 deficit with nine runs in the third
inning, then gave up nine to Tech (31-20-1, 11-13) — all with two outs — in the
The Gamecocks tied the game with a three-run sixth, capped by Edge's two-run
double, then took the lead for good in the seventh.
"I tell you what, this team's resilient," McLaughlin said. "This is by far
the most resilient team I've ever played on. We find a way to win every game.
So, really, with the way the season's gone, nothing's odd."
In the winning rally, the Gamecocks loaded the bases on singles by Bert Smith
and Steven Leach — the fourth hit of the game for each player — and a hit
McLaughlin went sent to pinch-hit against Chad Oberacker and, showing great
discipline to resist the urge to make something happen, patiently watched four
"It's tough because you want to get your pitch, but you don't want to go
chasing something out of the zone and get a cheap out," McLaughlin said. "Being
a pinch-hitter, in my opinion, you just want to be a tough at-bat and just try
to find a way to get on and do something positive for your team.
"I was geared up, I was looking for something over the heart of the plate to
take a hack at, but I was trying to find the right pitch and got four out of the
Edge came up next and watched four more balls, although the last one could
have gone either way.
"It was up at the plate, but it was low, and I knew it was low," Edge said.
"(Plate umpire Mike McCray) called 'ball' and I was tossing my bat, but in the
back of my head I was thinking, 'Did he call that a strike?' As soon as the run
came across, then I knew it was ball four."
Oxford's Jake Edwards came on for the Golden Eagles after Edge's walk and got
a strikeout to end the inning, but the damage was done.
Tech threatened in the eighth, putting the tying runs in scoring position
with one out, but side-winding junior Alex Jones never flinched and got out of
the jam, eventually earning his sixth victory of the season.
"It's not his first rodeo, you know," JSU coach Jim Case said. "He's been in
big situations before."
The victory helped the Gamecocks maintain a game and a half lead on Samford
for the OVC regular-season title with three games to play.
Their winning streak is tied with LSU for second-longest in the country,
behind only New Orleans' 13 straight.
About Al Muskewitz
Al Muskewitz covers golf and Jacksonville State
University sports teams for The Anniston Star.
See story at The Anniston Star's website: www.annistonstar.com