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12 May 2008
Jax State Baseball Extends Winning Streak
in Conference Play

Jax State's Ben Tootle was named OVC Pitcher of the Week for the second time this season on Monday.

Jacksonville State (32-19, 20-4 OVC): According to the OVC Baseball Report issued May 12, 2008 (reprinted here):

Jacksonville State extended its winning streak to 12 games (and its Conference winning streak to 11 games) with five victories last week.

The Gamecocks won a home-and-home series with UAB and then swept Tennessee Tech in Conference play. The 11 straight conference wins is the longest active-streak nationwide with the 12-straights wins overall is tied for second nationally and is the most for JSU in its Division I history. Overall, Jax State has won 11 straight OVC series, dating back to last season; the Gamecocks have won 19 of their last 21 games overall.

JSU enters the final week of the regular season with a 1.5 game lead over Samford (a team they won 2 of 3 from earlier this season). JSU, who has already clinched a first round bye, can clinch its second OVC regular season title (it also won in 2005) with two victories or a victory and a Samford loss. JSU also became the second OVC team to reach 30 wins this season, the sixth straight season they have won 30 or more games in a season.

Junior 2B Bert Smith hit .550 (11-for-20) with eight runs, three doubles and nine RBI last week. He had four multiple-hit games, posted a .700 slugging percentage and did not commit and error in the field. On the mound, sophomore Ben Tootle continued his mastery of OVC teams, improving to 7-0 on the year against OVC competition (he is 9-2 overall). Tootle pitched a seven-inning complete game shutout, allowing two hits and three walks while striking out four.

Last week’s National Player of the Week, Clay Whittemore, now needs just six hits to be the program’s all-time hits leader; he is batting .467 in OVC play this season, tops in the Conference. Reliever Brian Booth improved to 6-0 (with a 2.70 E.R.A.) in OVC play this season with another win; he is 8-0 overall on the year.

Ben Tootle, of Oxford Alabama, was named Pitcher of the Week. Tootle, a sophomore, was masterful in a 4-0 victory over Tennessee Tech on Saturday, tossing a seven-inning complete game shutout over the Golden Eagles. He allowed only two hits, walked three and struck out four in improving to 9-2 on the season and a perfect 7-0 in OVC play. Tootle had a no-hitter into the sixth inning, effectively shutting down the league’s top-hitting team. For the game TTU hit just .087 against Tootle, who did not allow a leadoff hitter to reach base the entire game. Tootle is now 11-1 in two years against OVC competition. It marks the second time this season (March 24) that Tootle has been named OVC Pitcher of the Week.

Bert Smith, 2B, a Junior from Pelham, AL was named Player of the Week. Smith, a junior hit .550 (11-for-20) last week as Jacksonville State won all five games and extended its winning streak to 12 games, the second longest streak in the nation. Smith scored eight runs and added three doubles and nine RBI while not committing an error in the field. Smith had four multiple-hit games and finished the week with a .700 slugging percentage as JSU won a home-and-away series with UAB and swept Tennessee Tech in OVC play. Smith, who is hitting .326 overall on the season, is batting .400 in 24 OVC games this season, the fifth-highest mark in the Conference.

The Gamecocks will play at Kennesaw State this week and then conclude the regular season with three games at UT Martin.

Source: OVC - Team Notes/Schedule/Players of the Week

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