JSU baseball: Gamecocks fall 8-7 in OVC series opener at TTU
by Staff reports
Apr 17, 2014 | 276 views |  0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Jordan Parris had four hits – including two home runs – to lead Tennessee Tech to an 8-7 victory over Jacksonville State in the opening game of a three-game Ohio Valley Conference series Thursday. Tennessee Tech improves to 30-10 overall and 12-7 in the OVC, while JSU falls to 21-15, 11-5. Cain Sloan (2-0) had a pair of strikeouts and did not allow a hit in two innings of relief to pick up the win, while Seth Lucio recorded the final three outs to earn his ninth save for the Golden Eagles. JSU's Michael Mason (0-1) suffered the loss after giving up two runs. The Gamecocks struck first after scoring three runs in the third inning to build an early lead after Griff Gordon hit a 2-run home runs and Ryan Sebra had an RBI single to give JSU a 3-0 lead. Parris hit a solo home run to lead off the home half of the third to cut the lead to 3-1, and the Golden Eagles took the lead in the fourth inning, after Parris hit a 3-run home run and Dyland Bosheers hit a solo home run to make it 5-3. Tennessee Tech added a run in the fifth inning on Zach Zarzour's RBI single to take a 6-3 lead, but the Gamecocks battled back to tie the game in the sixth inning. Sebra led off with a single and scored on Joe McGuire's pinch hit, and Michael Bishop followed with a single to center field to drive in two more runs and tie the game at 6-6. Jax State took a 7-6 lead in the top of the seventh inning after Gordon scored on a Stephen Bartlett sacrifice fly, but the lead did not last long as Tech came back to take the lead for good in the home half of the seventh. Bosheers led off with a single and came around to score after Parris doubled down the left field line, and Zarzour followed with a one-out single to score the go-ahead run for the final margin. Sebra led the Gamecocks with two hits, while Parris finished with four hits. Zarzour and Bosheers each had three hits to lead Tennessee Tech. The second game of the series will be played on Friday at 6 p.m.
Alabama football: Peyton Manning among recent visitors to Tide camp
by Marq Burnett
Apr 17, 2014 | 555 views |  0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
TUSCALOOSA -- Peyton Manning and Denver Broncos’ offensive coordinator Adam Gase recently made a visit to Alabama, Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said Thursday. Saban said the trio swapped ideas and suggestions that were helpful to each party involved. Saban said Manning and Gase “were just making some visits” and that Alabama was on the schedule. “To be honest with you, he was just trying to learn so he could be a better player,” Saban said. “I think a lot of people would say, ‘Wow, the guy is one of the best, if not the best, and certainly from a career standpoint probably about as good as anybody’s been in the history of the league. After all the experience and knowledge that he has, he’s going out and trying to seek more knowledge and understanding of the game of football so he can play better.” Saban said Manning has been a “friend and very well respected for a long time, ever since I coached in the league.” Saban coached against Manning while Manning was with the Indianapolis Colts and Saban coached the Miami Dolphins. Saban also said he’s been friends with Peyton’s father, Archie Manning, for a “long, long, long time.” As for Gase, he worked for Saban at Michigan State in the late 1990s and at LSU as a graduate assistant (2000) and a recruiting assistant (2001-02). Saban said Manning is someone all young players should try to emulate. “It’s a great example for a lot of young people, whether they’re playing high school, college, Pop Warner or whatever, and it’s something that I have tremendous respect for,” Saban said. “I really enjoyed visiting with him.” But Saban received a few tips in return, particularly on how to stop a certain style of offense that has give the Tide trouble in recent years. “Since they’re a no-huddle team, we had a lot of questions for them, in terms of what gives them problems and what defensive teams do that gives them problems,” Saban said. “That was kind of mutual, hopefully beneficial. I know it was a benefit to us. I hope it was a benefit to them, as well.” Saban is no stranger to bringing in high-profile coaches during the offseason. Sometimes, others just want to come and learn from him and his staff, Saban said. Other times, Alabama seeks them out. “The goals that you have for next year are basically the things that you struggled with last year,” Saban said. “You make a list of those things through your quality control, and then you go out and look for people who might be able to help you develop a little more expertise, a better way to teach, a better way to coach some situation. "Sometimes we bring somebody in here to visit with us. Sometimes we have people call us and ask us if they can come and visit us and try to learn from us, which we share with quite a few people. I think we usually learn from them as well when that happens.” Sports Writer Marq Burnett: On Twitter @Marq_Burnett.
Saks product Taylor West, now a freshman at JSU, pitches against Georgia State on Wednesday at Jacksonville. (Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
Saks product Taylor West, now a freshman at JSU, pitches against Georgia State on Wednesday at Jacksonville. (Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
Saks product Taylor West, now a freshman at JSU, pitches during the Gamecocks' game against Georgia State on Wednesday. She's one of seven pitchers JSU can use. (Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
Saks product Taylor West, now a freshman at JSU, pitches during the Gamecocks' game against Georgia State on Wednesday. She's one of seven pitchers JSU can use. (Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
JSU softball: Gamecocks go way deep on arms
by Al Muskewitz
Apr 17, 2014 | 417 views |  0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Saks product Taylor West, now a freshman at JSU, pitches against Georgia State on Wednesday at Jacksonville. (Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
Saks product Taylor West, now a freshman at JSU, pitches against Georgia State on Wednesday at Jacksonville. (Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
JACKSONVILLE – If college softball is a game dominated by the teams with the strongest pitching, then Jacksonville State is fully engaged in the arms race. While most teams on the mid-major level hope to have two or three pitchers they can lean on -- and often settle for one -- the Gamecocks have a stockpile of seven reliable arms ready at a moment’s notice. They are so deep in the circle, in fact, JSU head coach Jana McGinnis and pitching coach Mark Wisener could send out a different pitcher in every inning of every game. They could even play an intrasquad game between the pitchers and position players just to break the monotony of practice. (Don’t think they haven’t thought about it.) “We’re a small army,” senior right-hander Tiffany Harbin said. And it’s behind that army the Gamecocks could march a long way once tournament time gets here. The pitching staff is currently fifth in the Ohio Valley Conference in overall ERA (second in league play), third in runs allowed and second in strikeouts-to-walk ratio. They’ve fashioned 15 shutouts, nine in conference play. What makes them so effective is all the pitchers bring something different to the table. That not only has helped the Gamecocks keep opponents in check – they lead the OVC East going into this weekend’s games – players and coaches alike are convinced it has made their own hitters better. They currently lead the OVC in virtually every major hitting category. “Our toughest question is who do we go with,” McGinnis said. “They all have different make-ups, different characteristics; our biggest decision is who do we start.” Harbin commands the most attention. She is unquestionably the ace, and her legacy grows every time she enters the circle. She owns the school record for career wins (71) and strikeouts (843). OVC opponents are hitting only .167 against her this year. Freshman Logan Green is the second starter. She can work in and out of the strike zone, and her best pitch is the change. Saks product Taylor West throws three different speeds and works up and down the zone. Savanna Hennings, the other senior on the staff who worked her way back from an injury in the fall, and Casey Akenberger keep the ball down. Brooke Carvey is the most versatile, but that’s left her in a tough spot. She’s so close to being the designated hitter and the No. 3 or 4 pitcher. Jordan Sims is still developing in the bullpen, and her best pitch is the change. Other teams would love to have what the Gamecocks have cultivated. Within the OVC, UT Martin has used seven pitchers this season and Austin Peay six, but most of the rest of the league has no more than four. Georgia State coach Roger Kincaid joked to McGinnis coming off the bus Wednesday, if he could “borrow” a few of her pitchers before sending his ace to go the distance in their mid-week non-conference game. “When I came here … pitching practice was like half the team,” Green said. “I just never had that before. In college you never know what’s going to happen, so it’s a nice thing. I’d rather have too many than not enough.” So would McGinnis. There were times – as recently as the last two years – when injuries reduced the pitching staff to a precious few. One year, the coaches started walking through the dugout, asking if any position player had pitched in high school. McGinnis was determined not to go through that again. “We said we’ve got to have some throwers, if we ever get in this situation,” she said. And the pursuit began. One might think so many pitchers and only one ball might create tension, but the pitchers know the score. They embrace the competition and share the confidence that’s built with it. “We do push each other to be better,” Harbin said. “It makes me a better player, because you’re competing every day to earn your spot.” Said West, “It’s great, because, no matter what happens, somebody back there is going to have your back.” Sports Writer Al Muskewitz: 256-235-3577. On Twitter @almusky_star.

ARMED AND DANGEROUS Jacksonville State’s stable of pitchers (With class, record and ERA) Brooke Carvey, Fr. RHP, 2-0/1.27 Tiffany Harbin, Sr. RHP, 12-6/2.44 Logan Green, Fr. RHP, 8-2/2.62 Jordan Sims, Fr. RHP, 0-0/2.80 Taylor West, Fr. RHP, 3-2/3.40 Casey Akenberger, So. RHP, 4-2/6.22 Savanna Hennings, Sr. RHP, 0-0/14.00

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