The senior left-hander, who missed all fall recovering from August ACL surgery, threw three innings of no-hit relief to preserve Jacksonville State’s first shutout of the season, 10-0 over snow-birding Valparaiso.
Antley didn’t throw off the mound for the first time this season until two weeks ago, but went three innings for the second time this year. He threw 45 pitches and faced one batter over the minimum. He struck out three.
He is expected to make his first start of the season Tuesday at South Alabama. He made 15 starts a year ago, most of them in the Gamecocks’ conference openers. He also started their OVC tournament opener.
“We couldn’t have drawn this up better, really,” JSU coach Jim Case said. “My idea was to go at it the way we do, with Michael Mason coming in followed by (closer Travis) Stout, but the game changed a little.
“It was absolutely perfect for Casey because it allowed him to stretch out (and) put him in pretty good shape for starting the game Tuesday night at South (Alabama).”
Antley followed starter Taylor Shields to open the seventh inning with a 6-0 lead. The only blemish on his ledger was hitting the leadoff man in the ninth. He also went three innings against Northwestern State last weekend.
“The big thing right now is just getting innings in and getting back into the feel of things,” Antley said. “Starting, relieving, it doesn’t matter. We’ve got a pretty good starting rotation right now and I’m just accepting my role. Whatever the team needs, I’m there to fulfill it.”
Shields scattered three singles. He retired the last eight batters he faced. The Crusaders (2-2) scored 24 in taking two of three from Samford last weekend, but had only two runners reach second against the two JSU pitchers.
The Gamecocks (3-1) pounded 12 hits off four Valpo pitchers and played error-free in the field. Cal Lambert, Paschal Petrongolo, Ryan Sebra and Andrew Bishop had two hits apiece.
Al Muskewitz covers Jacksonville State sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3577.