JACKSONVILLE — Alex Webb and Isaac Alexander are two of Jacksonville State's most experienced and reliable baseball players, so it hardly seems surprising that they followed up a tough opener with strong performances Saturday.
Webb is a senior catcher who is using the sixth year of eligibility granted to him by the NCAA after the pandemic erased most of last season. Alexander is in his fourth year — all four as the starting shortstop.
In a 5-3 home win over Alabama State, Alexander was 2-for-4 with two RBIs, and Webb went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Webb threw out two base-runners trying to steal, and Alexander picked up four ground balls for outs, including one he had to reach across his body and make a bullet throw to nail the runner.
Both when 0-for-4 in Friday's season-opening loss to Southern Illinois.
"This game is unique," Webb said. "You get a chance to come back each and every day and kind of build upon the day prior. It was just a good day."
As for Alexander, JSU coach Jim Case said he made it a point to tell him in the locker room afterward how well he played.
Jacksonville State hosted Alabama State in baseball Saturday afternoon.
"Great day. Just a great day," Case said. "And, defensively, too, which we expect. He was so good."
Perhaps Webb's biggest job of the day was working with the JSU pitchers. All three had their moments: starter Dylan Hatcock (four innings, two runs, four strikeouts), middle reliever Alex Luigs (three innings, no hits, no runs) and closer Corley Woods (two innings, one run, one game-ending strikeout).
Webb said all three did a good job of "pounding the strike zone."
"Those three guys being in the zone, keeps the defense engaged and allows the defense to play the way we're capable of playing," Webb said. "It starts with our pitchers."
What to know
—Luigs and starting third baseman Jaylen Williams are graduate transfers who joined the team in January. Both are seniors in eligibility. Luigs pitched 114 innings over three years at North Georgia. Williams was an All-Southwestern Athletic Conference player at Jackson State. Through two games, he has two hits and two walks.
—Tre Kirklin went 1-for-3 for JSU, drove in a run and scored another. He also just missed a diving catch in the first inning.
—Alex Strachan went 1-for-3, scored a run and drive in a run with a sacrifice fly.
—Webb on Hathcock: "Today, Dylan got us off to a good start. That comes with a lot of experience on his behalf. He's been here a long time, started a lot of big games for us. Honestly, when he gets in big moments is when he looks his best and pitches his best. Today, it was just a good start for him."
—Webb on Luigs, who was making his first appearance for JSU: "Luigs came in and asserted himself. He did what I had heard he could do. I've heard from his summer ball reports that he can locate his fastball, good slider. He sure enough came in and did that."
—Webb on Woods, who has great off-speed pitches but had success with his fastball Saturday: "A couple of comments from guys in the box is that the ball was jumping on them a little more than they thought from the side. He did a good job of playing his game and locating in the zone."
—Webb on throwing out two runners: "The pitchers gave me good pitches to throw on, so I've got to give credit to them. Without good pitches to throw on, I have no shot. It's really good to have guys like that.
—Sunday is the final day of JSU's four-team round-robin at Jim Case Stadium. Alabama State will play Southern Illinois at 10 a.m., followed by JSU vs. Tennessee Tech at about 1:30 p.m. Tickets will be $10, and the box office will open one hour before the start of each day.