BIRMINGHAM – Timely hitting and another stellar outing by the Jacksonville State pitching staff keyed a 4-2 win at UAB on Tuesday at Regions Field.
The win moved the Gamecocks' record to 6-2, while the Blazers dropped to 4-2. JSU will carry a two-game winning streak to Miami this weekend for a three-game set at Florida International. The series begins Friday.
Against UAB, senior Clayton Daniel's RBI single in the fifth broke a 2-2 deadlock and proved to be the game-winning run. After staving off UAB scoring threats in the sixth and seventh, seniors Grant Chandler and Trent Simpson closed out the final two innings by retiring the next six UAB batters. Jax State pushed an insurance run across the plate in the eighth with an RBI sacrifice fly by Taylor Hawthorne.
Redshirt freshman Sean Rape earned his first career start in the contest and tossed 2 2/3 innings and allowing both of UABS runs without allowing a hit. The Blazers plated their two runs in the third on two fielder’s choice plays. JSU had four early fielding miscues but bounced back to make the needed plays late in the game, including a pair of double plays.
The defense responded in the seventh after a pair of UAB runners reached base. Junior college transfer Austin Brewster induced a fly ball to left field to Nolan Greckel and the runner at second was erased by Greckel trying to advance to third. Brewster ended the threat by picking off the runner at first.
Brewster was one of four pitchers used by JSU out of the bullpen. The relievers allowed just four UAB hits in the contest. Including Saturday's no-hitter, the Gamecock arms have surrendered just four hits in 18 innings of work. Redshirt sophomore Tyler Wilburn turned in one of his best outings so far with 2 2/3 innings pitched and posted three strikeouts to earn his first career win as a Gamecock.
It was a mirror image of Saturday's final game with Radford as Chandler retired the Blazers in order in the eighth to set up Trent Simpson for the save opportunity. Simpson picked up his second save of the season and fourth of his career.
JSU took an early 1-0 lead in the second with an sacrifice fly, scoring Andrew Naismith. Junior Nic Gaddis, who was the only Gamecock with multiple hits, had a game-tying RBI sacrifice fly in the fourth.
Jax State finished with nine hits on the evening and eight of the nine hitters in the order had a hit, but all nine reached base.