OXFORD — It doesn’t matter if it’s in Miami, Fla., or Oxford, Ala., Nic Gaddis is playing a high level of baseball right now.
Gaddis, who went 8-for-12 with nine runs batted in over the weekend at Florida International, was named the Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Week on Monday afternoon. He continued his hot streak in Jacksonville State’s 3-1 win over Kennesaw State Tuesday night, going 1-for-3 with a run batted in and a walk.
Gaddis got things started for the Gamecocks in the bottom of the first inning when he pushed a first pitch through the right side to score Nolan Greckel, who started the game with a six-pitch walk, from second base. This came after he threw a would-be base stealer out at second base. The next time he threw out a base runner — the top of the third — Gaddis followed it by drawing a full-count walk in the bottom half of the frame.
“I think it’s really just making sure I’m getting into good hitter’s counts,” Gaddis said. “The guys in front of me are putting pressure on (pitchers) as well, so it’s making them have to pitch to me a little bit. I’m just trying to see the ball best I can out of the pitcher’s hand.”
Three things to know
—Sean Rape, who earned the win, and Christian Edwards set career highs in innings and strikeouts. Rape, a redshirt freshman, started and went 3.0 innings and struck out two batters, while Edwards, a true freshman, went the next 2.0 innings and struck out four of the seven batters he faced.
—Taylor Hawthorne wasted little no time extending his active on-base streak to 35 games when he drew a one-out, full-count walk in the bottom of the first. He came around to score on a sacrifice-fly by Andrew Naismith to give JSU a 2-0 lead.
—After taking over with two outs in the sixth inning, Kennesaw State right-handed pitcher Luke Tolbert went on to strike out four straight Gamecocks, including the side in the bottom of the seventh and the first batter of the eighth before being lifted.
—Alex Strachan on his first collegiate hit: “I was looking to be aggressive early. It’s been a while since I’ve been out in a game, so butterflies are normal. He got behind in the count and I was just fortunate enough to get the barrel on a curveball.”
—Jim Case on his team heading into conference play: “I think we are playing good, but I don’t think we are playing great and that’s what we have to get to. We have played solid baseball and we’ve played good defense, for the most part, but haven’t swung the bats as good as we can. I think there are good things coming for us.”
—Jacksonville State will open Ohio Valley Conference play with a three-game series against Austin Peay at Choccolocco Park in Oxford. The two teams will play Friday and Saturday at 11 a.m. with Sunday’s game set for 1 p.m.