Nic Gaddis

Nic Gaddis slugged a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth.

JACKSONVILLE — Jacksonville State's Garrett Farmer threw the first pitch and also got the first strikeout.

The Gamecocks' Tre Kirklin got the first hit, and teammate Nic Gaddis slugged the first home run.

And, most importantly, Jacksonville State got the first win in rebuilt Rudy Abbott Field at Jim Case Stadium.

On opening day, JSU smacked North Alabama 14-1 in front of a crowd of 1,112 on Friday. The two teams will play again Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. both days, but on this day, all that mattered was that JSU christened its new baseball stadium in a big way.

Even heavy rain that settled over the stadium in the bottom of the seventh didn't ruin this day. Because the school switched from a grass and dirt surface to artificial turf, they could just keep on playing.

"All in all, it wasn't perfect. It wasn't perfect by far," said Jim Case, the JSU coach and namesake of the stadium. "But for an opening game, it was a pretty good day."

Jacksonville State came out aggressive at the plate from the start. After Farmer didn't allow a hit in the top of the first, Kirklin started the home half of the inning with a single. He got picked off, but Cole Frederick followed with a walk, and Gaddis promptly slugged a home run that the JSU statcast computer registered as traveling 350 feet.

The Gamecocks finished with 14 hits and scored at least two runs in six different innings.

"Guys were aggressive today, with it being the first day and guys wanted to get their first hit of the year. That never hurts," said first baseman Andrew Naismith, who went 2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI.

Gaddis added another home run that didn't look like the no-doubter the first one did. It went 340 feet, giving Gaddis two homers in one game for the second time in his JSU career. Both were two-run shots.

"The first one definitely felt great off the bat," Gaddis said. "The second one was a little iffy. I got in good hitter's counts. There was a guy on first both times, and that helped."

Farmer worked five innings to get the win. He allowed three hits and a walk while striking out six.

"He was kind of up a little early but once he found his groove, it was like he was in mid-season form," said Gaddis, the team's starting catcher. "He was getting the ball out front and really burying his pitches. It was a lot of fun to catch."

Austin Brewster and Alex London each worked two scoreless innings of relief.

What to know

—Taylor Craven, a transfer from Southern Union Community College, cranked a home run to left field that went 402 feet. The UNA left fielder never even moved. He finished 1-for-2 with three walks.

—Shortstop Isaac Alexander went 2-for-5 with a triple and an RBI. Chase Robinson added a two-run triple.

—Kirklin and Nash Adams each went 2-for-5. One of Adams' hits was a double. Backup catcher Alex Webb had a one-run double.

Who said

—Case on the crowd: "For a day where it's spitting rain all day, I thought the crowd was fantastic. There was a time when I looked in the stands, and I thought, 'Oh,' but I looked up under (the overhang) and it was just packed. Everybody was staying out of the rain, so we're very, very excited and appreciative of everyone who came. Hopefully, they'll like what they saw and come back. I thought it was one of the better non-Alabama, Auburn, Georgia games since I've been here."

—Case on allowing London to pitch a second inning instead of going to another reliever for the last inning: "This is his first time at this level, so he comes out, strikes out two. So, I thought, 'Let's give him another inning. Let's feed him a bit and try to build some confidence.'"

Next up

—JSU and UNA will play a doubleheader Saturday at noon, instead of a single game Saturday and one Sunday. Thunderstorms are forecast for Sunday, which forced the change.

Sports Editor Mark Edwards: 256-235-3570. On Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.

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