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April 19, 2013

Gamecocks squeak by Golden Eagles in 6-5 battle


JACKSONVILLE, Ala. – A quick lead and two comeback attempts just weren't quite enough Friday evening, as the Tennessee Tech baseball fell to Jacksonville State, 6-5, in the first of a three-game Ohio Valley Conference series.

The Golden Eagles led things off in the top of the first, scoring the game's first run off a Brandon Thomasson double to take an early 1-0 lead. It marked the 24th time this season that Tech was the first team to score, having gone 20-3 after scoring first prior to Friday's contest.

Jacksonville State quickly answered, picking up two runs of its own in the bottom of the first half off of an RBI double by Cody Blanchard and RBI single by Eddie Mora-Loera.

In the top of the third, Tech evened things up, scoring on Thomasson's second RBI double of the game. He drove in senior Austin Wulf for the second time of the contest to tie things at 2-2 heading to the bottom of the third.

Back-to-back diving stops up the middle by Zach Zarzour stopped the Jax State offense in its tracks as the senior second baseman flipped both scoops to shortstop Dylan Bosheers to grab the final two outs of the inning. The Gamecocks retook the lead in the bottom of the fourth anyway, using a rare error by the Tech defense to score twice after an RBI ground out by Cal Lambert.

It took no time at all for the Tech offense to get the team back into things, as Thomasson drove in Wulf for the third time, ripping his third double of the game down the third base line. Daniel Miles settled in next, driving the fifth pitch of the at-bat clear over the left field wall for his eighth home run of the season. The dinger tied things up at 5-5 as Jacksonville State was able to end the inning without further damage.

A leaping grab by Zarzour with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning staved off a Gamecock scoring threat, as Gavi Golsan looked sure to score from second had the ball been able to drop. Jacksonville State still managed to score in the seventh, however, using another RBI double from Blanchard to take a 6-5 lead.

Gamecock closer Travis Stout notched his 11th save of the year, ending Tech's comeback hopes with three quick outs in the ninth.

Starter Tristan Archer (6-3) was tabbed with the loss, his third of the season. The senior gave up 10 hits over 6.1 innings, allowing four earned runs and three walks while striking out four.  Graham Officer (2-0) picked up the win for Jacksonville State after two innings of relief work.

Wulf, Thomasson, Miles, and James Abraham all picked up multiple hit games for the Golden Eagles. Wulf went 2-for-5 with three runs scored, Thomasson collected three hits (all doubles) in five at-bats with three RBI, and Miles finished 2-of-4 with a two-run jack-job.

Game two of the OVC series will begin at 2 p.m. CDT on Saturday as Cookeville native Ross Spurgeon (2-1) will battle Jax State's Taylor Shields (5-2).