OXFORD, Ala. – Jacksonville State starter Derrick Adams limited SIUE to two runs on six hits over seven innings Thursday and the Gamecocks defeated the Cougars 8-2 in the opener of a three-game series at Choccolocco Park.
The Cougars fell to 11-17 in Ohio Valley Conference play and 23-27 overall. JSU improved to 15-13 in the OVC and 28-24 overall.
The Cougars fell one game back of the final OVC Tournament spot with two games to play in the regular season.
"It's only game one of the series," SIUE Head Coach Sean Lyons said. "Adams did a great job. He threw the ball really well. He made it difficult for us to get anything going."
Adams walked two and struck out seven. He improved to 7-2 with the win.
SIUE's only runs came in the fourth inning when they scored two on three hits. Alec Skender and Keaton Wright opened the inning with base hits before Brock Weimer walked to load the bases. Dustin Woodcock drove home a run with a sacrifice fly. Jared McCunn then singled to center to drive in another. The Cougars left runners on in the inning.
"We had a shot there in the fourth," Lyons said. "We got two, but that was our opportunity to have a big inning. (Adams) did a nice job of getting himself out of trouble."
JSU scored three runs in the second inning and three in the fifth. The Gamecocks scored single runs in the third and fourth innings against SIUE starter Nelson Martz.
Martz allowed all eight runs on 13 hits over five innings. Of the 13 hits allowed, 12 of them were singles. He walked three and struck out two.
"We didn't get the start we were hoping for out of Nellie," Lyons said. "He didn't have the command he's shown the last couple of weeks. He gritted through and he got us some innings. He just wasn't as sharp as he has been."
The Cougars put two on in the sixth inning. Wright singled to start the inning and Weimer reached on an error. Jordan Stading walked with two outs, but the Cougars stranded the bases loaded.
"Mike Miller, Hutch and Devin Colley all came in and threw well," Lyons said. "They gave us a little bit of momentum there late so we know we can come back to them later in the weekend and feel good about it."
Alec Skender was 3 for 5 with a run scored. Wright was 2 for 4.
"We go as he goes at the top of the order," Lyons said of Skender. He used his speed to get a couple of hits in his first couple of at-bats and what a great job he did with the slider away (in his last at-bat). He just goes with it for the base hit to right field."
JSU catcher Nic Gaddis was 3 for 4 with two runs scored to lead the Gamecocks.
The Cougars and Gamecocks will play the second game of the series Friday at 1 p.m.
"Our guys will come out ready to play and with good energy," Lyons said. "Hopefully we get a good start out of Brock and we'll get the bats going a little bit."