OXFORD, Ala. – Jacksonville State scored a run in the seventh inning and another in the eighth inning Friday, dealing SIUE a 3-1 loss in the second game of a three-game Ohio Valley Conference baseball series at Choccolocco Park.
The Cougars dropped to 23-28 overall and 11-18 in OVC play. The loss eliminated SIUE from contention for next week's OVC tournament. Jacksonville State improved to 29-24 overall and 16-13 in the OVC.
The Cougars loaded the bases with one out in the first inning before Jared McCunn hit a hard ground ball to third, which turned into an inning-ending double play.
"You've got bases loaded and a get a sharply hit ball, one hop right at the third baseman," SIUE Head Coach Sean Lyons said. "That was pretty much the story of the day."
The Gamecocks responded with a run on two hits in the bottom of the inning to lead 1-0. SIUE starter Brock Fulkerson settled in to throw seven innings. At one point he retired nine hitters in a row.
JSU reliever Nate Sylvester allowed the run on five hits in four innings of relief. He struck out four and earned the win to improve to 2-2.
Jacksonville State took the lead for good with a run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly from catcher Hayden White.
Fulkerson allowed two runs on seven hits and struck out three. He fell to 4-6 with the loss.
"Brock Fulkerson did a great job," Lyons said. "He provided everything we needed and gave us an opportunity to win."
The Gamecocks added a third run in the eighth against SIUE reliever Mason McReaken.
The Cougars finished with seven hits. Wright and Eric Giltz each had two to lead the way. The Cougars left 11 runners on base.
"Unfortunately on the offensive side, we left 11 guys on base and hit into three double plays," Lyons said. "It's tough to win when that's the way it's going for you. The guys battled, we just couldn't get that hit."
SIUE will wrap the regular season with the series finale Saturday. First pitch is slated for 1 p.m.
"We'll challenge our guys to come out ready to play," Lyons added. "Tomorrow is what's going to really show the direction we're headed. It's going to be the true senior day. For our four seniors it will be their last opportunity to put on a Cougar uniform and compete with the guys."