Winning their first two games is something they had not done since defeating Alabama State in back-to-back games in 2002. Saturday’s 5-4 win over Northwestern State changed that.
“It’s great to get off to a good start,” said Case, whose team is 2-0 heading into today’s series finale with Northwestern State at 1 p.m. “We haven’t gotten off to too many. I think the thing we’re excited about is just trying to find a way to get better every day.”
Senior outfielder Griff Gordon had three of JSU’s eight hits Saturday and gave the Gamecocks their first run of the game with a first-inning home run to right field. It was his and the Gamecocks’ first homer of the season.
“It was pretty exciting,” said Gordon, who homered twice last year. “I just saw an inside pitch and kind of turned on it. It just got out of here.”
But the lead was short lived. The Demons managed three unanswered runs in the third and fourth innings.
JSU stopped the bleeding and plated two runs of its own in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game 3-3. Gordon scored from first because of Paschal Petrongolo’s double, and Petrongolo scored on Andrew Bishop’s ensuing single.
The Demons answered with one more of their own in the top of the fifth, but the Gamecocks tied the game 4-4 with a run in the bottom half. Gavin Golsan scored on Gordon’s third hit of the game. This one was a single to left.
The Gamecocks took the lead for a final time in the bottom of the sixth. Bishop and Tyler Gamble drew walks to start the inning. After both advanced a base on Peyton Williams’ sacrifice bunt, Golsan stepped to the plate with a chance to drive home the go-ahead run.
He swung and sent the ball rolling to first. The first baseman tried to throw out Bishop at home but Bishop’s hook slide knocked the ball out of the catcher’s mit as he crossed the plate.
“Gavin was hitting,” Bishop said. “He puts the ball in play a good bit. The first baseman made a good play on it. I took a hook slide and made sure to make a little contact. It jarred the ball loose, and I was able to get in.”
Added Case: “It was a great slide. He did a really nice job. He found a way to get in there.”
Travis Stout took the mound in the ninth inning and didn’t give up a run, earning his second save of the season.
Casey Antley picked up the win, his first of the year, after relieving starter Zachary Fowler in the top of the fourth.