JSU hits Ricciardi hard, knocks off Alabama State 9-2
by Al Muskewitz
May 01, 2013 | 2179 views |  0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
JACKSONVILLE — All the Jacksonville State hitters remember how hard it was to score on Anthony Ricciardi the first time they faced him this year, so coach Jim Case couldn’t help being impressed with what they did against him Wednesday night.

The Gamecocks erupted for three runs in the first and two more in the third against the Alabama State senior right-hander on the way to a 9-2 victory at Rudy Abbott Field.

Back on March 6, Ricciardi held JSU to one run in eight dark and frigid innings in Montgomery. On this night, the Gamecocks (26-19) scored three with their first three hitters.

“If you would’ve told me that we’d score five runs in three innings off him, I would have almost laughed,” Case said. “He’s really good. He had some problems tonight with location, a little bit different than what we’ve seen of him in the past.

“I thought the first inning was just huge. It kind of loosened us up a little bit. And the way (Adam) Polk was throwing it put a little pressure on them, too, because he was pretty good tonight.”

Michael Bishop got it all started with a first-pitch triple. Adam Miller followed with an RBI single and Griff Gordon walked. Miller and Gordon scored on sacrifice flies by Paschal Petrongolo and Andrew Bishop.

Andrew Bishop hammered a two-run triple in the third that made it 5-1 and effectively ended Ricciardi’s night. Ricciardi had given up one earned run in his two quality previous starts.

“Once you start (struggling early) it kind of snowballs and it’s kind of hard to get that engine cranked,” Andrew Bishop said, “but Michael did a great job crushing that ball first pitch to right-center. That always sparks us and … that really got us going.

“He’s aggressive if it’s a good enough pitch, but teams recently have been throwing him a bunch of curveballs and changes first pitch and it’s ironic with that kid throwing a first-pitch fastball because he throws mainly changeups. … When he smokes the first pitch like that we’re like oh, man, what’s going to happen now? We love it when he does that for us.”

Michael may have gotten it started, but Andrew had the biggest night of the brothers with two extra-base hits and four RBIs. Coincidentally,, it was on May 2 last year he had a four-RBI night against the Hornets (27-23).

“I was out at shortstop after my second hit thinking I did the same thing last year,” Andrew said. “It’s not often you get four RBIs, but to do it the same time against the same team is kind of weird. But, hey, I’ll take it.”

Polk, who started and won the first game against ASU, picked up his first win since March 9. He allowed three hits and one run in five innings. The four relievers who followed him gave up one hit and an unearned run.

Coty Blanchard extended his hitting streak to 13 games, the longest active streak in the Ohio Valley Conference, with an eighth-inning infield single. He has reached base in 22 straight games.

Sports Writer Al Muskewitz: 256-235-3577. On Twitter @almusky_star.
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