JACKSON, Tenn. – Bert Smith had three hits and scored three runs to lead Jacksonville State to a 10-8 win over Tennessee Tech as the Gamecocks claimed their third Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Championship on Sunday evening.
The Gamecocks also claimed the OVC Tournament title in 2004 and 2006, and will now earn a berth in the NCAA Baseball Regionals, which begin next weekend.
Sophomore Tanner Freshour (6-1) allowed just two hits in 3 1/3 innings of relief to earn the win, while Alex Jones tossed the final four innings and gave up just three hits to earn his sixth save. Tech's Tristan Archer gave up five runs and five hits in just two innings to get stuck with the loss.
Tech jumped out to an early 4-0 lead after the Golden Eagles sent nine players to the plate in the second inning, scoring four runs on five hits off Gamecock starter Aaron Elias.
The Gamecocks got on the board in the bottom of the first on a RBI by Jake Sharrock, then took the lead for good in the third inning after scoring four runs.
Smith led off with a double and Steven Leach followed with a RBI double to score Smith. Andrew Edge then hit a two-run home run down the left field line to tie the game at 4-4.
Kyle Bluestein then doubled to chase TTU starter Archer from the game. Sam Eberle then hit a RBI triple to right center to score Bluestein and give the Gamecocks the lead for good.
The Gamecocks pushed the lead to 7-4 in the fourth inning on a RBI single by Edge and Leach scored after Bluestein singled to right field.
Tech scored a pair of runs in the fifth after Devin Rivers reached on a bases loaded walk and Frankie Beech drove in a run on an infield grounder to cut the lead to 7-6.
Jax State answered in the home half of the fifth on a RBI single by Smith and Leach followed with a RBI double down the right field line to extend the lead to 9-6.
Tennessee Tech scored its final two runs in the sixth on a two-run home run by A.J. Kirby-Jones, as the junior tied the single-season OVC home run record with 26 on the year, to cut the lead to 9-8.
After a 2-hour, 2-minute rain delay after the seventh inning, the Gamecocks scored an insurance run in the eighth inning on a RBI single by Eberle for the final margin.
Smith, Bluestein, Adamson and Leach each had three hits, while Edge and Eberle had two hits as the Gamecocks finished with 18 in the game. Adamson, Edge, Leach, Smith and Jordan Beistline each were named to the OVC All-Tournament squad.
Ben Burgess led Tech with three hits, while Austin Wulf, Tate McMillan, Kirby-Jones and Beech each had two hits.
The complete NCAA 64-team field will be announded live on ESPN on Monday at 11:30 a.m.