JACKSONVILLE – The Jacksonville State softball team will try and stay hot this weekend at University Field, where the Gamecocks will host Morehead State in a three-game Ohio Valley Conference series.
The Gamecocks (16-6, 3-0 OVC) and Eagles (9-13, 3-0 OVC) will get the series underway with a doubleheader on Saturday at 1 p.m. and will wrap it up with a 1 p.m. single game on Sunday. Admission is free to all JSU home softball games.
JSU enters the weekend on an eight-game winning streak and having won 12 of its last 14 games. That recent success has come in large part to a red-hot month of March for JSU that has seen the Gamecocks combine explosive offense and stellar pitching. Since an 11-1 win at Kennesaw State on March 1, the Gamecocks are 10-2 with a team batting average of .318 and a team earned run average of 1.68.
The 12-game stretch has seen seven JSU batters hit better than .300, led by junior Kristin Graham's .472 average. Senior Amanda Crow has made the biggest strides in the month, belting seven of her OVC-best eight home runs and driving in 17 of her league-leading 22 RBI. Graham has also flashed some power recently, connecting on five long balls.
Freshman Hayden Crawford, who hit just .185 in February, her first month of collegiate softball, has gotten hot and is batting .314 in March. The Sparkman, Ala., native is riding a six-game hitting streak that has seen her go 9-for-20 with two homers and seven RBI.
In the circle, freshman Tiffany Harbin has been the workhorse for head coach Jana McGinnis. The Hazel Green, Ala., native boasts a 7-2 record and a 2.33 ERA and picked up all three wins in an OVC-opening sweep at Eastern Kentucky last week. She has struck out 49 batters and walked just eight in 39 innings of work, while the rest of the JSU staff has stepped up behind her.
Senior Ashley Eliasson has a win and a save to go along with her March ERA of 0.72, while Graham and sophomore Hilary Phillips have each thrown seven innings without allowing an earned run this month.
Morehead State is led at the plate by Elizabeth Wagner's .303 average, while Kayla Ashbrook and Amber Riddle each have three home runs to lead the team. In the circle, Ashley Imperial holds a 5-7 record and a 4.66 ERA.
The two teams have met 20 times on the softball diamond before this weekend, with JSU holding a 15-5 advantage in the series. The Gamecocks have taken two games in their series with the Eagles in each of the past two seasons.