COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Jacksonville State softball team scored eight runs on two hits in the first inning and then cruised to a 13-2 mercy-rule win at Tennessee Tech on Thursday in Ohio Valley Conference play.
Sophomore Krystal Ruth capped the big inning with a grand slam that put the Gamecocks (27-10, 12-3 OVC) in the driver's seat against the Golden Eagles (15-15, 6-8 OVC). A native of Wylie, Texas, Ruth went 2-for-4 and was one of three JSU players with multiple hits, while freshman Tiffany Harbin held TTU to just two unearned runs in the win.
Harbin, a native of Hazel Green, Ala., held the Golden Eagles to six hits in five innings in the circle and struck out nine batters in the process. The win improved the freshman to 16-5 on the season.
Sophomore Kelci Johnston and junior Kaycee Crow also notched a pair of hits for the Gamecocks, while junior Abbey Stepp drove in three runs in the win. Crow, a native of Ringgold, Ga., and freshman Hayden Crawford, of Sparkman, Ala., each drove in two runs for JSU.
The Gamecocks jumped out to a big lead in the top of the first, plating eight runs on just a pair of hits. Sophomore Kelci Johnston started the big inning with a one-out single that was followed by four walks and a pair of hit batters by TTU starter Holly Thomas.
Thomas was pulled to give way to Whitney Cummings, but sophomore Krystal Ruth, who led off the inning with a ground out to second, welcomed Cummings into the game with a grand slam that gave JSU an 8-0 advantage.
The Gamecocks tacked on two more in the second, thanks to an RBI double by junior Kaycee Crow and a run-scoring single by freshman Hayden Crawford, while a two-run single by junior Abbey Stepp in the third gave JSU a commanding 12-0 lead.
Jax State got its final run on a fourth-inning error by Tennessee Tech, who used a Brittney Spaulding single to score a pair of unearned runs in the fifth.
The Golden Eagles got half of their offensive output from Melody Christian, who went 3-for-3 with a run scored.
Thomas (10-6) suffered the loss after allowing seven runs on just one hit in two-thirds of an inning. She did walk four and hit two batters before being pulled. Cummings tossed 1.1 innings and allowed five runs on five hits and three walks before Claudia Harke came on to pitch the final three frames. She surrendered an unearned run on four JSU hits.
The Gamecocks will have the weekend off before returning home for a single OVC game against Tennessee State on Tuesday at 4 p.m. Admission is free to all JSU home softball games.