JACKSONVILLE – Sophomore Kelci Johnston homered twice and freshman Tiffany Harbin struck out 12 batters to lead the Jacksonville State softball team to a 9-1 mercy-rule win over Tennessee State on Tuesday.
Johnston, a native of Northport, Ala., blasted a two-run homer in the first and a solo shot in the third to account for her third two-homer game of the year and the fourth of her career. She becomes just the second player in school history to record four multi-home run games, joining Daniela Pappano, who achieved the feat five times.
The Gamecocks (28-10, 13-3 Ohio Valley Conference) rattled off 12 hits on a day that Harbin didn't need a lot of support. The Hazel Green, Ala., native surrendered just two hits in her OVC-leading 17th win of the season, while notching double digits in the strikeout column for the fifth time. She struck out the side in the first three innings and allowed just one runner past second. Tigers (10-34, 4-17 OVC) didn't record a hit until the fourth and their first 10 outs came via strike outs.
Sophomore Krystal Ruth went 3-for-4 with a pair of singles, a double, two runs scored and an RBI, while senior Amanda Crow belted her 12th home run of the year in the fourth inning. The Sharpsburg, Ga., native moved into a tie with teammate Kristin Graham for the OVC lead in round trippers and drove in three in a 2-for-3 afternoon.
Junior Kaycee Crow also went 2-for-3, doubling and scoring the mercy-rule clinching run in the fifth.
The Tigers' Kelly Troglin singled in the fourth, while Olivia Gamache connected on a solo home run in the fifth to account for their offense.
Troglin suffered the loss in the circle after surrendering eight runs, seven earned, on 10 hits in 3.1 innings of work. Gamache tossed the final frame and allowed one run on two hits in the process.
The Gamecocks will be at home on Thursday, when they host UAB for a single game at 6 p.m. Admission is free.