AUBURN – Ben Waldrip and Kyle Bluestein each homered and Todd Hornsby became the Ohio Valley Conference's all-time saves leader as Jacksonville State claimed an 8-7 win over Auburn at Plainsman Park on Tuesday evening.
Hornsby picked up his 12 save of the season after allowing just one hit over the final two innings to earn his 32nd career save to pass Eastern Kentucky's Joe Witten (1995-98) total of 31 career saves. Casey Antley (2-2) picked up the win after allowing just three hits in three innings on the mound for the Gamecocks. Cory Luckie (2-1) got stuck with the loss after giving up eight hits and four runs in three innings for Auburn.
It marked the second straight win by Jax State (24-27) over Auburn, and it was just the second non-conference loss of the year for Auburn.
The Tigers (29-24) took an early 2-0 lead after Ryan Tella hit a two-run home run in the first inning, but the Gamecocks took the lead for good in the fourth inning.
Waldrip and Bluestein hit back-to-back home runs to lead off the fourth inning to tie the game at 2-2, as Waldrip slugged his 16th of the season and Bluestein hit his ninth of the year.
Erik Underwood and Cal Lambert then each followed with singles and Andrew Bishop then reached on an Auburn error to load the bases. Michael Bishop then drew a bases loaded walk to give JSU a 3-2 lead, before Lambert scored on an infield grounder as the Gamecocks took a 4-2 lead.
Jax State extended the lead in the fifth inning after Erik Underwood had a RBI single and then later scored on Auburn's second error of the night as the Gamecocks took a 6-2 lead.
Blake Austin led off the fifth inning with a solo home run to cut the lead to 6-3, but Jax State answered in the seventh inning.
Sam Eberle led off wihta double and Waldrip singled to left center to score Eberle, before Lambert had a single to right field to score Waldrip and give the Gamecocks an 8-3 lead.
The Tigers closed the margin in the home half of the seventh after scoring four runs – all with two outs – to cut the lead to 8-7.
Auburn made one final rally in the ninth inning after loading the bases with two outs, but Hornsby got Justin Bryant to ground out to end the game.
Erik Underwood and Waldrip each had three hits to lead the Gamecocks, while Lambert had two hits. Creede Simpson and Tella each had three hits for Auburn, while Jay Gonzalez had two hits.
Jacksonville State will play its final regular-season finale this weekend with a three-game OVC series against Eastern Illinois at Rudy Abbott Field. The Thursday and Friday games both begin at 6:30 p.m., while Saturday's finale begins at 2 p.m.