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Harbin tossed a no-hitter to start the day for the Jacksonville State
softball team and set the tone for a dominant day in the circle and a
doubleheader sweep of Tennessee State in the Ohio Valley Conference opener for
Harbin allowed just three baserunners in throwing the fourth no-no of her career to lift the Gamecocks (15-10, 2-0 OVC) to an 8-0 win in the first game of the day and then Hilary Phillips allowed just one unearned run to the Tigers (9-18, 0-2 OVC) in a complete-game 5-1 win in the day's finale.
Harbin, a native of Hazel Green, Ala., didn't allow a ball out of the infield until a pair of fourth-inning fly outs and saw just three balls get past the infield in the game. She tossed her second shutout of the season in her seventh complete game. She struck out four and walked three to improve to 8-4 on the year and led JSU to a win in its conference opener for the third-straight year and the seventh time in its nine years in the OVC.
She got plenty of offense in the win and got it early. The Gamecocks staked her to a 5-0 lead in the first, an inning that saw them double three times. Junior Kalee Tabor got it started with a two-run single, and the senior Kelci Johnston followed with a two-run double that set up an RBI double from freshman Cadi Oliver. Sophomore Sara Borders also doubled and scored in the inning.
Oliver and Borders used those first inning doubles to spark big days at the plate for JSU. Oliver, a native of Sumiton, Ala., went 4-for-6 with a home run on the day, while Borders, a native of Alexandria, Ala., doubled twice in her 4-for-7 afternoon.
The Gamecocks grabbed two more runs in the third on a two-run single from Ruth, an inning that was set up by a leadoff hit by Oliver. Johnston drove in the eighth and final run of the game in the sixth with a sac fly that plated Borders and ended the game via the mercy rule.
Olivia Gamache (3-9) suffered the loss for TSU in the first game after allowing eight runs on 11 hits in 5.2 innings in the circle. She struck out three and walked three.
Oliver went 3-for-3 at the plate in the first game.
In the nightcap, JSU got to TSU ace Shea Morris in the second inning with a three-run frame that was sparked by a leadoff home run from Oliver. The freshman's third home run of the year came on a 1-2 pitch after she fouled off three-straight pitches before bouncing one off of the bottom of the scoreboard beyond the left field wall.
The Tigers then committed a pair of errors in the field that allowed two more runs to score, the last on Borders' second double of the day.
Two more scored in the fourth after sophomore Savannah Sloan drew a bases loaded hit by pitch, setting up a ground ball from Johnston that scored another to give Phillips a 5-0 lead.
Phillips struck out five TSU batters in her first complete game of the season, one that saw her allow one unearned run on five hits in seven innings. She did walk three and hit a batter in improving to 4-2 on the year.
Morris (6-9) was tagged with the loss for TSU and left the game with two outs in the sixth after being checked on by the team trainer. She gave up five runs on seven hits in 5.2 innings, while striking out three and walking three.
The two teams will wrap up the three-game series on Sunday at 1 p.m. at University Field.