The Gamecocks swept the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (7-4) over the weekend to improve to 6-4 on the season.

No lead was safe over the weekend, but the series would be defined by walk off hits.

Tyler Gamble was the x-factor for the Gamecocks on Friday. Gamble’s walk-off hit allowed JSU to come out on top 5-4. On Saturday, it was Taylor Hawthorne, who hit the game winner for Jacksonville State, 8-7.

Sunday’s honors went to Paschal Petrongolo who managed to hit a three-run home run in the sixth to secure the Gamecock victory.

JSU managed to take a early lead in the first when Elliot McCummings was able to score Gamble and Petrongolo off of a doubled to center field. WKU wasted no time in tying the game back up in the second inning.

The Hilltoppers’ Paul Murray doubled to center field that would have allowed Kaleb Duckworth to
advance third base.

However, Duckworth was able to score unearned on a throwing error by Jacksonville State.

Murray tied the game at two runs apiece with help form a Hunter Wood sacrifice. The Holltoppers’ kept their momentum going into the third. An RBI double by Danny Hudzina allowed WKU to take their first lead of the day. Hudzina was able to bring the score to four-runs to two thanks to a sacrifice fly by Murray. The Gamecocks were not out of contention, though.

Gavin Golsan was able to cross home plate on a throwing error by the WKU shortstop, bringing Jax State within one run of the Hilltoppers.

A quiet forth inning lead into a productive fifth inning for Jacksonville State.

Clayton Daniel sacrificed himself to right field, allowing Nicholas Gaddis to cross the plate, and advancing Golsan to third.

Golsan then made the 90-foot journey to home plate thanks to a single by Petrongolo, giving the Gamecocks
the lead once again.

The sixth inning was the deciding factor for both teams. WKU used their half inning to give JSU more trouble. Steven DiPuglia tied the game at five, thanks to a throwing error by Jacksonville State.

Brandon Pollock was able to retake the lead for the Hilltoppers, thanks to a Thomas Peter sacrifice.

Duckworth batted in Zach Janes for an insurance run for WKU. The Gamecocks stepped into their half inning down two runs. Luckily, Daniel managed to single to left field. This allowed Josh Bobo to score, and move Gaddis into scoring position.

Petrongolo’s three-run home run secured the 9-7 victory, and the first sweep of the season for Jax State.

The Gamecocks travel to Edwardsville, Ill. to start conference play against SIUE.

Jax State will play a Friday, Saturday and Sunday series against the Cougars before returning home to play the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles on March 15.

Timothy Cash
Sports Editor

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