CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – Jacksonville State’s Paschal Petrongolo drove in the game-winning run in the top of the ninth inning to lead the Gamecocks to a 9-8 come-from-behind win over Southeast Missouri State in the opening game of a three-game Ohio Valley Conference series on Friday.
Jax State improves to 23-19 and 15-4 in the league to remain tied for first place, while SEMO falls to 20-23 and 12-10 in the conference. JSU improves to 7-1 in 1-run games against OVC opponents and has won five straight 1-run games versus conference foes.
With the game tied at 8-8 headed to the ninth inning, Coty Blanchard reached on a one-out single off SEMO ace reliever Bobby Hurst, who had not allowed an earned run in OVC play. Blanchard then stole second and scored when Petrongolo singled up the middle and give the Gamecocks the lead.
Jax State then brought in reliver Travis Stout, who recorded the final three outs, including two strikeouts, to pick up his 13th save of the season. Cody Ponder (3-1) only threw two pitches in relief, but picked up the win for the Gamecocks. Hurst (2-1) got stuck with the loss for the Redhawks after giving up his first earned run since February 24 against North Dakota State.
Southeast jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the second inning, highlighted by a two-run home run by Branden Boggetto, but the Gamecocks answered in the third inning to take their first lead of the game.
Gavin Golsan had a one-out single and moved to third when Michael Bishop doubled to right center. Golsan scored on Adam Miller’s ground out to cut the lead to 3-1. Griff Gordon then reached on a SEMO error, which allowed Bishop to score to slice the lead to 3-2.
Blanchard then doubled down the left field line to score Griffin and Eddie Mora-Loera followed with a single to right field to score Blanchard and give the Gamecocks a 4-3 lead.
The Redhawks responded in the fifth inning by scoring five runs to build an 8-4 lead as Andy Lennington, Nolan Fisher, Clayton Evans each drove in a run, and Alex Burridge delivered a two-out single to score to more runs for Southeast.
Jax State battled to tie the game in the seventh inning after Gordon drove in his second run of the game with an infield single, before Andrew Bishop drove in two runs with a single to left field and Petrongolo followed with a pinch-hit RBI single to make the score 8-8.
Blanchard led the Gamecocks with three hits, while Gordon, Mora-Loera, Petronglo and Michael Bishop each added two hits to lead JSU’s 15-hit attack. Gordon extended his hitting streak to a season-long 11 games, while Blanchard has now hit safely in 10 straight and reached base in 19 straight games.
The two teams will play the middle game of the three-game series on Saturday at 5 p.m. as Taylor Shields (6-2, 3.60 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound for the Gamecocks. The game can be heard on the JSU Radio Network and live stats are available at JSUGamecockSports.com.