Gamecocks power past Salukis in series opener

By Thomas Donley, @TDonleyDE

Jacksonville State baseball’s offense was on display Friday, as it torched Southern Illinois 9-5.

SIU (15-10-1) outhit the Gamecocks (18-7) 10-9, but five of Jacksonville State’s hits went for extra bases, as opposed to one for SIU.

“I thought our strike zone awareness today was not good,” coach Ken Henderson said. “We swung at some balls we shouldn’t have and got ourselves out, and that was the difference. They’re a good ball club. When we made mistakes, they hit it and didn’t get themselves out.” 

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Junior left-hander Joey Marciano pitched into the eighth inning, but ran out of energy there; giving up home runs on his final two pitches of the day.

Senior designated hitter Paschal Petrongolo and senior first baseman Tyler Gamble chased Marciano with solo shots that the Saluki outfield barely pursued. Petrongolo’s was his second long ball of the game, following a two-run jack in the fifth.

The Gamecocks sent 10 men to the plate and scored two more runs before the end of the eighth, extending their lead to 9-3.

The Dawgs left 12 men on base, while the Gamecocks stranded five.

“They were a better baseball team than us today,” Henderson said. “They weren’t any more talented, but they were a better baseball team. They didn’t make mistakes. We made a lot of mistakes.” 

Marciano (2-3, 3.79 ERA) gave up seven runs, six earned, on seven hits, two walks and four strikeouts.

Senior righty Graham Officer (4-1, 3.65 ERA) earned the win, throwing six innings and allowing three runs, two earned, on seven hits and one walk.

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Petrongolo and SIU sophomore second baseman Connor Kopach finished with a game-high three hits. Petrongolo and senior right fielder Elliot McCummings drove in three runs apiece for the Gamecocks.

SIU struck out a season-low one time in 35 at-bats.

Junior right-hander Chad Whitmer will toe the rubber for the Salukis at 2 p.m. Saturday at Itchy Jones Stadium.

Thomas Donley can be reached at [email protected] or at 618-536-3307

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