"It was a win we really needed," Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard said. "Coming off a weekend that was rough, we needed a good clean game and win, and that's what we got. We had a good start from Nick Eicholtz, which was really encouraging, and then (Tucker) Hawley was tremendous in the back end of the game, going five innings. It did a couple of things: those kids both pitched well, but it also allowed us to rest guys that threw a lot of pitches over the weekend to keep them fresh going into LSU this upcoming weekend."
Nick Eicholtz (3-1) picked up the win in his seventh start of the season, after holding the Gamecocks to a pair of hits and a walk with a strikeout in four innings. Tucker Hawley picked up his first save of the season, after tossing the final five innings, allowing one run on five hits with three strikeouts. The two combined to allow seven hits with four strikeouts and just one walk in nine innings.
Offensively, the Tide got three-hit performances from both Mikey White and Georgie Salem. White was a home run shy of the cycle, with two runs scored and an RBI, and Salem was 3-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI. Kyle Overstreet drove in two on a home run in the third and Casey Hughston belted a solo shot in the second for the first run of the game. Ben Moore accounted for the final RBI on a sacrifice fly, but had his team-best 13-game hit streak came to an end.
The losing pitcher for the Gamecocks was starter Adam Polk (4-3), who surrendered three runs on four hits and a walk in two innings. Offensively, Jacksonville State got two-hit efforts out of Griff Gordon and Andrew Bishop, as the Gamecocks collected seven total hits.
"On the offensive end, both Mikey (White) and Georgie (Salem) had big nights," Gaspard said. "(Kyle) Overstreet hit the home run, which was big and (Casey) Hughston got us going with a solo shot. It was a good clean game with a lot of good things happening tonight. It was encouraging the way we were able to start the week."
Alabama opened the scoring with a Hughston solo home run in the bottom of the second. In the next inning, White led off with a double and moved to third on a Salem bunt single. Moore drove White in on a sacrifice fly, and two batters later Overstreet followed with a two-run home run to go to the fourth with a 4-0 lead.
After six combined shutout innings from Eicholtz and Hawley, the Gamecocks broke through for a run in the seventh. Stephen Bartlett and Andrew Bishop led off the inning with singles and moved into scoring position on a Josh Bobo groundout. A Gavin Golson groundout allowed Bartlett to score the Gamecocks only run of the night.
Bama answered in the bottom of the inning by scoring twice on an RBI triple to right center by White and a RBI single by Salem. After Daniel Cucjen walked with one out, White followed with his second triple of the season to right center to allow Cucjen to score from second. On the next at-bat, Salem laced a line drive to right field to drive in White for the final run of the game.
The Alabama baseball team travels to Baton Rouge, La., this weekend for a weekend set with the LSU Tigers in the Tide's final road SEC series of the regular season. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. on Friday, 12 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday. The matchups on Saturday and Sunday will be available on CSS.
Alabama Game Notes:
*In a series that dates back to the 1967 season, Alabama boosted its all-time record to 27-7 against Jacksonville State.
*Alabama moved to 20-9 in games played at Sewell-Thomas Stadium this season.
*Alabama is 10-3 in midweek games this season.
*The Tide registered its 28th game this season with 10 hits or more.
*In games he has started (7) this year, Nick Eicholtz is 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA (four earned runs in 32 innings pitched).
*Georgie Salem finished the game 3-for-3 to tie the team lead with 20 multiple-hit games this season.
* Salem has recorded three or more hits in six games this season. He now has 38 multiple-hit outings for his career.
*Mikey White went 3-for-4 to pick up his sixth game of the season with three or more hits.
*The three-hit outing for White was his 14th multiple-hit game of the season and the 33rd of his career.
*By way of a two-run home run in the third inning, Kyle Overstreet recorded his seventh multiple-RBI game of the season and the 15th of his career.
*Austen Smith tallied a pair of singles to put together his 13th multiple-hit game of the season and the 52nd of his career.
*Wade Wass singled in the sixth inning to extend his hitting streak to five games.