Tigers set to host Jacksonville State

In it's inaugural year in the Ohio Valley Conference, Jacksonville State is picked to sit atop the league as the Gamecocks grabbed five first place votes in the preseason coach's poll. <br><br> Jacksonville State, which finished the 2003 campaign tied for third in the Atlantic Sun Conference (32-26 overall, 19-14 A-Sun), will be returns six starters and five pitchers. Among the top returnees is outfielder Matt Ruckdeschel (Sr./Power Springs, Ga.).

Ruckdeschel posted a .328 batting average with 60 hits and 29 runs batted in last year. Infielder Clint Carroll (Jr./Tuscaloosa, Ala.) finished the 2003 season with a .344 batting average, 32 hits and 11 RBI. Pitcher C.R. Palmer (Sr./Douglasville, Ga.) went 7-5 with a 4.67 ERA in 79.0 innings of work and ranked third on the squad with 60 strikeouts in 2003.


The Gamecocks open the season Wednesday at Alabama before heading to Baton Rouge continuing it SEC swing.


Head coach Jim Case is in his third season at Jacksonville State having served as an assistant in extensive roles at UAB and Mississippi State. Case is 55-57 in two seasons in Jacksonville compiling a two year conference record of 28-34. A year ago, the Gamecocks went 32-29, with a 19-14 league mark.


JSU finished third in the regular season in the Atlantic Sun Conference in 2003, which was the best finish by the Gamecocks since the A-Sun began the format. The 32 wins marked the 21st time that Jax State had recorded 30 or more wins in a season.




Friday, February 20 at Baton Rouge - 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, February 21 at Baton Rouge - 2 p.m.

Sunday, February 22 at Baton Rouge - Noon 


Location: Jacksonville, Ala.

Enrollment: 9,067

Nickname: Gamecocks 

Colors: Red and White

Conference: Ohio Valley 

President: Dr. William A. Meehan (Alabama, 1977)

Athletic Director: Jim Fuller

Home Park (Capacity): Rudy Abbott Field (1,500)

Head Coach: Jim Case (Louisiana Tech, 1983)

Record at JSU: 55-57 (.491/2 years)

Career Record: 55-57 (.491/2 years)

Assistant Coaches: Steve Gillispie (Fort Hays State, 1988)

Matt Ishee (Mississippi State, 1999)

2003 Record: 32-26

Atlantic Sun Record (Finish): 19-14 (tied for 3rd)

Post Season: 1-2 at Atlantic Sun Tournament

Series Record vs. LSU: First Meeting

Smoke Laval vs. JSU:

Jim Case vs. LSU: 0-0

Final Rankings: Not Ranked

Lettermen Returning/Lost: 16/11

Position Starters Returning/Lost: 6/3

Pitchers Returning/Lost: 5/8


Top Returning Position Players:

Sr. OF Matt Ruckdeschel (.328, 0 HR, 30 RBI);

Jr. 1B/3B Clint Carroll (.344, 0 HR, 17 RBI); Jr. 1B Brian Haskins (.309, 3 HR, 21 RBI)


Top Returning Pitchers:

Sr. RH C.R. Palmer (7-5, 4.67); Soph. RH Josh Forrest (3-1, 2.39, 6 SV);

Sr. RH Bobby Wynns (2-2, 5.56, 5 SV)


Top Newcomers:

Fr. RHP Brett Harris; Fr. SS Jake Ball; Fr. RHP Jon Clements

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