EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Jacksonville State catcher Nic Gaddis connected for a two-run home run in the 10th inning Saturday as the Gamecocks defeated SIUE 11-9 to sweep the three-game series.
The game began with the celebration of eight SIUE seniors and included more than an hour-long rain delay in the top of the eighth inning.
"It makes for a long day," SIUE Head Coach Sean Lyons said of the rain delay.
SIUE finished the season at 15-37 overall and 6-24 in the Ohio Valley Conference. Jacksonville State improved to 30-23 overall. At 18-12 in the OVC, the Gamecocks will play as the No. 4 seed in the OVC Tournament which begins later in the week.
SIUE trailed 9-2 after six innings but rallied for five runs in the seventh and two more in the eighth inning to tie the score.
"I am proud of our guys," Lyons said. "We fell behind 9-2 and they battled back. They never gave up. They kept battling and got it to extra innings. We had some opportunities to win this one. We just couldn't come up with the big hit."
The Gamecocks got out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning thanks to two walks and a three-run homer from Cole Frederick. Trent Simpson singled to drive in a run in the fifth and Clayton Daniel made it 5-0 in the sixth with a sacrifice fly.
Brock Weimer got the Cougars on the board in the sixth with his team-leading eighth home run of the season, a two-run shot to left-center.
JSU scored opened the lead back up with four runs in the top of the 7th inning. Simpson homered to start the inning. Nolan Greckel added a one-out RBI-single and Grant Atkins drove home two with a double to give Jacksonville State a 9-2 lead.
Jordan Ross drove in a run with a single and Brock Hammit added a two-run double in a five-run seventh for SIUE. Jared McCunn walked with the bases loaded and Weimer pulled a single into left field in the eighth to tie the score at 9-9.
Giltz and Weimer both finished with two hits for the Cougars. Senior Brock Fulkerson (2-2) suffered the loss. He allowed the two runs in 1 1/3 innings of work.
Trent Simpson led Jacksonville State with hits and two RBIs. Cole Frederick had three hits. Clayton Daniel had two hits to give him 324 for his career, establishing a new career record for hits in the OVC.
Seven of SIUE's eight seniors played a part in the season finale. Only Nelson Martz, who has battled injuries over the last month of the season, did not appear for SIUE.
Hammit, McCunn and Mario Tursi all were in the Cougars' starting lineup. All three had a hit or an RBI.
'They are the epitome of student-athletes," Lyons said. "Several of them have completed their degrees in four years. Not very many (student-athletes) complete the degree in four years. All of them contributed greatly to the team. We'll have some big shoes to fill next year."
McCunn was the only player to play in all 52 games for the Cougars. He finished the year as the team's leading hitter at .321.
"What a senior year he had," Lyons said of McCunn. "He really caught fire late in the year."