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Jags sweep Jax St. with 8-7 win

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MOBILE, Ala. - Seven Jaguar hitters recorded at least one hit in the No. 22 University of South Alabama baseball team's 8-7 win over Jacksonville State Wednesday at Stanky Field.

Carter Perkins went 2-for-4 with one RBI, and Travis Swaggerty finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored and one stolen base to lead the Jaguars at the plate. Cole Billingsley added one hit, three RBI, one run scored and one stolen base, and Danny Martinez finished with one hit, two RBI and two runs scored. Jared Barnes added one hit and one RBI.

JSU (28-17) took a three-run lead in the top of the first. The Gamecocks loaded the bases with two outs in the inning on two hit by pitches and a walk from Jaguar starter Ryne Long. Clayton Daniel reached on a hit by pitch with one out, Tyler Gamble drew a two-out walk and Elliot McCummings reached on hit by pitch with two outs. Long then issued a two-out walk to Paschal Petrongolo that scored Daniel for a 1-0 Gamecock lead. Josh Bobo followed with a two-out, two-run single to right-center field to extend the JSU lead to 3-0.

USA answered with three runs to tie the game in the bottom of the first. Swaggerty led off the inning with a single to right field, and advanced to third on a two-base fielding error by McCummings in right field. Billingsley followed with an RBI groundout to shortstop to plate Swaggerty and cut the JSU lead to 3-1. Drew LaBounty reached on a single to left field then stole second before Martinez drew a walk. Perkins followed with an RBI single through the right side of the infield to score LaBounty from second and cut the Jaguar deficit to one run. Brendan Donovan then reached on a fielder's choice to first, and a throwing error by JSU shortstop Taylor Hawthorne attempting to complete the double play at first allowed Martinez to score on the play and tie the game 3-3.

South Alabama (35-12) followed with five runs in the bottom of the second to take a five-run lead. Adam Wolfe reached on a hit by pitch with one out, and advanced to second when Swaggerty reached on a fielding error by Gamble at first base. A double steal moved both runners into scoring position with one out before Billingsley delivered a two-run single to center field to score Wolfe and Swaggerty for a 5-3 Jaguar lead. Billingsley then stole third and LaBounty drew a walk to put runners at the corners with one out. LaBounty moved to second on a wild pitch before a two-run single through the right side of the infield by Martinez pushed the USA lead to 7-3. A single by Perkins put runners at the corners with one out, and Donovan followed with a hit by pitch to load the bases. Barnes then delivered a sacrifice fly to left field to score Martinez for an 8-3 advantage.

The Gamecocks responded with three runs in the top of the third to cut their deficit to two. Petrongolo drew a one-out walk, and moved to second on a single to right field by Bobo. Peyton Williams then doubled to left-center field to score Petrongolo and cut the USA lead in half. Gavin Golsan followed with a two-out, two-run single to center field to cut the Jaguar lead to 8-6.

JSU pushed the game's final run across in the top of the fourth. Hawthorne drew a leadoff walk, and moved to third on a single to left field by McCummings to put runners at the corners with one out. Petrongolo followed with a sacrifice fly to center field to score Hawthorne and cut the USA lead to 8-7.

USA right-hander Avery Geyer (1-0) tossed three scoreless innings, and allowed two hits and issued one walk to earn his first career win. Jaguar left-hander Shane McKinley tossed two scoreless innings, and allowed one hit with one strikeout and one walk to record his seventh save of the season. JSU right-hander Colton Pate (2-3) allowed four runs on three hits with a pair of strikeouts and one walk in 1 1/3 innings in the loss.

"I felt as though the first team to settle the game down would have a chance to win," USA head coach Mark Calvi said. "We settled it down with (Avery) Geyer, and luckily we had a big enough lead early on. Geyer was fantastic out of the bullpen today, as was Shane McKinley, and that was the difference in the ballgame. We did enough early and good enough out of the bullpen the last five innings to hang on and win against a very good team."

USA will return to action this weekend when it hosts Georgia Southern in a three-game Sun Belt Conference series, with game one scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. first pitch on Friday.

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