GRAND DAME: Nowakowski's grand slam helps lift JSU in ASUN tourney opener

May 10—Redshirt freshman Morgan Nowakowski slugged a grand slam in the sixth inning to help lift Jacksonville State to a 10-4 win over Austin Peay in the ASUN Conference softball tournament.

Playing on the campus of Stetson, which was eliminated Tuesday on the first day of the event, third-seeded JSU and seventh-seeded Austin Peay entered the sixth tied 4-4. The Gamecocks then broke out for six runs in the bottom half of the inning. Lindsey Richardson singled home Emma Jones, and with Brantly Bonds, pinch-runner Ella Pate and Lauren Hunt on base, Nowakowski cranked one over the right field fence to make it 9-4. Linley Tubbs followed with a solo homer to right to make it 10-4.

Wearing blue and purple ribbons in support of JSU head coach Jana McGinnis' daughter, Kinsey Lane McGinnis, who passed away Sunday, JSU improved to 31-20.

The Gamecocks will play again Wednesday at 9 a.m. in the double-elimination tournament against second-seeded Liberty (37-18), which got a bye through the first and second rounds.

What to know

—JSU has beaten Austin Peay in four of its last five conference tournaments including the 2018, 2019 and 2021 Ohio Valley Conference tournaments.

—Nowakowski went 2-for-3 with the grand slam, four RBIs and a hit-by-pitch. In the last 11 games, she has gone 14-for-33 with five walks. Her batting average has gone from .280 to .322.

—Jones was 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI. She has a nine-game hitting streak and is 9-for-14 in her last four games. She is now hitting .314, which is her best since she was at .385 four games into the season.

—Lindsey Richardson, a first-team all-ASUN performer, went 2-for-3 with a walk and two RBIs. Holly Stewart was 2-for-4.

—Tubbs was 1-for-3 with the home run, a sacrifice fly and two RBIs. Her seven homers this season are second on the team to Richardson's eight.

—Lauren Hunt went 1-for-4 with two runs and a walk. Her best contribution came in the top of the first inning when she robbed Austin Peay's Macee Roberts of a home run. Racing back, she reached above the fence and caught the ball, stopping a sure homer.

Next up

—JSU and Liberty have not played each other this year, but the Gamecocks are familiar with Flame first baseman Megan Fortner, a third-team all-ASUN player. Fortner spent the previous three seasons at JSU. She is hitting .300 with eight homers and 28 RBIs.

Senior Editor Mark Edwards: 256-235-3570. On Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.