Mar. 7—JACKSONVILLE — After scoring 38 runs in the last four games, Jacksonville State finally ran into a pitcher who had the right stuff on the right day to tame the Gamecocks.
JSU fell 6-0 to Southern Mississippi on Saturday. The Gamecocks managed six hits (all singles) and five walks. They put the first runner on base in five innings, but never could score.
Their best shot came in the ninth inning when they loaded the bases with no outs, but after a groundout, a foul out and a fly out, the game was finished, and JSU still had no runs.
Walker Powell (1-0) started for USM and worked seven innings, striking out eight. Aubrey Gillentine followed and threw two shutout innings.
"There were very few real opportunities for us to score, and some of it is I thought the guy threw really well," JSU coach Jim Case said. "He mixed his pitches and threw well. We just didn't have a whole lot of opportunity."
JSU started Dylan Hathcock (1-1), who went 4 1/3 innings. He didn't allow a run until giving up three in the fifth inning when USM managed a triple and four straight singles, including one that hit Hathcock.
A trainer and Case went on the field to check on Hathcock, and Case took him out.
"It hit his hand, then hit his face," Case said. "I was a little bit worried initially, but we don't think there's anything structurally wrong."
Hathcock threw 60 pitches.
"I thought he threw the ball pretty good," Case said. "Obviously, the first four innings were nothing and then in the fifth inning, he had trouble getting his breaking ball over. He's a guy who needs to be able to throw three pitches for a strike."
What to know
—Southern Mississippi coach Scott Berry got his 400th win with Saturday's victory. He is 400-220-1 in 12 years as the Golden Eagles' head coach, with four Conference USA regular-season championships, four C-USA tournament titles and six NCAA tournament berths.
—Case is only two wins away from 600 for his career.
—Jaylen Williams was 2-for-4 for JSU, while Cole Frederick, Tre Kirklin, Zeth Malcom and Nash Adams each had a single.
—Case on the game: "I thought it was a game where there weren't a whole lot of opportunities for anybody early. Then they had a break, and when they did, they really took advantage of it. I'm not sure how many times, but a number of times, we were able to get the leadoff man on, and when we did, we weren't able to move him around."
—Case on Berry getting his 400th win: "Scott has done a great job for a long period of time. Super coach, great friend, good program."
—JSU (5-5) and Southern Mississippi (5-5) will play the final game of the three-game series Sunday at 1 p.m. Each team has won one game in the series. Jacksonville High graduate Colin Casey (1-0) is scheduled to start for the Gamecocks.
Senior Editor Mark Edwards: 256-235-3570. On Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.