Softball falls to Jacksonville State, 5-0
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A three-run homer by Kristin Graham in the first inning gave Jacksonville State all the offense it needed to down the JU softball team, 5-0, on Sunday afternoon in the JU Invitational at the JU Softball Complex.

Along with the home run, the Gamecocks (5-4) got a run from a Dolphins’ (6-4) error and an RBI double by Sallie Beth Burch in the fifth inning. Tiffany Harbin (7-5) pitched five shutout innings for Jacksonville State to get the win in the circle.

“We battled but just got beat today,” said JU head coach Amanda Lehotak. “They took advantage of our mistakes. Overall, I am happy with how we performed this first week. I saw a lot of positives that we can build on as the season progresses.”

Junior Kayla Ouellet led the Dolphins offensively with two hits. Junior Sarah Sigrest (3-1) suffered her first loss after allowing three runs, two earned, on three hits in three innings. Junior Brittany Eppley allowed a two runs, one earned, in a relief inning, while sophomore Olivia Kline pitched two scoreless frames to close out the contest.

Jacksonville State’s Tyris Branford led off the game with a walk before moving to second on an error by Sigrest. After a sacrifice bunt, Graham cleared the bases with a home run to left center field for the 3-0 advantage.

In the bottom of the first inning, freshman Jacey Warner reached on a one-out error, while sophomore Sarah Simon walked. Following a pop out, junior Amanda Schmidt walked to load the bases, but Harbin got senior Katie Kelly to fly out to center field to end the inning.

Ouellet and Warner each had consecutive singles to start the third inning for the Dolphins. With one out, Ouellet advanced to third on a wild pitch and Warner moved to second on a ground out by freshman Karson Tuck. Harbin worked out of the jam again by getting Schmidt to fly out to the shortstop in foul territory.

The Gamecocks made it 4-0 in the fourth inning by scoring on a two out, base-loaded error by JU, while Burch doubled home Abbey Stepp in the fifth after her leadoff triple to center field.

In the sixth inning, the Dolphins got consecutive singles by Simon and Tuck. Harbin was relieved by Ashley Eliasson, who induced three straight put outs at third base to quash the threat. Eliasson pitched a scoreless seventh inning to secure the victory.

The Dolphins close out the 12-game opening home stand with a doubleheader against South Dakota State at the JU Softball Complex. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.