JACKSON, Miss. – Dominant pitching was the name of the game Saturday as Jacksonville University (2-1) won twice in the second day of the Jackson State Invitational. Chris Gau pitched six innings of scoreless work with eight strikeouts in the Dolphins' 7-1 victory over Jackson State (1-1), and freshman Mark Potter contributed six innings to a 6-0 shutout of Morehead State (1-2).
"Our players responded well today," said Head Coach Chris Hayes. "It all starts with that guy on the mound. Chris Gau set the tone for the day with a dominant six innings, giving our hitters a chance put some runs on the board. Overall, very happy with how we executed and competed today.
Game One vs. Jackson State:
The Dolphins rebounded from their 5-2 loss to Morehead State on Friday with Gau's dominance and significantly improved hitting. Instead of going three innings without a hit as they did on Friday, Nathan Koslowski smacked a double deep into right field to leadoff the first. JU put its first run across in the second on a single by Chris Lehane that scored Mike Cassala.
The game remained a pitching battle through the first five innings; Gau and Jackson State's Jordan Bolden allowed just one run and eight hits between them through five and a third before Bolden started to lose command and beaned Angel Camacho. He was pulled for Seberon Mackey, who allowed Connor Stephens to score on a wild pitch and then walked Mike Cassala. Scott Dubrule singled to right to drive Camacho home, and then Dubrule was caught in a fielder's choice to end the Dolphin threat. Gau wrapped his portion of the sixth with a 1-2-3 inning, and after six JU led 3-0.
A leadoff single from Ruben Someillan and another single from Koslowski that drove in Someillan ran Mackey in favor of Marcus Young, but that didn't stop the bleeding. Camacho singled home Koslowski after a wild pitch put him on third, and Sam Armstrong snagged the first Dolphin triple of the year to score Camacho. Armstrong then got home on a passed ball before Young was replaced by Francisco Cervantes, who closed the inning with a strikeout and a groundout.
Spencer Stockton came in for Gau in the bottom of the seventh, and sat down all three Tigers he faced. After seven JU led 7-0.
The Tigers were almost shut out, but a single by Bryce Brown got him on with one out. Brown then stole second, and got to third on defensive indifference. He scored on a sac fly to left field, and Stockton forced another fly out to end the inning and get the save. The final: JU 7, Jackson State 1
Game Two vs. Morehead State
Freshman Phenom Potter made his Dolphin debut in the final game of the weekend, and dominated from the get-go. He allowed just two hits in six innings of work.
JU opened the scoring in the top of the second with a single from John Cassala that put Armstrong and Camacho across. The Dolphins struck again in the top of the fourth with a second RBI single from John Cassala that scored Seth DeWitt, and then Cassala got home on an RBI double from Franco Guardascione. The final two runs came in the seventh on a single from Camacho that scored Koslowski and Guardascione.
Nathan Disch relieved Potter in the bottom of the seventh and pitched two and one thirds innings of hitless baseball, and Matt Meyer took the final two-thirds of the ninth to close the shutout. The final: JU 6, Morehead State 1
"Mark Potter was outstanding in his first collegiate start," said Hayes. "He equaled Gau's six innings and offensively, we began to stack some really good at bats on top of each other. John Cassala, Franco and Camacho all came up with big hits in critical moments."