OXFORD, Ala. – A day after a record-setting offensive performance fueled Jacksonville University baseball to a road series win, two-out hitting and clutch pitching locked down a series sweep of Jacksonville State Sunday afternoon.
JU (16-9) beat JSU (12-9) in the final game of the weekend, 4-1, at Choccolocco Park, a big road performance to set the table for ASUN Conference play next weekend.
"We knew they [JSU] were going to come out and play really hard today," said Head Coach Chris Hayes. "For us to get a lead was huge, and then for Austin to give us five really strong innings made this game manageable for us."
For the third game in a row, the Dolphins opened the scoring for the first, plating one on an RBI single from Chris Lehane after Ruben Someillan singled with two-outs in the third. JU made it 2-0 in the fourth when Scott Dubrule, Angel Camacho and Sam Armstrong all singled to lead off the inning, the latter driving in a run. The Dolphins tacked on one more in the fifth to make it 3-0 when Duncan Hunter led off the inning with a single, stole second, went to third on the ensuing throwing error from the JSU catcher, and came home on Dubrule's single to right.
Freshman RHP Austin Temple (2-0) made his second straight Sunday start, and turned in his best performance as a Dolphin. Tying a career-high with six strikeouts in a career-best five innings, he allowed only one run and three hits.
"Command, changing location, changing speeds and staying ahead in the count for most of the game allowed him to be successful," said Hayes.
After a solo home run for the Gamecocks in the fifth, JU's Trent Palmer relieved Temple in the sixth, and pitched two innings of scoreless relief, including allowing two baserunners to reach to start the seventh, before striking out two to end the frame.
The Dolphins tacked on one in the eighth, coming through with two-outs again, this time on a Jacob Southern single to right to plate Dubrule and make it 4-1.
The sweep was JU's first on the road since taking all-three at NJIT last April, and first in non-conference play since 2011. It is also the first time since that season, the last that ended in a Regional berth, that the Dolphins took five of its first six series of the year.
"I think we finished on a good note," said Hayes. "I'm excited to see how we react this Thursday night."
Jacksonville opens up ASUN Conference play at John Sessions Stadium against North Florida on Thursday at 7 p.m.