By ASHLEY OWENS
Eastern’s softball team will enter the OVC Tournament as a No. 5 seed after dropping a three-game series against Jacksonville State University on May 2 and 3.
The Colonels went 0-3 in the series after the Jacksonville State Gamecocks (30-27, 11-11 OVC) capitalized on major hitting to sweep the weekend.
Game One: Eastern 1 vs.
Though Eastern put the first run on the board and led for over five innings, the Gamecocks made a last-inning rally to win 2-1.
Freshman Sarah Jackson sparked the game in the first inning with a lead-off home run over left center for the Colonels. The run kept the Colonels in the lead for the majority of the game until the Gamecocks made a comeback in the bottom of the final inning.
Jacksonville batters hit back-to-back singles in the seventh inning, as well as a run to tie the game. The Gamecocks then ended the game on a sacrifice fly to center field to score one last run.
Game Two: Eastern 2 vs.
The Colonels were forced into a walk-off, mercy rule loss in the second game of the series as the Gamecocks went on to win 10-2.
Once again, Eastern started with the first run when freshman Paige Murphy hit an RBI single to take a 1-0 lead. Jacksonville retaliated, however, with four runs in the next inning. The Gamecocks had an RBI single plus a two-run home run to take the lead by three.
Jacksonville then jumped ahead by four in the fourth inning with a bases-loaded walk. Another Gamecock two-run homer in the fifth inning put the Colonels behind by six.
Junior Sarah Fobbs put another run on the board for Eastern after hitting her eighth home run of the season in the sixth inning, but Jacksonville added three more runs after a home run and two RBI singles to move past the Colonels for good.
Jacksonville’s Whitney Gillespie held the Colonels to just two runs, struck out four Eastern batters and recorded zero walks.
Game Three: Eastern 0 vs.
The final game of the series lasted only five innings as the Colonels put up zero runs against Jacksonville’s nine runs.
In the first inning alone, the Gamecocks moved five runs across the plate. Jacksonville’s Melanie Steer started the runs off with a grand slam. Jacksonville then added three more runs in the second inning with a solo homer and two-run double to move ahead by eight.
An Eastern error scored another Jacksonville run and put the game completely out of Eastern’s reach.
The Colonels finished the regular season with a 23-26, 13-10 OVC record. Eastern entered the OVC Tournament in the No. 5 seed and played No. 4 seed Tennessee Tech University in the first round of the tournament, which began May 6 at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s field. Game coverage of the Colonels will be at easternprogress.com.