Johnston, Harbin help pace JSU win in OVC tourney
by Star staff
May 08, 2013 | 2421 views |  0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CHARLESTON, Ill. – Kelci Johnston homered and drove in three runs as Jacksonville State beat Eastern Kentucky 5-3 in its Ohio Valley Conference tournament opener Wednesday.

The sixth-seeded Gamecocks (27-25) answered a three-run fourth from the third-seeded Colonels (34-19) with a three-run rally in the sixth and advanced into the winners' bracket of the eight-team double-elimination tournament. JSU will play Thursday at 12:30 p.m. against the winner of Wednesday's game between No. 2 SIU Edwardsville and No. 7 Tennessee Tech.

Winning pitcher Tiffany Harbin (14-13) struck out nine batters by shutting down one of the league's top offenses. She allowed two earned runs on six hits in her 16th complete game of the season. She now has 56 victories in her career and is tied with Ashley Eliasson for seocnd in school history. Her nine strikeouts bring her career total to 675, which is the most in JSU history. She had a stretch of six strikeouts at one point in the game.

Johnston went 2-for-4 with a two-run double in the third and a solo homer in the sixth that erased a 3-2 EKU lead and tied the game. JSU used the momentum from Johnston's tying homer to start a two-out game-winning rally in the sixth. Hayden Crawford ripped her second single of the day to left field, setting the stage for back-to-back run-scoring doubles from Ella Denes and Krystal Ruth

Harbin held on from that point allowing just one baserunner over the final two innings to advance the Gamecocks into the second round.
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