It was not at its best Saturday.
The Gamecocks made four infield errors – and could’ve been charged with a few more – leading to three late-inning unearned runs in a 10-3 loss to Valparaiso that evened their weekend series at Rudy Abbott Field. The two teams will play the final game of their series today at 1 p.m.
They are now 3-2 on the season and their play in the field has had as much to do with it as anything. They’ve committed only one error in their three victories, but have seven in their two losses.
“When you’re giving extra outs, whether it be errors, walks, hit batters, when you’re giving them extra bases, the other team is going to take advantage of it most times – and they did,” Case said. “I felt like last night (a clean 10-0 rout) we beat them pretty good. I thought they were a way better team than what we saw from what we heard, and they proved it today.”
The Crusaders (3-2) managed only three singles against JSU in the series opener, but had 15 Saturday with eight of their starters collecting at least one. The top four hitters in their lineup went 10 for 20 with eight RBIs.
The Gamecocks did have 10 hits in the game, but never had control of it. They fell behind 3-0 after two innings and never caught up.
They cut their deficit to 3-1 in the fourth on Attalla freshman Josh Bobo’s RBI single – his first college hit -- but the Crusaders pulled away with seven in the seventh and eighth innings when two of JSU’s miscues created the most havoc.
The two errors -- misplaying a sacrifice bunt and later failing to catch a potential double-play relay -- loaded the bases opening the door for big innings.
“Defensively it was obviously rough after last night,” third baseman Ryan Sebra said. “It was a little upsetting to come out here (and play that way). We’re definitely a better team than that. I’m sure we’re not going to have many games this year where we’re putting up that many errors.
“As the season goes on and the more reps and ground balls you get, we’re going to clean it up.”
Sebra, Daniel Gaither and Andrew Bishop all had two hits for the Gamecocks. Stephen Bartlett delivered a two-run double in the ninth.
Spencer Mahoney and Karch Kowalczyk had three hits apiece for Valparaiso. Kowalczyk drove in five runs with a three-run double in the seventh and a two-run single in the eighth.
Five of the Crusaders’ runs came with two outs -- including each of their first three -- and six were scored after JSU had made an error.
“I think we’re a better defensive team than we showed, by far,” Case said. “I think we’ll play better than we did today. We just didn’t play real good.”
Al Muskewitz covers Jacksonville State sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3577.