RICHMOND, Ky. – Junior left-hander Shane Grimm worked 6.2 strong innings, scattering nine hits and allowing just one run to lead the Eastern Kentucky University baseball team to a much-needed 3-2 win over Jacksonville State on Sunday afternoon in the finale of this weekend’s Ohio Valley Conference series at Turkey Hughes Field.
With the win, EKU (8-15, 1-2 OVC) avoids the series sweep and snaps a six-game losing streak. Conversely, the loss snaps a six-game winning streak for JSU (8-15, 2-1 OVC).
Grimm (2-4) earned his second win of the season with his steady start. The southpaw did not record a strikeout, but he also did not surrender a walk and worked out of several jams, as the Gamecocks stranded nine runners on the afternoon.
With EKU leading 2-1 with two outs in the top of the seventh and the tying run on base, senior right-hander Matt Fyffe came on in relief of Grimm and struck out Ben Waldrip, JSU’s best run-producer, on three straight pitches.
Junior right-hander Anthony Bazzani took the ball from Fyffe with two outs in the top of the eighth and recorded the four-out save, his fourth of the season.
Right-hander Hunter Rivers (0-3) picked up the loss for JSU despite pitching 6.1 innings and allowing just three runs on five hits while striking out four batters.
Junior Austin Grisham led EKU at the plate, finishing 2-for-4 and driving in the Colonels’ first run of the game with a two-out, two-strike single through the left side of the infield that scored sophomore Sean Hagen from second base and tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the third.
Grisham then plated the Colonels’ go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth as he doubled to left center, advanced to third on a wild pitch and then scored on a sacrifice fly to center field by senior Jacob Daniel.
Senior Michael Garcia added an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh with an opposite field solo home run that made the score 3-1.
A solo home run by Kyle Blustein in the top of the eighth brought JSU to within one, 3-2, but Fyffe and Bazzani were able to close it out from there.
EKU returns to action on Tuesday, March 27, when the Colonels host Marshall at Turkey Hughes Field. First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.