The Future Is Bright For JSU Baseball
Gamecock fans have grown accustomed to winning the OVC. This year, a very young Gamecock squad advanced to the title game but could not quite pull it off losing twice to top seeded Austin Peay. Nevertheless, it was a very good season for Jacksonville State which finished the regular season third in the OVC with a 36-23 record. The Gamecocks also posted impressive wins over Auburn, UAB, Northwestern, MTSU, Troy, Samford and Harvard. (Side note- I don’t think these guys would have any problem competing for a title in the Sun Belt).
With this season behind us, there is every reason to be optimistic about next year. Assuming no one goes pro, the Gamecocks only lose four seniors off of this year’s roster– Blake Seguin, Jake Sharrock, Matt Mclaughlin and Jordan Beistline. All of these guys were big time contributors to the program. Seguin and Sharrock both hit above .300 and McLauglhlin was not far behind at .292. Beistline was a beast on the mound with a 3.48 ERA and 6-1 record.
These losses aside, it is really exciting to see what will come back next year. The Gamecocks return nine offensive players that started at least 25 games last year. This list includes their top five hitters: Sam Eberle (.356), Erik Underwood (354), Kyle Bluestein (.346), Ben Waldrip (.344) and Coty Blanchard (.335).
Amazingly, Beistline is the only pitcher the Gamecocks lose. The Gamecocks will also return five pitchers who posted sub 4.00 eras with significant innings pitched: Todd Hornsby, Tanner Freshour, Casey Antley, Aaron Elias and Ben Haynes. Hornsby was a great closer in 2011 finishing with 15 saves on the year.
In sum, this year was good, next year could be great. Can’t wait.