Gamecocks capture tourney title, NCAA bid

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Jacksonville State scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth to beat Samford.

Jacksonville State won the Ohio Valley Conference baseball tournament in dramatic fashion.

The second-seeded Gamecocks scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat top-seeded Samford 8-7 Saturday in Paducah, Ky.

Clay Whittemore's two-run double ended the contest.

Jacksonville State (36-23) captured its second OVC tournament title in three years.

The Gamecocks went 3-0 in this year's event to earn an automatic NCAA regional berth. They have won 16 of their last 18 games

Samford (34-25), the OVC regular-season champion, lost to Jacksonville State 17-6 in Friday's winners bracket final. A win by the Bulldogs on Saturday would have forced a final contest today.

Samford moved into the championship round earlier Saturday with a 24-6 rout of fourth-seeded Eastern Kentucky. The Colonels had eliminated Southeast Missouri State 14-10 on Friday.

Whittemore, an outfielder who was one of five Gamecocks on the 12-player all-tournament team, was named the MVP.

Others from Jacksonville State on the all-tournament squad were outfielder Nick Cleckler, infielder Bert Smith, designated hitter Garrett Bass and pitcher Tony Drinkard.

Samford and Eastern Kentucky both had three all-tournament selections.

Making the team from Samford were infielder Parker Gargis and Louis Rojas, along with outfielder Bear Burnett. Eastern Kentucky selections were infielder Charlie Yarbrough and catcher Joe Oliver, along with pitcher Christian Friedrich.

Southeast junior outfielder Dustin Pritchett rounded out the squad.

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