Jacksonville State will face Ole Miss in the opening round of the Oxford Regional on Friday evening at 7 p.m. after the Gamecocks won six-straight games to win the Ohio Valley Conference Championship to earn the league's automatic bid.
It marks the fourth NCAA Division I regional for the Gamecocks, who also made appearances in 2004, 2006 and 2010.
The Gamecocks are led by senior outfielder Griff Gordon with a .376 batting average, a team-high seven home runs and 49 RBIs, while also tying the school record with 96 hits to rank fourth nationally. Sophomore first baseman Paschal Petrongolo was third on the team with a .324 batting average, but led the team with 19 doubles and 53 RBIs, and is currently riding a season-best 11-game hitting streak.
Junior right-handed pitcher Zachary Fowler will get the start against the Rebels on Friday and leads the team with a 7-7 record, and has tossed a team-high 88.0 innings on the mound. Fowler pitched 7.2 innings in JSU's OVC championship game victory over Tennessee Tech, allowing just five hits and striking out six. Junior relief pitcher Travis Stout, who picked up the save in that game, has 15 saves on the year, and has tied the school career record with 32 saves, which is also tied for the second most in OVC history.
Ole Miss, the 10th ranked team in the country, led the Southeastern Conference in batting average (.303), were third in the league in scoring (359) and fourth in home runs (36) this season. Ole Miss was second in the league in both slugging percentage (.417) and on-base percentage (.370), and the Rebels' 2.76 team ERA was fifth in the highly competitive SEC, which set a record with 10 teams selected for the NCAA Tournament this year.
Three Rebels ranked in the top five of the SEC in hits this season. Junior outfielder Auston Bousfield led the conference with 87 hits, senior catcher Will Allen ranked second with 83 hits, and senior third baseman Austin Anderson finished in a tie for fifth with 76 hits.
On the mound, Ole Miss was led by Chris Ellis (9-1), Christian Trent (8-0) and Sam Smith (5-4). The Rebels' weekend rotation held a 2.69 ERA, allowing 80 earned runs in 267.0 innings pitched. Ellis led the trio with a 2.17 ERA in 95.1 innings of work, while Trent posted a 2.44 ERA and Smith held a 3.58 ERA.
Ole Miss is 3-0 all-time vs. Jacksonville State, with the Rebels sweeping the Gamecocks in a three-game series to open the 2002 season. The game will be carried live on ESPN3, and can be heard on the JSU Radio Network.
Oxford Regional Schedule Friday, May 30 Game 1 - No. 3 Georgia Tech vs. No. 2 Washington - 3 p.m. Game 2 - No. 4 Jacksonville State vs. No. 1 Ole Miss - 7 p.m.
Saturday, May 31 Game 3 - Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser - 1 p.m. Game 4 - Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner - 5 p.m.
Sunday, June 1 Game 5 - Game 4 loser vs. Game 3 winner- 1 p.m. Game 6 - Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner- 5 p.m.
Monday, June 2 Game 7 - Game 6 winner vs. Game 6 loser (if necessary) - 7 p.m.