By Nathan Hutchinson
Special to the Register
Jacksonville State rallied with three runs in the sixth inning to pull out a 5-3 win over the Eastern Kentucky University softball team Wednesday in the opening round of the 2013 Ohio Valley Conference Tournament in Charleston, Ill.
The third-seeded Colonels (34-19) are now faced with playing an elimination game today against Tennessee Tech at 11 a.m.
Jacksonville State (27-25), seeded sixth, advances in the winner’s bracket.
The Gamecocks got on the board first in the third inning with a two-out, two-run double by Kelci Johnston.
EKU responded one inning later with three runs, all scored with two outs. Sophomore Katie Tackett and freshman Sarah Fobbs each reached base on singles. Junior Christina Ciolek then followed with a double in the left-centerfield gap to score both runners.
Ciolek eventually scored the go-ahead run when a Jacksonville State player dropped an infield pop-up.
However, Johnston came through again for the Gamecocks in the sixth inning. The second baseman led off the inning with a home run to left field to even the score. Later in the same frame, Ella Denes and Krystal Ruth each produced a two-out, run scoring hit to give Jacksonville State the lead for good.
JSU starting pitcher Tiffany Harbin (14-13) went the distance and struck out 10 EKU batters without allowing a walk.
Johnston was the hitting star for the Gamecocks, going 2-for-4 with a home run, double and three RBIs.
Sophomore pitcher Leanna Pittsenbarger (20-9) was saddled with a loss for the first time in seven starts.