Jacksonville State and Eastern Kentucky got ample doses of both Wednesday in their Ohio Valley Conference tournament opener. They combined to turn eight double plays in the game, setting what is believed to be a neutral-site tournament record and tying Southeast Missouri’s team record with four each.
SEMO and Murray State combined for six twin killings in a 2005 tournament game in Paducah, Ky.
“It was guys taking care of the baseball and making some good plays; I think both teams did that,” Jacksonville State coach Jim Case said. “Both teams hit into double plays by hitting balls hard. You don’t see many games with eight double plays. It was interesting how both teams were able to handle the ball.”
The Gamecocks turned double plays in the first, sixth, eighth and ninth innings, one shy of their school record. They hit into double plays in the first, sixth, seventh and eighth innings.
Coming into the tournament, JSU ranked third in the OVC with 48 total double plays; EKU was ninth (37). The Gamecocks had grounded into 30 twin killings, while the Colonels had grounded into 32.
EKU All-OVC catcher Sean Hagen tied the double plays his team turned Wednesday directly to starter Brent Cobb and the two-seamer that had right-handers pounding balls into the ground and lefties swinging over the top.
“Brent did not surprise me; that’s just who he is,” EKU coach Jason Stein said. “He is a shin-guard type pitcher; it didn’t surprise us one bit. Maybe eight, which is a lot, but you can almost expect three or four double plays out of Brent in any given start.”
All eight double plays were turned in the infield. Three of JSU’s were turned by the keystone combination of Andrew Bishop and freshman Gavin Golsan; the other was an unassisted effort by third baseman Eddie Mora-Loera.
EKU’s second baseman, third baseman and shortstop are all freshmen and all three made the OVC’s All-Freshman Team.
“It’s pretty fun to watch those kids play,” Stein said. “They don’t act like freshmen, I’ll tell you.”
Sports Writer Al Muskewitz: 256-235-3577. On Twitter @almusky_star.