Ruckdeschel posted a .328 batting average with 60 hits and 29 runs batted in last year. Infielder Clint Carroll (Jr./Tuscaloosa, Ala.) finished the 2003 season with a .344 batting average, 32 hits and 11 RBI. Pitcher C.R. Palmer (Sr./Douglasville, Ga.) went 7-5 with a 4.67 ERA in 79.0 innings of work and ranked third on the squad with 60 strikeouts in 2003.
The Gamecocks open the season Wednesday at Alabama before heading to Baton Rouge continuing it SEC swing.
Head coach Jim Case is in his third season at Jacksonville State having served as an assistant in extensive roles at UAB and Mississippi State. Case is 55-57 in two seasons in Jacksonville compiling a two year conference record of 28-34. A year ago, the Gamecocks went 32-29, with a 19-14 league mark.
JSU finished third in the regular season in the Atlantic Sun Conference in 2003, which was the best finish by the Gamecocks since the A-Sun began the format. The 32 wins marked the 21st time that Jax State had recorded 30 or more wins in a season.
JACKSONVILLE STATE GAMECOCKS
Friday, February 20 at Baton Rouge - 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 21 at Baton Rouge - 2 p.m.
Sunday, February 22 at Baton Rouge - Noon
Location: Jacksonville, Ala.
Colors: Red and White
Conference: Ohio Valley
President: Dr. William A. Meehan (Alabama, 1977)
Athletic Director: Jim Fuller
Home Park (Capacity): Rudy Abbott Field (1,500)
Head Coach: Jim Case (Louisiana Tech, 1983)
Record at JSU: 55-57 (.491/2 years)
Career Record: 55-57 (.491/2 years)
Assistant Coaches: Steve Gillispie (Fort Hays State, 1988)
Matt Ishee (Mississippi State, 1999)
2003 Record: 32-26
Atlantic Sun Record (Finish): 19-14 (tied for 3rd)
Post Season: 1-2 at Atlantic Sun Tournament
Series Record vs. LSU: First Meeting
Smoke Laval vs. JSU:
Jim Case vs. LSU: 0-0
Final Rankings: Not Ranked
Lettermen Returning/Lost: 16/11
Position Starters Returning/Lost: 6/3
Pitchers Returning/Lost: 5/8
Top Returning Position Players:
Sr. OF Matt Ruckdeschel (.328, 0 HR, 30 RBI);
Jr. 1B/3B Clint Carroll (.344, 0 HR, 17 RBI); Jr. 1B Brian Haskins (.309, 3 HR, 21 RBI)
Top Returning Pitchers:
Sr. RH C.R. Palmer (7-5, 4.67); Soph. RH Josh Forrest (3-1, 2.39, 6 SV);
Sr. RH Bobby Wynns (2-2, 5.56, 5 SV)
Fr. RHP Brett Harris; Fr. SS Jake Ball; Fr. RHP Jon Clements