Valdosta Daily Times

Blazers Blog

February 2, 2014

Blazers blast Bears in season opener

VALDOSTA — Other than a light mist that hung over Billy Grant Field the entire game, the 2014 season opener couldn’t have gone any better for Valdosta State baseball coach Greg Guilliams.

His Blazers overcame a sluggish start at the plate, Josh Mann and a host of relievers kept visiting Truett-McConnell hitless until the ninth inning, and nephew Casey Guilliams — the son of VSU assistant coach Todd Guilliams — got his first collegiate hit in that last frame as the Bears finally broke through in the 14-3 Blazer win.

Mann gave VSU, which completes the Comfort Suites Classic at 1 p.m. today against Georgia Southwestern, just what it needed in its opener. The left-hander  kept the Bears off-balanced for five innings as they didn’t come close to registering a hit in his five innings. After walking Cam Pearson with one out in the first, Mann retired the next eight batters he faced until Pearson walked again to open the fourth. Two outs later, Mann issued another walk to Johnathan Wilson before getting out of the jam. An inning later, Mann walked Guilliams as he finished his day with four walks and four strikeouts.

“Josh’s stuff was pretty good,” Greg Guilliams said. “I think he was a little disappointed with his off-speed stuff and he wasn’t able to throw it for strikes as much as he or I would have liked. But for the first time out, I agree, I thought he gave us a quality start.”

While Mann kept the Bears at bay, the Blazers’ offense caught fire in the third. After stranding runners in each of the first two innings, Jimmy Dowdell made sure VSU didn’t waste its third opportunity. With Matthew Fears and Bryant Hayman on with one out, Dowdell drilled a pitch deep to right field for a two-run triple before later scoring on a wild pitch.

“I thought our guys were really pressing at that start of that game,” Greg Guilliams added. “We were chasing some pitches, and our guys were really pressing.

“I thought when Jimmy came through with that hit, our guys relaxed and we started to do a lot more offensively.”

Two innings later, the Blazers broke the game open. With Dowdell, who had three hits with three runs and the two RBIs, on and two out, Truett-McConnell starter Wyatt Holloway appeared ready to give the Bears five solid innings as well. However, he then hit Michael Gouge before Matt Fitzsimmons reached on an error. Fitzsimmons also had three hits as VSU finished with 13

With the bases loaded, Truett-McConnell went to Cody Gable in relief and Clint Carr greeted the left-hander with a two-run single to right. Cooper Lemonds and Fears both drew walks to push across another run and Mike Reed then delivered a two-run single to make it 8-0 with five two-out runs.

“Most games are won with two-out base hits, so it was nice to see that,” Greg Guilliams said. “Hopefully, this will give the guys some confidence and help them relax a little bit.”

The Blazers tacked on six more runs in the fifth as Fitzsimmons, Carr and Dominique Smedley each had run-scoring singles before Casey Kicklighter blasted a three-run double.

Following Mann to the mound, Zakk White and Beau Blair continued to silence the Bears. However, Truett-McConnell finally broke through in the ninth. With one out and one on, Chris Carden singled into left field for the Bears’ first hit. P.D. Foster later added an RBI single and Tate Gaines drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. With two on and two outs, Guilliams then singled to right field for his first hit.

“Selfishly, I was really happy that I got to see his first college base hit,” Greg Guilliams said. “I was happy for Casey.”

Text Only
Blazers Blog
  • Nolin settling in as new VSU soccer coach

    Meet Rebecca Nolin, VSU's new soccer coach.

    July 28, 2014

  • Grable signs with Tampa Bay

    Another former Valdosta State football player joined the ranks of the National Football League when linebacker Jeremy Grable signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday morning.

    July 23, 2014

  • Bubba Walker promoted to defensive coordinator

    Valdosta State Linebacker Coach Bubba Walker has been promoted to fill the open posiiton of defensive coordinator for the Blazer football team according to an announcement made by VSU Head Coach David Dean Thursday.

    July 18, 2014

  • Albritton wins NCAA Elite 89

    Courtney Albritton's tremendous 2013-2014 season earned her one more award Thursday night when the Valdosta State softball star won the NCAA's Favorite Elite 89 Winner contest by securing the more votes than any other student-athlete.

    July 17, 2014

  • Justin Roper named Valdosta State quarterbacks coach

    Valdosta State’s hirin of Justin Roper as quarterbacks coach, previously reported by The Times, was officially announced by the school and Blazer head football coach David Dean on Wednesday.

    July 17, 2014

  • Albritton.JPG VSU’s Albritton advances to finals of Elite 89 contest

    Another round, another first-place finish for Valdosta State’s Courtney Albritton.
    Albritton, the Blazers’ junior softball standout, was the leading vote-getter in the semifinal round of the NCAA’s Favorite Elite 89 winner contest with 1,483 votes in the two-day semifinal round that included 30 athletes. In the week-long first round, Albritton racked up 1,971 votes to lead the 89-person field.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Albritton in first place after opening round of Elite 89 voting

    July 14, 2014

  • Justin_Roper.JPG Roper to coach Blazers’ QBs

    Valdosta State has added an assistant coach to its staff, but it isn’t to fill Seth Wallace’s role.
    Former Oregon quarterback and University of Findlay running backs coach Justin Roper has been hired as the Blazers’ quarterbacks coach.

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Div II Championship F_Rodg(11).jpg Beyond Sports Network releases 2014 preseason All-GSC football team

    Football season is right around the corner; exactly 57 days from now Valdosta State set to open its season at home against Albany State, but fans were able to satisfy his or her football withdraws on Tuesday when Beyond Sports Network released its Gulf South Conference preseason All-Conference team.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • 1966690_10201768896480524_387489323_n.jpg Dominique Wheeler showing confidence as NFL rookie

    Dominique Wheeler slowly made a name for himself during his four-year career as a Valdosta State Blazer. Playing at the cornerback position, Wheeler had to wait his turn to start at the position. However by the time he ended his senior year, he had played in 45 games, including nine starts his senior season.

    July 7, 2014 2 Photos

Local Sports
Choose your subscription: