Valdosta Daily Times

March 23, 2014

Valdosta State splits DH with Christian Brothers

Samuel D. Logan
The Valdosta Daily Times

LIVINGSTON, Ala. — The Valdosta State baseball team split with Christian Brothers in a Gulf South Conference doubleheader Saturday at Billy Grant Field. Christian Brothers came into the game 5-18 and 0-12 in the GSC, but finished the first game with a 7-4 victory, their first conference win of the season. It was also CBU’s first win against the Blazers.

“Our starting pitcher had thrown over 100 pitches so he was tired,” VSU coach Greg Guilliams said. “Unfortunately the guys that came in after him didn’t do their jobs, but you know it’s a team effort. Guys usually don’t pitch nine innings.”

The Blazers were able to pull away from the Bucs in the second game however, winning 8-2. Game 3 of the three-game set, originally schedule for 1 p.m. today, has been moved up to 11 a.m. due to the threat of inclement weather.

With Jake Garbuzinski on the mound for the Bucs in Game 1, Mike Reed was the first batter up for the Blazers. After Reed was walked, he proceeded to steal second before getting the Blazers’ first score on a Bryant Hayman single.

With a 1-0 lead, Blazers pitcher Josh Mann made quick work, getting three batters out in a row.

The Blazers added one more score in the second inning, as Reed crossed the place once more after a Dominique Smedley hit, putting the Blazers ahead 2-0.

In the top of the fourth, the Bucs added two runs by Justin Neal and Mac Cooley, evening the score at 2 as the Blazers came to bat in bottom half.

After Michael Gouge scored a run for the Blazers on a Bucs error, Kevin Cruz also crossed the plate on the strength of a Reed single, putting VSU up 4-2.

In the top of the sixth, Cooley successfully added a run for the Bucs, making it 4-3. 

“When we were hitting, we hit too many fly balls,” said Guilliams.

As the seventh inning began, the Blazers switched pitchers from Mann, who had thrown 111 pitches, to Beau Blair. Blair was effective, not allowing any hits for the Bucs.

In the eighth inning, the Blazers switched pitchers once more to Jarod Stanley, who gave up four runs in the frame, and pretty much sealed the game, as the Blazers were unable to get anything done in the eight or ninth, losing to the Bucs 7-4.

“I thought that pitching-wise, we walked a lot of guys and gave them too many opportunities to score,” Guilliams said. “Now, they did what they needed to, but I thought we needed to get more balls over the plate.”

The Blazers bounced back in the second game however, scoring eight runs and saw second baseman Matthew Fears hit a two-run home run.

Colby Wisdom started on the mound for the Blazers in the second game and hurled a complete game.

“Colby kept throwing strikes,” Guilliams said. “I thought he was getting tired but he wanted to play the whole game. If you do that, you give your defense a chance to make plays.

“Wisdom threw the ball over the plate and our guys were more aggressive getting to the ball in the second game.”

The first score of the game game from the Bucs, with Neal crossing the plate in the top of the second, putting the Bucs up 1-0.

The bottom of the second however brought success for the Blazers. They scored four runs on two hits, moving the score to 4-1. Smedley, Cruz, Reed and Fears recorded runs in the inning, with Fears hitting his home run.

Christian Brothers wouldn’t go down without a fight however, battling back to add a run in the top of the third inning to move the score to 4-2.

With the bases loaded in the home half, the Blazers were unable to bring all their players in to score, however Dowdell was able to score for the Blazers, moving the score to 5-2 before the Bucs conducted a meeting on the mound. Once the game commenced again, Smedley added an RBI single, while Reed and Fears were walked onto base. With the bases loaded once more, Hayman hit an RBI single to score Smedley, pushing the VSU lead to 6-2.

To end the fourth, two more Blazers added runs, as Dowdell and Hayman also crossed home, essentially sealing the game for the Blazers.