The Valdosta Daily Times
MEMPHIS, Tenn. —
Valdosta State pounded out a season-high 20 hits in the first game, took advantage of a pair of unearned runs in the second game and swept Christian Brothers 14-4 and 3-1 in Gulf South Conference baseball action at Buc Field Saturday.
With the doubleheader sweep, VSU won its fourth straight GSC series and, after starting Gulf South Conference play with losses in its first five games, evened its conference record at 7-7. Overall, Valdosta State improved to 18-12 this season.
The Blazers opened the game one scoring in the top of the third inning. Daniel Hoover led off with a single and moved to second on Matthew Fears’ base hit. A Nick Rodda fielder’s choice erased Hoover, but Bryant Hayman drove home Fears with a single. After a Jake Fields base hit loaded the bases, Michael Gouge plated Rodda with the fifth hit of the inning to put VSU in front 2-0.
Christian Brothers (8-25, 1-16 in the GSC) briefly took the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning, scoring three runs. With one out in the Buc half of the fourth, Jordan Wilson singled and moved to second when Will Wilson also collected a base hit. A Taylor Seaman base hit loaded the bases.
The two Wilsons scored when Josh Ambuehl doubled to left center. Seaman was thrown out at home on the double, but Ambuehl moved to third on a balk and scored on a fielding error to put CBU in front 3-2.
Valdosta State responded with single runs in each of the next two innings. Fields singled home Rodda in the fifth, then Hayman plated Fears with a base hit in the sixth.
The Blazers got three more runs on a bases loaded double by Fears in the seventh.
VSU exploded for seven runs in the eighth to close out the game. The Blazers sent 12 batters to the plate and took advantage of two Christian Brothers errors. All seven VSU runs in the inning were unearned. Cooper Lemonds drove home Hayman, who had reached on an error to open the frame, for the first run of the inning. Fields scored on a second error, and Will Austin singled home Lemonds. Fears and Rodda also drove in runs in the frame, while Hayman doubled home two more runs for a 14-3 VSU advantage.
CBU got its final run in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Valdosta State pitcher Pete Whittingslow improved to 4-1. He allowed eight hits and three runs, two earned, in six innings.
CBU’s Alex Sikes fell to 2-6 after giving up 13 hits and seven runs, all earned, in 6 1/3 innings.
An error in the top of the second gave VSU its first run in game two. Fields and Lemonds singled to open the inning, before an error on a sacrifice bunt by Brent Nelson allowed Fields to score.
CBU got the run back in the bottom half of the inning. Ambuehl doubled to open the frame and came around on a pair of wild pitches.
VSU answered with a run in the fifth, when Hunter Thompson came home on a passed ball. Rodda walked and scored on a Gouge double in the seventh for the game’s final run.
VSU’s Nick Fogarty allowed two hits and struck out 11 in a complete game effort to improve his record to 3-2.
CBU’s Miles Anderson surrendered six hits and a pair of unearned runs to fall to 1-3.
Fears finished the day 4-for-5 with two runs scored and four runs driven in to lead Valdosta State. Hayman had six hits and four RBIs in nine at-bats.
The series concludes with a single game on Sunday, beginning at 2 p.m.