The Valdosta Daily Times
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. —
Jake Fields delivered a two-run single in the top of the 12th inning to lead Valdosta State to a 4-2 victory over North Alabama in the first round of the Taziki's Gulf South Conference Baseball Tournament at AT&T Field Thursday.
With the win, the Blazers, who have now won 22 of their last 26 games, will face either Delta State or Christian Brothers in today’s winner’s bracket.
Delta State and Christian Brothers faced off in the final game of the opening day and the game was not completed by time of press.
First pitch of today’s game is set for 6 p.m. Eastern and will be carried live on Talk 92.1 FM.
Nick Rodda doubled to open the top of the 12th inning and moved to third as Ryan McClellan reached on a bunt single. Bryant Hayman was intentionally walked to load the bases before Fields singled through a draw in infield to score both Rodda and McClellan.
North Alabama got the scoring started in the bottom of the second inning without the benefit of a hit. Dylan Boston and Matthew Tittle reached on walks to open the frame before a throwing error on a sacrifice bunt attempt loaded the bases. Andrew Almon proceeded to ground into a double play, but Boston scored on the play to give the Lions a 1-0 lead.
The Blazers evened the game in the top half of the next inning when Ryan McClellan singled with one out and scored as Bryant Hayman doubled to left-center.
Another throwing error by Ryan McClellan gave UNA its second run in the fifth inning. Bradley Noland singled with one out in the UNA half of the fifth and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt.
Jake Ward followed with a grounder to McClellan, who threw wide of the bag at first to allow Noland to come around from second for a 2-1 North Alabama advantage.
Valdosta State tied the game in the top of the ninth inning as two walks and a hit by pitch loaded the bases with two outs. Nick Rodda drew the third walk of the inning to score pinch runner Will Austin to even the game at 2-2.
Pete Whittingslow gave up just four hits and the two unearned runs in seven innings for VSU while UNA's Chad Boughner surrendered five hits in 8.2 innings as both starters took a no-decision in the game.
VSU's Benjamin Weil allowed just one hit and two walks in 4.1 innings of relief to improve to 5-2 on the season while Brantley Claunch surrendered five hits and two runs in 2.1 innings to fall to 1-2.
Hayman and McClellan each tallied two hits to lead the Blazers offensively.
Other action from the first day of the GSC tournament included No. 6 seed West Alabama upsetting No. 3 West Florida, 6-3, and No. 7 seed West Georgia upsetting No. 2 seed Alabama-Huntsville. Both losses for higher seeded teams will held Valdosta State improve its chances for an NCAA tournament selection.