VALDOSTA — Powered by home runs from five different players, the Valdosta State softball team won its home opener Tuesday afternoon at Steel's Diamond 13-5 against Flagler. Game 2 is set to start at about 4:45 p.m. The Blazers trailed 2-0 heading to the bottom of the third with just one hit, but a single from ninth-place hitter April Collins jump-started the VSU attack as the Blazers sent 11 hitters to the plate in the frame as they grabbed a 7-2 lead. Following Collins' hit, Courtney Albritton followed with a towering home run right over the left field foul pole to tie it on an 0-2 pitch. Freshman Chelsea Canara, who hit .750 in VSU's 3-1 weekend at the West Florida tournament, followed with a solo home run just a few feet to the right of Albritton's blast. Following a walk to Kiley Rusen, who would hit a solo home run with one out in the fourth, Karson King added a two-run home run to left to make it 5-2. Fran Johnson later added an RBI single to left to plate Shelby Altman. Hannah Strickland also scored on the play following a Flagler error. Leading 8-5 entering the bottom of the sixth, Collins again sparked a big Blazer inning when she reached on the 2-3 Saints' second error. Albritton plated her with a double and then scored on a Rusen single. Two batters later, Altman ended it with a three-run shot just below the scoreboard. Flagler was led by Lauren Bessent, who had two of the Saints' four hits and both drove in runs. Melanie Oliver also had two RBIs with a single in the fifth.
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