Valdosta State jumped out to an early lead and never looked back as the Blazers defeated Paine 8-1 in non-conference baseball action at Billy Grant Field Sunday afternoon.
Paine (1-7) threatened in the top of the first inning as it got three walks and had a runner reach via a wild pitch on a strike out, but failed to score. Meanwhile, Valdosta State (5-0) struck for three runs in the bottom of the frame.
Matthew Fears drew a walk to open the Blazer half of the first scored as Mike Reed followed with a double to left. Bryant Hayman also drew a walk before Jimmy Dowdell singled to score Reed. Hayman moved to third on the Dowdell base hit and scored as Kevin Cruz grounded out to give VSU a 3-0 lead.
Michael Gouge singled to open the fourth and eventually came around to score on Hunter Thompson fielder's choice before the Lions cut the Blazer lead to 4-1 in the top of the fifth. Darian Alston walked to open the fifth and stole second before eventually scoring on a wild pitch.
Valdosta State responded with a run in the sixth inning when a Reed sacrifice fly plated Thompson, who singled to open the inning, while Matt Fitzsimmons singled home Cruz in the seventh to push the Blazer advantage to 6-1.
VSU added its final two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning as Thompson scored on a passed ball affter drawing a walk and moving to third on a failed pickoff attempt. Fears followed with a single and stole second before moving to third on a wild pitch. Reed's second sacrifice fly of the day brought him home for the game's final run.
Dowdell was 3-of-4 to lead VSU offensively on the day while Reed finished the day 1-for-2 with three runs driven in and one scored. Carr tallied two hits in four at-bats as Valdosta State tallied 11 hits on the day.
Ethan Bornstein pitched 3.1 innings in relief and allowed just one hit while striking out five to improve to 1-0 on the season.
Joseph Graves had three of Paines five hits while Dalton Self surrendered 10 hits and six runs, five earned, in 7.0 innings to fall to 0-2.
Valdosta State continues it season Wednesday, February 12 when it hosts Albany State at Billy Grant Field.