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March 18, 2012

Valdosta State sweeps Bucs

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State played two of its best baseball games of the season on Saturday, and swept a doubleheader with Christian Brothers at Billy Grant Field, winning 7-0 and 12-2.

Kevin Rogers and Benjamin Weil combined on a two-hit shutout in Game 1, then Jarod Carlton tossed five-plus scoreless innings in Game 2. And the Blazers’ bats exploded for 19 runs in two games.

“I was pleased with the way that we played all around,” Valdosta State head coach Greg Guilliams said. “I thought we got good starting pitching, swung the bats, played good defense. Today was a good day for us.”

Valdosta State improved to 12-7, and 4-1 in Gulf South Conference play.

VSU and Christian Brothers will wrap up their three-game series today at 1 p.m. Pete Whittingslow (1-1, 1.17 ERA) will go to the mound for the Blazers.

Valdosta State 7, Christian Brothers 0

Rogers was dominant on the mound, and the Blazers pounded out 10 hits in their Game 1 win.

The senior southpaw from Stockton, Calif. pitched eight shutout innings, held the Buccaneers to just two hits and struck out eight. Rogers (1-2) now has a 2.41 earned run average.

“He’s been pitching very well,” Guilliams said. “Last weekend, he threw seven shutout innings and we couldn’t hang on to a 4-0 lead. Today he threw eight shutout innings. ... Quite honestly, he’s pitched like that all year.”

With one out in the bottom of the first, Chaz Bagwell was hit by a pitch. Christian Glisson doubled off of the Langdale Honda sign in right, putting runners on second and third. Then Cameron Graves hit a long fly ball to right that was caught on the warning track, but Bagwell tagged up and scored the first run of the game.

Valdosta State added a run in the fourth. With two outs and Graves on second, Austin Lawrence beat out an infield single. When the throw got by the first baseman, Graves ran home to give VSU a 2-0 lead.

Then the Blazers exploded for four runs in the bottom of the fifth. Bagwell singled to center to start the inning. Glisson’s double into the gap in left center put runners on second and third with nobody out. Graves hit a chopper in front of the mound. Christian Brothers pitcher Alex Sikes flipped the ball with his glove to catcher Alan Wright, but Bagwell slid under the tag to give VSU a 3-0 lead.

Ryan Noelte then lined the ball down the right field line. Glisson scored easily, Graves raced around the bases to score and Noelte went all the way to third with a triple. CBU shortstop Jose Verdejo fielded Marc Overstreet’s ground ball and threw home, but Noelte beat the throw to the plate, giving the Blazers a 6-0 lead.

VSU tacked on one more run in the bottom of the eighth. Alex Smith led off with a double to left, stole third and tagged up and scored on Bagwell’s fly ball to the warning track in left, giving the Blazers a 7-0 lead.

Weil pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to close out the win, striking out the final two batters.

Glisson, who leads the team with a .462 average, went 3 for 5 and scored a run. Graves was 2 for 3 with two runs scored and two more driven in. Noelte had two RBIs.

Sikes (2-2) took the loss, allowing six runs, five earned, in 4 1/3 innings.

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