The Valdosta Daily Times
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. —
Flagler took advantage of wildness by the Valdosta State bullpen to defeat the Blazers 6-4 in non-conference baseball action at Drysdale Field Wednesday evening.
With the win, Flagler improved to 3-2 while Valdosta State fell to 2-2.
Flagler got single runs in both the first and second innings to open the scoring. In the first, Joe Post reached on a one-out single and stole second before scoring as Brett Moreland singled him home. Meanwhile, Chace Mitchell doubled to open the second and advanced to second on a one-out balk before Justin McKenna hit a sacrifice fly to make the score 2-0.
Valdosta State evened the game in the top of the fourth inning with a pair of two-out runs. Bryant Hayman was hit by a pitch with one out in the frame before Jake Fields singled for the first VSU hit of the game. Hayman was thrown out at third on a double steal attempt for the second out, but Michael Gouge singled to left to score Fields. Gouge moved to second on the throw home on the play and scored as Nick Rodda singled to even the game at 2-2.
Hayman gave Valdosta State the lead in the sixth inning as he directed a one-out pitch over the left-center field fence for his first home run of the season.
The Saints evened the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh on a wild pitch. With one out, pinch-hitter Andrew Brodbeck doubled to right and advanced to third on a wild pitch. After pinch-hitter Nick Kranick drew a walk, Jake Jacob struck out swinging, but a wild pitch on strike three allowed Brodbeck to score the tying run.
Flagler regained the lead in the bottom of the eighth inning as it took advantage of four walks by VSU pitchers. Jake Hanson reached on a one-out free pass before Shaun Starnes singled. Mitchell followed with the second walk before Zach John relieved Dom DeMasi and walked Brodbeck to force in Hanson. After a strikeout, pinch-hitter Jay Laurienzo walked to score Starnes while a wild pitch plated Brodbeck for a 6-3 Flagler lead.
The Blazers closed out the scoring in the top of the ninth as Gouge led off with a single before scoring on a two-out single by Dan Hoover.
Hayman, Fields and Gouge had two hits each to lead Valdosta State offensively. VSU starter Josh Mann gave up four hits and two runs in 4.2 innings while DeMasi four runs on two hits and four walks in an inning to fall to 0-1.
Seven different Saints collected a hit while Jake Brandenberger improved to 1-0 as he gave up only one hit in 2.0 innings.
Valdosta State returns to action Saturday, February 9 at 2:00 p.m. when it opens a three-game non-conference series against Paine. The two teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday followed by a single game on Sunday.