Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

March 1, 2014

Wildcats hand Patriots first loss

VALDOSTA —  Austin Lieupo fired six innings of one-hit baseball Friday night as the Valdosta Wildcats handed Pace (Fla.) its first loss of the season with a 5-1 victory in the Georgia-Florida Challenge.

Lieupo managed the game well, working around his six walks and throwing 57 of his 104 pitches for strikes. He also struck out five and only surrendered one unearned run.

Valdosta (5-0) did its damage at the plate early, striking for three runs in the first inning to set the tone as David Posas, Daniel Tefft, Brennan Goodson and Seth Shuman all recorded hits off Patriot starter Austin Brooks.

Posas started the inning with a double, and Tefft knocked him in with a single to right. Goodson then singled, followed by an RBI groundout from Craig Barry and a rope down the left-field line by Shuman. Errors also heavily aided the Valdosta inning, as two of 7-1 Pace’s six errors came in the bottom of the frame.

Lieupo encountered his only trouble in the top of the second, as he walked the bases loaded before getting Pace leadoff hitter Chandler Burgess to ground out.

The Wildcats added an insurance run in the bottom of the second, as Tefft, who went 2 for 3, recorded his second RBI on a flyout to right.

Brooks struggled early against the Wildcats, and his difficulties were magnified by a less than steady defense behind him. Brooks threw 35 of his 67 pitches for strikes, before getting lifted for Matt McGowin in the fourth inning. McGowin was solid, as he recorded two strikeouts and allowed only one unearned run.

Despite entering the game with a 66-4 advantage over opponents in runs scored in their first seven games, Pace simply couldn’t muster anything at the plate. Lieupo nearly pitched a no-hitter, as his only blemish was a ball served to left by Brooks.

Valdosta hosts Clay (Fla.) at 1:30 p.m. today.

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