The Valdosta Daily Times
FLORENCE, Ala. —
Valdosta State claimed a 9-7 win in game 1, while North Alabama bounced back for a 4-2 victory in game 2, as the two teams split a Gulf South Conference baseball doubleheader at Mike Lane Field Saturday.
Valdosta State (21-13, 9-8) scored in each of the first four innings of game 1 to grab an early lead.
VSU took advantage of a pair of Lion errors in the first inning to score two runs. Nick Rodda opened the game with a single. A sacrifice bunt and an error on a Bryant Hayman grounder put runners on the corners. Another error on a Jake Fields grounder followed to score Rodda, but Hayman was thrown out at third on a stolen base attempt to record the second out of the inning. Fields came around to score when Michael Gouge singled to put the Blazers in front 2-0.
After North Alabama (21-17-1, 11-9) got a run without the benefit of a hit in the bottom of the first, VSU added three more runs in the second inning. Hunter Thompson singled and stole second to open the second before Jamie McMillan doubled to drive him home. A sacrifice bunt moved McMillan to third and Rodda was hit by a pitch and stole second to put two runners in scoring position for Ryan McClellan, who’s single allowed both McMillan and Rodda to score for a 5-1 VSU advantage.
After the Lions got a second run in the bottom of the second, Cooper Lemonds added a sacrifice fly in the third and McClellan collected his third RBI with a hit in the fourth to push the Valdosta State lead to 7-2.
UNA tied the game with five two-out runs in the bottom of the fifth. Matthew Tittle drove in the first two run with a double that scored Dylan Boston and Andrew Alman while Josh Carpenter singled three batters later to score Tittle and Bradley Noland. Jake Ward followed with a single to plate Thomas Lundborg to tie the game at 7-7.
McClellan put VSU back in front with a two-out single in the top of the sixth inning, while Blazers added a ninth run in the seventh.
Pete Whittingslow allowed nine hits, five walks and seven runs in 7.0 innings to improve to 5-2 while Benjamin Weil recorded the final five outs for his third save.
North Alabama raced out to a 4-0 lead in game two. Tittle doubled and scored on a Noland base hit in the bottom of the second inning for the first run of the game before Boston doubled and scored on Tittle’s second two-bagger of the game in the fourth to push the UNA lead to 2-0.
The Lions added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning before VSU struck for two in the top of the sixth. Rodda, McClellan and Hayman all singled to load the bases with no outs in the Blazer half of the sixth. A fielder’s choice scored Rodda and replaced Hayman with Fields on the ensuing at-bat while Gouge hit a sacrifice fly to score McClellan to close out the game two scoring.
Nick Fogarty allowed eight hits and four runs in 4.0 innings to fall to 3-3 while UNA’s Michael Watkins allowed five hits and two runs in a complete game to improve to 5-4.
McClellan had four hits and four runs driven in in six at-bats in the doubleheader to lead Valdosta State offensively while Rodda also had four hits and scored three runs.
The two teams conclude the three-game series Sunday with a single game beginning at 2 p.m.