The Valdosta Daily Times
Saint Leo answered an early Valdosta State score and the Lions never looked back Tuesday at Southard Stadium in Saint Leo, Fla.
The Lions used a first-inning home run to take the lead for good as they hammered the visiting No. 8 Blazers 10-4. The win snapped Valdosta State’s three-game winning streak and dropped the Blazers to 14-5.
VSU jumped on top of Saint Leo as Mike Reed doubled and preseason All-American Bryant Hayman followed with an RBI single. The lead was short-lived, though. In the bottom of the first the 12-6 Lions got a two-run home run from Taylor Perez.
An inning later, the first four Lions reached base as they stretched the lead to 5-1. Fran Whitten delivered a two-run single and Alex Matta drove in the third run in the frame with a sacrifice fly.
VSU starter Zakk White didn’t last through the second, allowing six hits and five earned runs in 1 2-3 innings. Matt Moses, Beau Blair, Colby Wisdom and Jarrod Stanley all followed White to the mound with Moses and Blair each allowing two runs. Stanley gave up an unearned run in his 1 1-3 innings.
The Blazers clawed within 5-3 in the third as Jimmy Dowdell opened the frame with a single, followed by a Kevin Cruz hit. Michael Gouge delivered an RBI double and Hunter Thompson drove in Cruz with a groundout.
The Lions, though, again responded as they scored four runs in the fifth to push the game out of reach.
VSU tacked on a run in the seventh when Thompson scored on a wild pitch. Saint Leo responded with a run in the eighth on a Blazer error.
Valdosta State, which heads to West Alabama on Saturday to open a three-game Gulf South conference series, received two hits apiece from Hayman, Dowdell, Gouge, Thompson and leadoff hitter Matthew Fears. Whitten led the Lions with four hits, while Perez, Chris Newcomb and Bobby Twitty all had two hits.