Valdosta Daily Times

May 18, 2013

Blazer baseball stays alive, beats Stillman

Ed Hooper
The Valdosta Daily Times

TAMPA, Fla. — Valdosta State scored five runs in the first inning to defeat Stillman 6-2 in an elimination game of the NCAA South Region Tournament at UT Baseball Field Friday morning.

The Blazers will face Delta State at 3 p.m. today in another elimination game. The game will air live on Talk 92.1 FM.

Valdosta State (34-17) sent 11 batters to the plate in the first inning while Stillman starter Joey Falletta, who entered the game with a 7-0 record and a 2.38 earned run average, recorded just one out in the game.

Hunter Thompson walked and Bryant Hayman singled before Jake Fields also collected a base hit to plate Thompson. Jamie McMillan walked and Cooper Lemonds reached on an error that plated Hayman while Michael Gouge scored Fields with a single. A Daniel Hoover single scored McMillan and chased Falletta with VSU leading 4-0.

 Tiger reliever Kevin McNorton struck out Clint Carr for the second out of the bottom half of the first, but hit Rodda on a two-strike pitch to force home Lemonds for the fifth and final Valdosta State run of the inning.

Lemonds hit his second home run of the year in the third inning to push the Blazer advantage to 6-0 before Stillman (30-16) got on the board with a run in the fourth. Kyle Smith walked to open the fourth inning and moved to second when Kameron McCreless reached on a bunt single. A sacrifice bunt moved both runners up a base before Fernando Tanaka hit into a fielder's choice the erased McCreless, but allowed Smith to score.

 The Tigers added a second run in the sixth as McCreless scored on a two-out single by Ken Perkey.

Valdosta State starter Dom DeMasi went 6.0 innings and allowed five hits and two runs to improve to 3-1 on the season. Benjamin Weil came on two runners on in the eighth inning and recorded the final five outs of the game for his sixth save of the year.

 Lemonds was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and one driven in to lead the Blazers while Hayman and Hoover also had two hits.