Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

March 3, 2014

Two-out trouble too much for Blazers

VALDOSTA — Delta State gave host Valdosta State a lot of trouble with two outs Sunday.

In the rubber game of the three-game Gulf South Conference series at Billy Grant Field, the No. 25 Statesmen scored 10 runs with two outs as they hammered the No. 9 Blazers 16-3 in eight innings. Delta State won Saturday’s opener 8-3 before VSU rebounded to win the second game 4-3.

“I’ll give them credit, they played really well today and I thought they swung the bats really well,” VSU coach Greg Guilliams said. “I thought the difference in the game was their starting pitcher gave them a chance to win, and today just wasn’t a very good day for Jarod (Stanley).”

Most of Stanley’s problems came with two outs, especially the five-run third that allowed Delta (7-5, 6-3 in the GSC) to break the game open.

Already ahead 2-0, the Statesmen had a pair of runners on as Kasey Hinton walked and Brent Langston singled with two outs when four straight DSU batters recorded hits against Stanley. Carlos Leal singled on a 2-0 pitch to put the Statesmen up 3-0, and then Will Robertson followed with an RBI single on a 3-1 delivery. Following an RBI single from Landon Thibodeaux, Benji Sullivan delivered the big blow with a two-run double.

Langston, one of four Statesmen with three hits along with Leal, Robertson and Sullivan, added a solo home run with two outs an inning later off Beau Blair.

After getting an additional run in the sixth on a Colby Wisdom balk, the Statesmen pushed across three more runs in the seventh — again all coming with two outs — to threaten a run-rule win. Robertson started that two-out rally with a double and Sullivan added an RBI single in front of a two-run double from Jordan Chovanec.

However, the Blazers then finally got to DSU starter Ricky Winters. After limiting VSU to just five hits through six innings, Winters allowed four hits in the seventh alone as Clint Carr singled with one out for one of his two hits and then with the Blazers down to their final strike, Mike Reed, who also had two hits, blasted his first career home run just over the left-field wall. Bryant Hayman followed with a home run to left as well, his fifth of the season. Jimmy Dowdell added a single as well before the rally ended.

“It wasn’t until the end when we were able to get to him,” Guilliams said. “I’ll give our guys credit for one thing, they didn’t give up. And when you are down that many runs late in a ballgame, that’s easy to do. But I don’t think our guys gave up, so I’m proud of them for that.”

The Statesmen, though, answered back for four more runs in the eighth before Witt Haggard shut down the Blazers in the home half to end it.

“It’s a long season, and there’s a lot of things that we have to get better at,” Guilliams said, as VSU hosts Georgia Southwestern at 6 p.m. Wednesday. “We just have to get back to work.”

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