Valdosta Daily Times

April 7, 2014

‘Bad baseball’ costs Blazers against Chargers again

Jamie Wachter
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State coach Greg Guilliams summed up his Blazers’ play very succinctly Sunday.

“It was just bad baseball,” he said after Alabama-Huntsville took advantage of four errors and 14 walks to complete the Gulf South Conference series sweep 14-3 at Billy Grant Field. The Chargers won 13-3 and 12-7 on Saturday.

“It was just bad baseball all weekend. Our pitchers were unable to command their pitches. We had too many walks. We didn’t hit the ball well with runners in scoring position. We made some errors in the infield. Our pitchers didn’t do a good job fielding bunts. I probably did a poor job calling pitches.

“There’s plenty of blame to go around. It was just bad baseball.”

UAH (25-13, 14-7) needed just two hits to score four runs in the third to seize a lead it never relinquished. As was the case Saturday, defensive breakdowns proved costly for the 21-13 Blazers, who fell to 12-10 in the conference.

Following a leadoff single from Justin Riddle, three straight Chargers reached on errors as VSU starting pitcher Dominic DeMasi misfielded a bunt and threw wildly on another to go along with a Matthew Fears throwing error. After Conner McCain grounded out and Colton Simbeck added an RBI single, UAH led 5-1.

The defensive woes returned in the eighth where the Chargers blew the game open with six runs, with a two-run error on a throw wide of home helping spark the frame. Four of relief pitcher Beau Blair’s five walks — two intentional — didn’t help either. Simbeck added a two-run double off the wall.

“Going into the eighth inning we had given up four singles,” Guilliams said. “But we had given them 10 or 11 free bases, and that’s just self-inflicted.”

The Blazers, meanwhile, pounded out 14 hits against UAH starter Drew Eiland over 7 2-3 innings. However, VSU couldn’t come up with the key hit.

Trailing 1-0 in the first, Mike Reed doubled to open the home half and Hunter Thompson followed with a bunt single. Bryant Hayman, though, grounded into a double play, which plated Reed to tie it, but killed the rally. Back-to-back strikeouts helped to negate consecutive singles from Clint Carr and Reed to open the third, where VSU left the bases loaded.

The Blazers did claw back into it in the fifth where Carr again singled to open the inning and Thompson and Hayman then followed with one-out singles to make it 5-2. Fears then drove in Thompson with a sacrifice fly.

“When we had the opportunities, we just couldn’t come through,” Guilliams added. “We have a lot of things we need to work on.”

However a double play in the sixth and Carr, who went 3-for-3 with a walk, was thrown out trying to steal in the seventh to again stall rallies and UAH then blew the game open.