Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

February 13, 2013

Top-ranked Blazers sweep first home series


VALDOSTA — Valdosta State 12, Georgia Southwestern 6

Valdosta State broke a 3-3 tie with four runs in the fifth inning and five more in the sixth, and defeated Georgia Southwestern 12-6 in game 2.

The score was tied 3-3 heading into the bottom of the fifth when Albritton stepped up to the plate to start the inning. She saw a pitch she liked and hammered it into the Ashley Cinemas parking lot for her second home run of the day. Albritton’s homer put the Blazers ahead 4-3.

Morgan Johnson followed with a double just inside the left field line, and moved to third on Altman’s sacrifice bunt. Two batters later, King singled in front of a diving center fielder, and Johnson came home. Pitcher Ashley Cavender walked the next two batters to load the bases, then uncorked a wild pitch. King ran home to score, and when the catcher’s throw back to Cavender got away, Fran Johnson ran home as well, extending Valdosta State’s lead to 7-3.

Georgia Southwestern responded in the top of the sixth. Leading off the inning, Janna Anderson hit a line drive over the fence for a solo home run. Then after a pitching change, Nellie Moore crushed a pitch over the center field fence. Anderson and Moore’s back-to-back solo home runs cut the Blazers’ lead to 7-5.

Mason Moreland reached on an infield single and was bunted to second. Two batters later, Clifton hit what should have been an inning-ending ground ball to short, but Albritton booted it. Moreland never stopped running, and crossed home plate to make it 7-6.

But the Blazers put the game away with five runs in the bottom half of the sixth. A walk, an error and a sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third with one out. Altman followed with a line drive single to right, scoring Strickland and Albritton. Then Kiley Rusen hit a line drive down the third base line to bring Altman home. King singled and O’Connor walked, loading the bases with two outs. Ashley Steinhilber followed with a single to right, scoring Britt (who was running for Rusen) and King and increasing the Blazers’ lead to 12-6.

VSU’s Kenzi Reed blanked the Hurricanes in the seventh to close out the win.

Georgia Southwestern got on the board first in game 2. Moreland reached on an error to start the game, and moved up on a wild pitch and a stolen base. Jordan Miller’s ground out scored Moreland and gave the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead.

Valdosta State answered with two runs in its half of the first. Albritton walked, stole second, was bunted to third and scored on Rusen’s two-out single to right. An error and a walk loaded the bases, then O’Connor drew a bases loaded walk, which brought home Rusen and gave VSU a 2-1 lead.

McElroy scored on an error in the top of the second. Then in the top of the fourth, Knight’s infield single scored Anderson and gave the Hurricanes a 3-2 lead.

Fran Johnson tied the score at 3-3 with a home run over the center field fence leading off the bottom of the fourth.

Rusen went 2 for 4 with a run and two RBIs in game 2. King was 2 for 4 with two runs and one RBI. Altman and Steinhilber drove in two runs apiece.

Freshman Hanna Lythberg (2-0) was the winning pitcher, allowing four runs and six hits in five innings and striking out six. Only two of those runs were earned. Calhoun and Reed pitched one inning apiece.

This weekend, the Blazers will travel to Decatur, Ala. to play in the Charger Chill Out. They will play Indianapolis at noon and Lander at 4 p.m. on Saturday. On Sunday, they will face Palm Beach Atlantic at noon and Wayne State at 2 p.m.

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