Valdosta Daily Times

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March 16, 2014

Baseball splits doubleheader against West Alabama

LIVINGSTON, Ala. — No. 8 Valdosta State claimed a 1-0 win in a pitcher's duel in the first game before falling 10-5 in the second game of a Gulf South Conference baseball doubleheader against West Alabama at Tartt Field Saturday.

Pitching ruled the first gameas Valdosta State (15-6, 8-5) tallied just three hits through the first five innings while West Alabama (16-8, 7-7) recorded just four. VSU's best scoring chance during the span came in the top of the third inning when it got runner's on second and third with only one out, but Tiger starter Zach Parks struck out Matthew Fears and induced a fly ball from Mike Reed to end the threat. Meanwhile, UWA loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the frame before a fly ball ended the inning with no runs scored.

The Blazers got the game's only run in the top of the sixth inning due to some aggressive baserunning by Reed and a throwing error by West Alabama. Reed singled to open the frame and, after a ground out by Bryant Hayman, broke for second on a hit-and-run play with Jimmy Dowdell at the plate. Dowdell hit a ground ball to third base and was thrown out at first, but Reed never stopped running at second and slid safely into third base. A throw from first in attempt to retire Reed sailed high, allowing him to jump back to his feet and race home.

UWA loaded the bases with only one out in the seventh inning only to see a double play end the inning before also loading the bases with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

However, Jarod Stanely came out of the bullpen and struck out Mitch Holgate to end the game for his third save of the season.

VSU's Josh Mann surrendered five hits and five walks and struck out four in 7.0 innings of work to improve to 6-0 on the year. Meanwhile, Parks pitched a complete game and allowed six hits and two walks to go along with the unearned run to fall to 5-1.

Fears finished the game 0-for-4 at the plate and did not reach base to see his 18-game hitting streak as well as he streak of reaching base safely in every game this year come to an end.

Valdosta State jumped out to an early lead in the second game as Fears singled in the first inning and scored as Hayman followed with his sixth home run of the season. The Blazers added two more runs in the top of the second as Fears doubled home Dominique Smedley and Reed, both of whom singled in the inning, to push the VSU lead to 4-0.

The Tigers sent all nine batters to the plate and tallied five hits to take the lead in the bottom of the third. Holgate, Adam Chamblee and Jack Cockrum all had run scoring hits in the frame, which ended with UWA leading 5-4.

The Blazers evened the game in the fifth inning when a Michael Gouge ground out plated Hayman, but West Alabama scored two runs in the bottom of the inning and three more in the sixth to close out the scoring.

Ethan Bornstein started for Valdosta State and gave up six hits and five runs, only two earned, in 2.2 innings in a no decision. Beau Blair fell to 2-1 as he surrendered two hits and two walks to go along with two runs in 2.0 innings. Tiger starter Fernando Gonzalez allowed seven hits and five runs in 5.0 innings to improve to 4-1.

Reed was 3-for-7 with two runs scored on the day to lead Valdosta State offensively while Gouge was 3-for-8 with a RBI.

The series concludes with a single game beginning at 2 p.m. today.

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