Valdosta Daily Times

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April 17, 2014

Blazers try to garner momentum in GSC finale

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State snapped its six-game losing streak a week ago. Now the Blazers are hoping to wrap up its Gulf South Conference schedule with some momentum ahead of next month’s conference tournament.

Winners of two straight overall, the Blazers (23-16 and 13-12 in the GSC) conclude conference play when Lee visits Billy Grant Field for a three-game series that begins at 5 p.m. today. It concludes with a 1 p.m. doubleheader Saturday. VSU broke a six-game skid, both overall and in the conference, when it beat West Georgia 5-4 on Sunday and has the chance against the 26-17 Flames, who are 12-12 in the conference, to build some momentum.

VSU has some rolling after Wednesday’s win at No. 23 Georgia College. The Blazers racked up a season-high 19 hits against the Bobcats, led by Mike Reed’s five hits. Reed, a junior, is hitting. 371 with a league-high 47 runs and 20 stolen bases, tied for top in the GSC. Matthew Fears leads the team with a .380 average — second in the league — as seven Blazers are hitting .300 or better. That includes Bryant Hayman, who leads the team and the league with nine home runs, 50 RBIs and a .650 slugging percentage along with a .343 average that ranks just outside the top 10.

VSU is led on the mound by Dom DeMasi, who has thrown 70 innings with a 2.57 ERA and a league-best 66 strikeouts, and Josh Mann, who has 42 strikeouts and a 3.57 ERA in 58 innings.

The Flames’ top two arms are Jeremy Stawychny and Dustin Lawson, who have ERAs of 2.99 and 3.00 respectively while making 22 starts combined. Jeremy Bales has thrown 33 innings in 18 appearances out of the Lee bullpen with a 0.27 ERA.

Lee’s offenseis led by Nathan Wierzgac’s .404 average in 57 at-bates, while Derrick Pitts (.349), Zacary Hawkins (.322) and Siosi Poti (.300) are all hitting .300 or better as well. Poti has stolen 28 bases.

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