VALDOSTA -- Valdosta State senior reserve outfielder Scott Brinson connected on a three-run homer in the seventh inning Wednesday, capping off a 13-3 Blazers' win over Thomas University in seven innings at Billy Grant Field.
Brinson's reward for his walk-off long ball?
A shoe full of chalk, compliments of an anonymous Blazer prankster.
"He just keeps hitting those homeruns, they can put as much chalk in those shoes as they want to," Blazers' head coach Tommy Thomas said. "It just goes to show the sense of humor this team has."
A month after Valdosta State had to battle to pull out a 16-13 win over Thomas in Thomasville, the Blazers' bats pounded the Night Hawks Wednesday in the last game before Gulf South East play begins Saturday in Harrogate, Tenn., against Lincoln Memorial.
One big difference-Valdosta State (14-9) used one pitcher this time around instead of five.
Blazers' starter Bryan Bennett (3-1) threw seven innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and struck out three to get the win.
"The difference was Bryan Bennett came in and pitched with concentration and looked like a pitcher [Wednesday] night," Thomas said. "Not only is that good for him, that's good for this team because we can start to get a little deeper into our [pitching] lineup."
The Blazers grabbed an early 6-0 lead in the first three innings, highlighted by Matt Rucker's two-run single in the second inning. Micah Smith added to the offensive output in the third inning when he hit the lucky numbers, doubling off the Georgia Lotto sign in left center, scoring David Lewis from first.
"The offense has just been clicking of late," Thomas said. "Early on we couldn't crack double digits in runs to save our lives. We're starting to hit the ball [now] and that gives me a little better feeling heading into conference weekend."
The Blazers put up three runs in the fifth, coming on Josh Owsley's run-scoring single and Greg Connell's two-run single. Valdosta State led 9-2 at that point and Brinson sent everyone home early with his pinch-hit blast in the seventh.
"It was great to see Scott Brinson come off the bench and hit a tape-measure homerun," Thomas said. "If I give him another chance and he does something like that again, look for him to play as much as any other outfielder."
Ryan Chromek led the Blazers with a 3-for-4 day at the plate with three runs scored. Owsley and David Lewis each went 2-for-4 with one RBI apiece. Connell was 1-for-4 with three RBI.
David Gomillion led Thomas (12-11) at the plate, going 3-for-3 with one RBI.
Valdosta State opens Gulf South action Saturday at noon with a doubleheader against Lincoln Memorial (radio: 1450 AM). The Blazers and Railsplitters play a single game on Sunday at 1 p.m.
The Blazers return home Wednesday at 6 p.m. against Columbus State. Tuesday's rainout with Flagler has been rescheduled for April 1 at 5 p.m. in St. Augustine.
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