VALDOSTA -- Two impressive pitching performances: two Blazer baseball Gulf South Conference wins. One record-tying win for a 36-season veteran coach: priceless.
Valdosta State (34-14, 11-6 GSC) held Lincoln Memorial to one run in Friday's doubleheader at Billy Grant Field and took the first two games of the series, 3-1, 5-0. To top it off, Blazers coach Tommy Thomas tied the Division II record for most career wins with 1,198.
Thomas can break John Scolina's (Cal Poly Pomona) record today at 1 p.m. with a victory on Billy Grant Field. But more importantly, says Thomas, a win will keep the Blazers GSC tournament hopes alive.
"I've said all along it [the record] is not that big a thing with me," Thomas said. "But I'm also honest in saying it would be a gratifying thing."
VSU 5, Lincoln Memorial 0
The Blazers jumped on Lincoln Memorial freshman pitcher Alex Shedden in the first inning for four runs, two coming on Scott Fletcher's bases loaded single which scored Josh Grube and Sammy Watson.
"We know what's going on in the conference," Fletcher said. "Our backs are against the wall right now. We just had to get on [Lincoln Memorial] quick."
Watson tripled in the fifth and then with two out, stole home to give VSU a 5-0 lead.
VSU junior starting pitcher Adam Lingenfelter (7-4) never was threatened and pitched a seven-inning shutout in the second game, allowing five hits with eight strikeouts. Lingenfelter, who has started game one in every conference series this season, liked getting the call in game two.
"My arm is a little tired," said Lingenfelter, who's had Tommy John surgery and missed the last two seasons. "I needed some rest for next weekend."
Seven of the nine Blazer batters got hits. Sammy Watson went 2-for-3 with one RBI at the plate and scored two runs. Fletcher went 1-for-3 with two RBIs.
VSU 3, Lincoln Memorial 1
VSU got a dominant pitching performance from starter Davey Covey, his last start at Billy Grant Field, en route to a game one win.
"This was the last home game ever for me, so I was pretty stoked," Covey said. "We've got 'mighty' Jacques Wattecamps on the mound [today] and we're just going to take care of business and roll it on in to next weekend [at North Alabama]."
Covey cruised through seven scoreless innings before the Railsplitters (3-37, 2-15 GSC) did any damage.
Lincoln Memorial cut the Blazers lead to 3-1 in the top of the eight on Brad Lehrmann's two out single, scoring Matt Alred from third.
The Railsplitters wouldn't cross home plate again, but they would make the ninth inning a little interesting.
Covey, starting the opener of a three-game series for the first time, put the tying run on first in the top of the ninth with two walks. But closer Render Parkman entered with two outs and struck out Alred to end the game.
Covey (8-1) pitched 8 2/3 innings, allowing one run on five hits with six strikeouts.
VSU's two senior Scotts helped to manufacture runs in the fourth inning with VSU up 1-0.
Scott Simpson scored from second on Scott Fletcher's comebacker up the middle, after Simpson reached on an infield single and then advanced to second on a throwing error.
The Blazers added another run when Fletcher stole second and scored on Jake Cosper's double down the left field line for a 3-0 lead.
Cosper went 2-for-3 with a RBI. Fletcher went 1-for-3 with a RBI and a run scored.
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