COLUMBUS, Ga. - For the second straight game, Valdosta State defeated a Top 25 team as the Blazers doubled up No. 10 Columbus State 12-6 Wednesday night at Ragsdale Field.
Valdosta State (24-16) took advantage of a pair of CSU errors in the second inning to race out to an early lead. Kevin Cruz singled to open the top half of the second before Jimmy Dowdell reached on an error that moved Cruz to third. Hunter Thompson singled Cruz home before a Matt Fitzsimmons sacrifice bunt moved both base runners into scoring position. Clint Carr followed with a ground ball that was booted at second base to allow Dowdell to score while a Mike Reed ground out scored Thompson. Michael Gouge singled home Thompson for the final run of the inning to put VSU in front 4-0.
The Cougars (34-13) got a run back in the third inning before scoring four in the fourth to take the lead. CSU got just two hits in the fourth inning, but saw Valdosta State starter Josh Mann surrendered a hit, hit a batter and walk another before being lifted. Jarod Stanley was greeted by a two-run double from Brendan Kelly and also walked a batter while Zakk White came on to walk to more batters, with each forcing in a run to give Columbus State a 5-4 lead before Dom DeMasi came out of the bullpen and struck out both batters he faced in the inning to end the threat.
The Blazers regained the lead in the sixth inning with three runs. Cruz walked to open the inning before Dowdell singled and Thompson doubled Cruz home. Three batters later, Reed singled both base runners home to put VSU on top 7-5.
CSU got to within 7-6 with a run in the bottom of the seventh only to have Valdosta State score five runs, only two hits, in the top of the ninth to close out the scoring. Fears doubled home two runs in the ninth while Cruz had a two-run single.
DeMasi allowed four hits and a run while striking out six in 5.2 innings to improve to 7-3 on the season. Cruz was 3-for-4 with three runs scored and two driven in to lead Valdosta State offensively while Thompson was 2-of-4 with two runs scored and two driven in. Gouge also had two hits in the game.
Valdosta State's home game against Thomas, scheduled for Saturday, has been cancelled. The Blazers close out their 2014 regular season schedule next Tuesday when they host No. 27 Georgia College at Billy Grant Field at 5:00 p.m.