VALDOSTA, Ga. - A day after surrendering four unearned runs in a loss to West Florida, Valdosta State took advantage of three Argonaut errors to score five unearned runs in defeating UWF 5-2 in Gulf South Conference action at Billy Grant Field Sunday afternoon.
With the win, Valdosta State clinched the GSC East Division No. 4 seed in next weekend's Gulf South Tournament in Millington, Tenn. and gave retiring VSU head coach Tommy Thomas a victory in his last home game.
The Argonauts (36-17, 10-8) wasted little time in getting on the board as they opened the scoring in the top of the first inning. With two outs in the frame, Bo Williams singled through the left-side of the infield and moved to second when Clay Wallace was hit by a pitch. Jacob Whisenhunt followed with a double to right-center to bring home Williams for the first run of the game.
UWF pushed its lead to 2-0 in the second. Kyle Andrews singled to open the inning and stole second. A fielding error on a Logan Whitley ground ball moved Andrews to third, allowing him to score on Kyle Brown's suicide squeeze bunt.
The Blazers (27-28, 8-10) struck back in the fifth, scoring three runs for a 3-2 advantage. Calem Ray reached on an error by Wallace at short to open the frame and advanced to third when Richard Flores successfully executed a hit-and-run. Justin Hill followed two batters later with a line drive base hit to left, driving in Ray. Chris Harris was hit by a pitch to load the bases before Nick Copeland singled to right, his first hit in 11 at-bats in the series, to score both Flores and Hill.
Valdosta State upped its lead to 4-2 in the seventh as it again took advantage of a West Florida error. Justin Hill reached on an error by Lee Huggins at third to open the inning before being lifted for pinch-runner Nick Phillips. Phillips was sacrificed to second and two batters later, Copeland singled to right-center to bring home Phillips.
West Florida's third error of the day led to VSU's fifth run in the eighth. Justin Huff doubled to open the inning and was sacrificed to second by Ray. After a strikeout, Rance Morgan hit a pop up that was dropped by Brown in short rightfield, allowing Huff to score for a 5-2 VSU lead.
VSU's Will Thompson allowed just four hits, only one of which came after the second inning, and walked three batters while striking out six as he pitched his second complete game of the season to improve to 4-1. Hill finished the game with two hits, a run scored and a run driven in while Copeland was two-of-four at the plate with three RBI.
Jonathan Weaver (4-5) took the loss for the Argonauts after allowing two hits and an unearned run in two-thirds of an inning. Four different UWF players finished the game with a hit.
Valdosta State will face the West Division No. 1 seed, which is yet to be determined, on Saturday, May 5 in the first round of the GSC Tournament. VSU will open play in the tournament at 2:00 p.m.
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