Valdosta, GA - Valdosta State got a pair of strong pitching performances as it swept a non-conference doubleheader 11-3 and 16-1 from Paine in baseball action at Billy Grant Field Saturday.
Valdosta State (4-0) scored first in the first game in the bottom of the fourth inning. Mike Reed singled to open the frame, the first VSU hit of the game, and stole second to move into scoring position. A hit-and-run moved Reed to third base while an error on the play allowed him to score for a 1-0 Valdosta State lead.
The Blazers upped their lead to 5-0 in large part to two more errors by the Lions. Clint Carr walked with one out in the frame and moved to second on a failed pickoff attempt. With two outs in the frame, Matthew Fears hit a ground ball to shortstop that got under the glove of Darian Alston to allow Carr to score. Fears stole second and third before scoring on a Reed single before Bryant Hayman homered down the left field line
Paine (1-6) got two runs back in the top of the seventh inning. Demonta Streeter singled to open the inning before Joseph Graves also reached on a one-out hit. Two batters later, Jonathan Richey was hit by a pitch before Avery Wilson reached on an infield single that plated Streeter. A throwing error by Kevin Cruz on the play allowed the second run to come home and cut the VSU advantage to 5-2.
Valdosta State responded with four more runs in the bottom of the seventh, including a three-run home run by Hayman to push their lead to seven runs while the Blazers got two more runs in the eighth and the Lions one in the ninth.
Dom DeMasi improved to 1-0 on the season as he scattered five hits and struck out eight batters in six innings on the mound.
Paine got a pair of hits in the top of the first inning to get on the board first in the second game. Fentress Henderson reached on a two-out single and came around to score when Jarell Williams followed with a double to left-center for a 1-0 run.
VSU gained the lead in the bottom of the inning in large part to wildness by PC starter Adam Martin. Martin hit Fears to open the inning before Reed singled. A fly out moved both base runners up a base before Jimmy Dowdell hit a sacrifice fly that scored Fears. Martin proceeded to walk Kevin Cruz and hit both Michael Gouge and Matt Fitzsimmons to score Reed for a 2-1 Blazer lead.
Valdosta State pushed its lead to 5-1 in the second inning. Dominique Smedley singled to open the frame and advanced to third when a ground ball by Fears was misplayed. A double by Reed scored both base runners while, after a dropped fly ball on a ball hit by Hayman, Reed also came home when Cruz hit a sacrifice fly.
A throwing error on a Fears single and a run-scoring single by Hayman moved the VSU advantage to 7-1 in the third inning while the Blazers added seven more runs in the fourth when they sent 13 batters to the plate. Valdosta State got just one hit in the fourth, but drew six walks and had three batters hit by a pitch.
The Blazers scored two more runs in the fifth to close out the scoring.
Josh Mann allowed four hits and one run while striking out eight batters in five innings as he improved to 2-0.
Reed went 5-of-7 with five runs driven in and six scored on the day to lead VSU offensively. Hayman was 3-for-7 with six runs driven in and three scored.
The two teams close out the three-game series with a single game at Billy Grant Field beginning at 1:00 p.m. Sunday.