VALDOSTA, Ga. - Bryant Hayman hit a two-out, two-strike offering down the right field line to score Daniel Hoover from second base and lift Valdosta State to a 4-3 victory over Columbus State in non-conference baseball action at Billy Grant Field Wednesday evening.
With the win, VSU improved to 6-2 while Columbus State fell to 3-9.
After a strikeout opened the bottom of the ninth inning, Hoover singled to left for Valdosta State's first hit since the fifth inning. Another strikeout followed, by Hoover stole second on the swinging third strike to move into scoring position. Hayman stepped to the plate and fouled off the first pitch before looking at strike two. After fouling off another pitch, he lined a pitch over the head of Cougar first baseman Cameron Scott to score Hoover for the winning run.
The early innings of the game looked as if the two teams were going to play a high-scoring affair as both teams scored a single run in the first and two in the third.
J.D. Pullen opened the game with a base hit and moved to third when Jimmy Obermark also singled. After a strike out, Scott grounded out to score Pullen, marking the first run allowed this season by VSU starter Nick Fogarty, who pitched a perfect game in his last outing against Paine after opening the year with six shutout innings against Lynn.
VSU wasted little time in answering the run in the bottom of the inning as the first two batters of the Blazer half of the frame, Jake Montgomery and Hoover doubled. The Blazer went on to load the bases with no outs as Matthew Fears walked and Hayman singled, but were unable to push across another run to leave the score tied at 1-1 after an inning.
Columbus State moved back in front in the top of the third as Obermark doubled with one out and Ryan Lewis reached on an infield single to put runners at the corners. Lewis was picked off first by Fogarty for the second out of the inning, but Obermark stole home two pitches later to put the Cougars in front by a run. Scott followed with a walk and Brett Teschner reached on an error. Two more walks by Fogarty forced home Scott to establish a 3-1 CSU lead.
Valdosta State again quickly got the run back as Fears singled to open the home half of the third inning and, two batters later, moved to second on a Jamie McMillan single. A wild pitch moved both runners up a base, allowing Fears to score on a Nick Rodda ground out while McMillan came home when Michael Gouge reached on a two-out error.
Hoover and Hayman each had two hits apiece to lead Valdosta State, which finished the game with nine hits total. Benjamin Weil upped his season record to 1-0 as he recorded the final two outs of the top half of the ninth inning.
Aaron Jividen finished the game 4-for-4 to lead Columbus State while Pullen and Obermark each had two hits. Matt Kuhlenberg surrendered just the two ninth inning hits and one run while striking out five in 2.2 innings to fall to 0-1.
Valdosta State returns to action Friday, February 22 when it opens a four-game series against Wayne State. The series, which originally featured one game on Friday, two on Saturday and one on Sunday, will now open with a doubleheader beginning at 3:30 p.m. Friday, followed by a single game at 2:00 p.m. Saturday and one game at 1:00 p.m. Sunday.