CARROLLTON, Ga. - Valdosta State guaranteed itself a spot in the Gulf South Conference Baseball Tournament championship game while VSU pitcher Benjamin Weil set a new tournament record as the Blazers defeated West Alabama 2-1 in the winner's bracket game at Cole Field Tuesday evening.
Weil picked up his third victory in as many tournament appearances to set a new GSC Tournament record. The previous record of two victories was held by 13 different players.
Valdosta State (32-15) got on the board first as it scored a single run in the top of the fourth inning. Michael Gouge singled with one out in the fourth and scored two batters later when Jamie McMillan doubled to left field.
West Alabama (23-29) evened the game in the bottom of the seventh inning as D.J. Turo opened the inning with his fifth home run of the year, but the Blazers quickly answered with a run in the eighth.
Jake Fields doubled to open the Blazer half of the eighth inning and scored as Gouge followed with a double of his own, a shot over the head of Mitch Holgate at third and down the left field line.
Both teams had shots at adding more runs in the game as Valdosta State left runners in scoring position in the first, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth innings while the Tigers did the same in the first, second, sixth, seventh and eighth.
Weil came on after Josh Podoris singled after the Turo homer in the seventh and allowed just one hit in 2.2 innings to up his season record to 7-2. VSU starter Nick Fogarty allowed just five hits and a run while striking out six in 6.1 innings of a no decision.
Barry Meeks fell to 3-6 as he surrendered six hits and two runs in 7.0 innings.
Gouge was 2-for-2 with a run scored and one driven in to lead VSU offensively.
Valdosta State will play West Georgia on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m., but is now guaranteed of playing in Thursday's championship game.
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