VALDOSTA, Ga. – In the season opener for both teams, Palm Beach Atlantic scored five runs in the top of the eighth inning to defeat Valdosta State 7-2 in non-conference baseball action at Billy Grant Field Friday evening in the first day of play at the Comfort Suites Classic.
With the score tied at 2-2 entering the top of the eighth inning, Palm Beach Atlantic got a walk and a fielder's choice to open the frame. A double by Anthony Ortiz put runners at second and third before Ethan Perla walked to load the bases. Ryan Gerber singled through the right side of the infield to score two runners. After a strikeout, a pair of errors on a ground ball by Joel Buchko plated two more runs while an Andres Vazquez single to left scored the fifth.
Palm Beach Atlantic opened the scoring in the top of the first inning as Gerber tripled to open the game and scored on a sacrifice fly by Vazquez only to have VSU respond with two runs in the bottom of the third inning to take the lead.
With one out in the Blazer half of the third, Ryan McClellan singled and moved to second as Dan Hoover followed with a bunt single. Jake Montgomery proceeded to double to right-center to score both base runners for a 2-1 Valdosta State lead.
The Sailfish evened the game at 2-2 in the top of the sixth inning as they took advantage of a pair of wild pitches by VSU relief pitcher Zach John. After retiring the first batter, John hit A.J. Steimel and struck out Ortiz. A base hit by Perla followed to move Steimel to second before the two wild pitches that evened the score.
Montgomery went 3-for-4 tolead Valdosta State offensively while McClellan and Hoover tallied one hit each. VSU starting pitcher Pete Whittingslow gave up three hits and one run while striking out six in five innings of a no decision. John took the loss as he surrendered two hits and three runs in two-and-a-third innings.
Gerber and Vazquez each had two hits for Palm Beach Atlantic while starting pitcher Nic Kovacs allowed five hits and no walks to go along with two runs in seven-and-a-third innings to earn the victory.
Valdosta State returns to action Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. when it hosts Lynn.