PENSACOLA, Fla. – Valdosta State continues to roll with victories over West Florida Sunday to move to 41-2 on the season and an outstanding 24-0 in Gulf South Conference play. With the 5-2 and 4-3 wins, the Blazers push their record breaking winning streak to 35 consecutive victories.
Freshman Courtney Albritton led VSU in hitting with four hits in six at bats, scoring one run. Natalia Morozova tallied three hits in seven at bats while April Hutchens led the team in runs batted in with three. She was two for five with a double and two runs scored. Also picking up RBI on the day were Clare Wamsley, Angela O’Connor, Samantha Posey and Morgan Johnson.
The Blazers were able to put the first runs on the board in game one. After Ashley Steinhilber was hit by a pitch for the 13th time this season, O’Connor put the ball in play to force an error from West Florida. Wamsley was next to the plate and scored Steinhilber with a bunt. O’Connor scored later when Johnson put the ball in play for an early 2-0 advantage.
West Florida answered back in the bottom of the second inning with a single run, but the Blazers retaliated with three third-inning runs. First Marti Littlefield singled up the middle, and then Steinhilber hit into another West Florida error. With two runners on base, O’Connor sent a single to left field to plate Littlefield. Both Steinhilber and O’Connor scored on an Hutchens single up the middle for the 5-1 advantage.
The Argonauts could not answer until the seventh inning, but only countered with one run to give VSU game one by a score of 5-2.
Alanna Hadley improved to 21-1 on the season by striking out seven Argonauts in the opening game. She gave up four hits in seven innings of work and walked three. Brianna Hancock picked up her 13th win of the season to just one loss in game two. She struck out four, walked none and gave up eight hits and two earned runs in seven innings.
In game two, it was the Argonauts who struck first with a first-inning run. The Blazers did not score until the third inning, but they snagged a lead with two runs. Hutchens reached on a fielder’s choice followed by a single from Albritton. Hutchens scored on a Johnson single and Albritton came in on a fielder’s choice from Posey.
The 2-1 advantage was short live, however, because West Florida was able to score again in the bottom of the third inning. Then the Argonauts took the lead with a run in the fifth. With backs against the wall, the Blazers responded with a two-run sixth inning.
O’Connor started with a single and move to second on a Wamsley sacrifice. Hutchens knocked O’Connor in with a double to left field, and scored herself on a Posey double. With a 4-3 advantage, Hancock retired three straight batters in the sixth inning with a fly out to the outfield and two groundouts. Valdosta State couldn’t score in the seventh, but the Blazer defense held West Florida scoreless as well.
After giving up a leadoff single, the Blazers tallied three consecutive outs to clinch the game and stay undefeated in GSC action.
Valdosta State returns home next weekend to host Christian Brothers at 1 p.m. Saturday and Delta State at 1 p.m. Sunday.