VALDOSTA, Ga. – No. 18 North Alabama rolled to a 10-0 victory in the first game and used a pair of unearned runs in the second game to win 5-3 to sweep a Gulf South Conference baseball doubleheader over Valdosta State at Billy Grant Field Saturday afternoon.
North Alabama (20-7, 5-2) opened the scoring in the first game as it took advantage of a pair of Blazer errors. Jake Sloan was hit by a pitch to open the inning and moved to third on a failed pick-off attempt by Josh Vining and a fielding error by Aaron Kicklighter. Dale Ricketts drove Sloan home as he singled through a drawn in infield for a 1-0 VSU lead.
The Lions pushed their lead to 4-0 in the fifth inning as they collected five hits in the frame. Nick McGregor scored the first run as he came around from second on a Blake Stroth single while Michael Schmidt scored when Stroth was caught in a run-down after being picked off first. With two outs in the frame, Josh Cyr doubled off the wall in left-center and scored as Sloan singled to right.
Valdosta State (9-15, 3-5) threatened in the bottom of the fifth as it loaded the bases with only one out. However, a grounder up the middle caught a piece of the mound and bounded into the air, allowing UNA shortstop Josh Carpenter to snag the ball and turn a double play to preserve the four run UNA lead.
The Blazers, who stranded eight men total in the game, also left runners on second and third in the seventh inning, while North Alabama closed out the scoring with six runs in the top of the ninth.
VSU starter Brett Kennedy allowed eight hits and five runs in eight and a third innings as he fell to 1-3 on the season. North Alabama starter Trey Mitchell surrendered seven hits while striking out four in a complete game while improving to 6-1.
The Lions also opened the scoring in the second game as Jared Mothershed hit a two-out pitch from VSU starter Kyle Teague over the wall in left for his third home run of the year.
A single and two errors led to another North Alabama run in the third while the Blazers evened the game as it plated a pair in the bottom of the inning. Kicklighter singled to open the VSU half of the third and moved to second when Chaz Bagwell was hit by a pitch. John Willner proceeded to hit a double to right that scored Kicklighter while a Christian Glisson base hit drove home Bagwell to tie the game at 2-2.
UNA scored its second unearned run of the game in the top of the fourth to retake a 3-2 lead before scoring two more, including Schmidt's first home run of the year, in the fifth to give the Lions a three-run lead.
Glisson hit his fourth home run of the year in the sixth to close the Blazers to within 5-3
Teague allowed six hits and five runs, only three earned, and struck out eight in five and two-thirds innings while falling to 1-4. North Alabama's Johnny Hornbuckle gave up seven hits and three runs in a complete game effort to improve to 4-2.
Willner led VSU offensively on the day as he was a combined 6-for-8 while Glisson was 3-of-6 with two RBI. Meanwhile, Sloan was 3-of-8 with four RBI to lead the Lions
The two teams conclude the three-game series with a single game beginning at 1:00 p.m. Sunday.