DAHLONEGA, Ga. – Valdosta State finished the weekend 3-1 at North Georgia’s Captain D’s Classic Tournament in a powerful lineup of teams including No. 2 North Georgia, No. 4 Alabama-Huntsville and Tusculum with a record of 19-8.
The Blazers swept Tusculum, winning 3-0 Saturday and 3-1 Sunday. After VSU fell to North Georgia, 3-2, in eight innings Saturday, the Blazers rebounded to win, 5-4, Sunday to improve to 10-2 on the season.
Led by designated player Amanda McElheney, the Blazers put up 11 hits, three in the final inning to clinch the game against North Georgia. McElheney was three of four with two RBIs. Melessa Jackson tallied the winning two RBIs in the seventh inning on a one for two performance. Ashley Steinhilber also registered an RBI on a one for two day against North Georgia. Six other Blazers put up hits on the board.
Valdosta State threw all three pitchers at North Georgia with Krystle Robinson doing the heavy lifting. After Margaret Carter pitched 2.2 innings, Robinson pitched four. The two allowed 10 hits, six for Robinson, and four runs. The duo struck out four and walked seven.
Holly Satterfield cleaned up at the end with 0.1 innings pitched. She was able to get the strikeout VSU needed and the win.
In the first inning, Marti Littlefield reached on a fielder’s choice and went to second on Colette Rollins single. McElheney brought Littlefield home with a single to right field. The run would mark the first of three consecutive innings in which VSU scored to start the game.
Jordan Martin singled to center field to start the second inning. Ariel Shaw, pinch running for Martin, reached second on a sacrifice bunt from Clare Wamsley and scored when Steinhilber singled down the left side.
To start the third inning, Morgan Johnson singled to right field. A Littlefield sacrifice moved Johnson to second, then she went to third when Rollins put the ball in play. McElheney then notched her second RBI with a single to right field to plate Johnson.
Down, 3-0, North Georgia answered in the bottom of the third. Natasha Willemse walked and scored on a double from Ansley Williams. Two innings later, the Saints tied it with two runs. Pilar Harden singled and scored on a double from Katherine Martin. Then Martin scored on a single from Callie Fernandez.
With the game tied in the bottom of the sixth, the Saints scored the go ahead run. Victoria St. Clair walked and went to second on a sacrifice. Williams tapped one to center field to score St. Clair.
Down one, the Blazers answered. After Johnson struck out, Littlefield singled up the middle. Rollins was hit by a pitch the next at bat. McElheney struck out, but Natalia Morozova singled. With the bases loaded, Jackson ripped one down the right side to plate the winning runs for VSU.
North Georgia would load the bases in the bottom of the seventh, but, with two outs, Head Coach Thomas Macera sent in Satterfield to shut them down. She caught St. Clair looking to end the game and tally VSU’s first win over a ranked opponent this season.
Earlier in the day, the Blazers put on a strong performance against Tusculum as well. Satterfield pitched the entire game, only giving up two hits and one run while striking out four and walking three.
Morozova hit in two RBIs on a one for three performance while Steinhilber notched the final RBI on a one for four game. Littlefield, Martin and April Hutchens rounded out VSU’s five hits, all on one for three performances.
Scoreless until the fourth, VSU put up two runs for a lead the team would not give up. Both Rollins and McElheney walked setting up Morozova for more RBIs. She responded with a triple to left center to plate two runs and give her a team-leading 16 RBIs on the season.
In the sixth inning, Tusculum scored an unearned run when Lindsey Umburger made her way around the bases after reaching on an error. She scored on a Katy Stuckwish single.
Valdosta State, in hopes of putting a nail in Tusculum’s coffin, scored an insurance run in the seventh inning. Martin singled to center field and moves to second on a Wamsley sacrifice. Martin scored on Steinhilber’s double down the left field line. Tusculum’s seventh inning was just three up, three down.
The third-ranked Blazers will return to action in an important conference battle at No. 4 Alabama-Huntsville next weekend. The doubleheader starts at 2 p.m., est.