VALDOSTA, Ga. – Second-ranked West Florida cruised to a 15-1 victory in the first game, while Valdosta State claimed a 3-2 extra innings win in the second game of a Gulf South Conference baseball doubleheader from Valdosta State at Billy Grant Field Saturday afternoon.
West Florida (14-4, 1-1) opened the game one scoring with a run in the top of the first inning as lead-off man Taye Larry reached on an infield single and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Dustin Lawley.
The Argonauts took advantage of a couple of Blazer errors in the fifth to up their lead to 6-0. With one out, Larry singled up the middle before Leo Lamarche hit a ground ball to Aaron Kicklighter at short. Kicklighter was unable to field the ball, putting runners on the corner for Lawley, who singled up the middle to plate Larry. A Greg Pron single to left scored Lamarche for the second run of the inning while Josh Huggins loaded the bases with a single, allowing Lawley and Pron to come home on a Eric Kroll single to center. Huggins also scored in the frame as a throw home on a Kenny Stalls fielder's choice eluded Josh Vining.
UWF hit a pair of home runs in the sixth inning to push its lead to 9-0 before its final six runs in the seventh.
Valdosta State's Adam Whitlock hit his first home run of the year with two outs in the seven to close out the scoring.
Kyle Teague fell to 1-2 on the year as he allowed six runs, four earned, on seven hits in five innings of work. Jason Postill improved to 5-0 as he gave up six hits, four walks and a run while striking out four in a complete game effort.
After leaving nine runners on base in the first game, Valdosta State (6-11, 1-1) stranded four more through the first three innings of the second game before taking their first lead of the day with a run in the fifth.
Chaz Bagwell reached on an infield single to open the fifth and was sacrificed to second while advancing to third on an errant throw by UWF starter Ben Hawkins on a pickoff attempt. With two outs, Hawkins threw a wild pitch which allowed Bagwell to race home for a 1-0 VSU lead.
Pron evened the game at 1-1 in the top of the sixth as he hit a full count, two out pitch from VSU starter Brett Kennedy over the left-center field wall. After the Pron home run, the Argonauts got runners on second and third via a walk and a double to right, but Kennedy struck out Stalls to end the threat.
The Blazers left two more batters on base in both the sixth and seventh innings before Huggins hit a two-out home run in the eighth to put West Florida in front.
Joel Cardinal answered the Huggins home run with his third roundtripper of the year in the bottom of the eighth before Marc Overstreet drove in the winning run with a single in the ninth. With one out in the ninth, John Willner reached on a fielding error by Brandon Brewer and advanced to second on a bunt single by Antonio Clark. Overstreet proceeded to hit a 2-2 pitch through the right-side of the infield, allowing Willner to score the winning run.
Kennedy allowed four hits and one run while walking three and striking out five in seven innings on the mound. Hawkins gave up seven hits and one unearned run while striking out eight in six and a third innings. Bud Fuller improved to 1-0 as he allowed one hit and struck out two in two innings while Jordan Rasinski fell to 0-1 after allowing three hits and two runs, one earned, in an inning and two-thirds.
Christian Glisson and Antonio Clark each tallied three hits in the two games to lead Valdosta State offensively while Tyler Reimer and Cameron Graves finished with two each.
Dustin Lawley tallied three hits and six RBI in the first game, but was held hitless in the second game. Larry led the Argonauts with four hits on the day.
The two teams conclude the three-game series on Sunday with a single game beginning at 1:00 p.m. at Billy Grant Field.