Valdosta, GA - The bats came alive for Valdosta State in an important Gulf South Conference doubleheader Friday. Tallying 17 hits and 15 runs, the Blazers moved to 16-4 on the season and 7-3 in GSC play with two victories over West Florida.
Ashley Steinhilber and Colette Rollins led VSU in a 4-0 win to open the day while Natalia Morozova used a perfect performance to propel the Blazers to an 11-3 win in game two.
Valdosta State put up five hits in the first game to West Florida’s three. Samantha Posey was one for two while Marti Littlefield and Morozova were one for three. Littlefield and Posey each scored a run.
Steinhilber was a perfect one for one with two RBIs on a first inning homer. After the home run that also scored Littlefield, Steinhilber was hit by a pitch to get on base twice more in the game.
With an early 2-0 lead, Valdosta State played strong defense behind reigning GSC East Pitcher of the Week Holly Satterfield. She finished with seven strikeouts, two walks and just three hits allowed in seven innings.
In the fourth inning, Rollins stepped up with her second home run of the year. Then, in the fifth, Posey showed how opportunistic she can be. After singling to left center, she took two bases on a sacrifice bunt from Morgan Johnson. Then Posey scored when West Florida shortstop Danielle Kildow committed an error on a Morozova hit.
While Morozova reached on that error, she took no chances in game two. She was a perfect three for three with three runs scored, four RBIs and her team leading third home run of the season.
West Florida started the second game much like VSU started game one. After two walks and a sacrifice, West Florida’s first baseman, Crystal Thompson hit a double down the left line that scored two for an early 2-0 lead.
Valdosta State did not answer until the second inning, but it was Morozova that did it with a solo home run. Then the flood gates opened for VSU in the third.
Melessa Jackson started the inning with a walk and moved to second on a sacrifice from Posey. Then Johnson legged out a single to second base followed by Littlefield reaching first on an error from third baseman Amber Ingram.
With the bases loaded, Steinhilber dropped a ball over the infield just past second base that scored Jackson and Johnson. After Steinhilber, VSU rifled off four more singles from Morozova, Rollins, Sarah Vaughn (pinch hitting for Jordan Martin) and April Hutchens. The onslaught netted VSU four more runs for a 7-2 lead.
The Argonauts were able to answer with one run in the fourth, but VSU came back with four more runs in the bottom of the inning. Johnson started the inning with a walk and scored on a Littlefield double to right field. Steinhilber singled to left, and then Morozova tallied two of her four RBIs in the game with a single to left field. Later in the inning, Hutchens doubled to left to score Morozova and give Valdosta State a large enough lead to end the game after five innings.
Margaret Carter gave up one hit in the fifth, but it was not enough to do any damage. Valdosta State held West Florida scoreless in the inning and took the five-inning win.
Carter pitched 1.2 innings and allowed two hits. She struck out one and earned a save. Krystle Robinson started the game. In 3.1 innings, she gave up three hits, three runs and five walks. She struck out five.
Valdosta State returns to action against Lambuth at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Softball Complex.