SAINT LEO, Fla. – Valdosta State moved to 6-2 on the season with a 7-4 victory over Saint Leo and a 4-3 loss to Pittsburg State in Florida Saturday.
In the first game of the day, Valdosta State started slow as the team has tended to do in the early going of the season. The Blazers fell behind, 1-0, to Saint Leo in the third inning, but answered in the fifth.
Ashley Steinhilber started the inning for VSU with a double to left center. She scored on a Colette Rollins double immediately afterward to tie the game.
After holding Saint Leo without a run in the fifth, VSU exploded for four sixth-inning runs. Samantha Posey led off the inning with a single, and Marti Littlefield followed it with a double to left field. Natalia Morozova made it three consecutive hits for VSU with a single to right field to score both Littlefield and Fran Johnson, pinch running for Posey.
After a sacrifice bunt from Clare Wamsley, Steinhilber singled up the middle to score Morozova to complete a four-running inning and give VSU the 5-1 lead.
Saint Leo was able to answer with two runs in the bottom of the sixth, but Valdosta State came back to score two more in the seventh inning to extend the lead. Morgan Johnson put an exclamation point on the win with a home run to start the final inning.
After that, Morozova reached on a walk and went to second on Saint Leo’s second consecutive walk. Erika Trojan’s single down the left side scored Morozova to give VSU its seventh run. Saint Leo was only able to answer with run in the bottom of the seventh to secure VSU’s sixth win of the season.
In 5.2 innings of work against Saint Leo, Alanna Hadley allowed eight hits, two earned runs and walked four. She struck out five to earn the victory. Courtney Gunby cleaned up for the save. She allowed one earned run, walked three and struck out one.
The Pittsburg State Gorillas had two strong innings in the third and fourth of the second game. The Gorillas scored two runs in each inning for a 4-0 lead.
Valdosta State threw four pitchers at the Gorillas, starting Gunby for just 0.1 innings, followed by Brianna Hancock for 2.1 innings. Hadley and Julia Fink finished the game with Hadley going 0.2 innings and Fink finishing up with 3.2 innings. The group combined for six strikeouts, four from Hancock. They gave up six walks, four earned runs and five hits.
Valdosta State started to mount a comeback in the bottom of the fourth inning. Courtney Albritton started the inning reaching second on a two-base error by Pittsburg State’s second baseman. Albritton went to third on a M. Johnson double and scored VSU’s first run on a Posey ground out. After that, Johnson went to third on a Littlefield single, but Morozova hit into a double play to end the inning.
Pittsburg State would not score again, but the Blazers put a run up in both the fifth and sixth innings. Wamsley walked to lead off the fifth, and Steinhilber reached on a fielder’s choice. April Hutchens doubled to centerfield to score Steinhilber.
In the sixth, M. Johnson doubled to left center, went to third on a ground out and scored on a sacrifice fly from Littlefield. Unfortunately, the Blazers could not keep momentum and could not score a tying run in the seventh despite two base runners.
The Blazers will look to improve Sunday against Lindenwood and Tampa at 9 and 11 a.m. respectively.