VALDOSTA, Ga. – Valdosta State used a seven-run third inning to defeat Georgia Southwestern 12-1 in non-conference baseball action at Billy Grant Field Tuesday evening.
Valdosta State (9-10) jumped out to an early lead as it scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning. Matthew Fears opened the inning and was sacrificed to third before Bryant Hayman was hit by a pitch to put two runners on and advanced a base on a wild pitch that scored Fears. Three batters later, Cooper Lemonds singled through the right-side of the infield to bring Hayman home for a 2-0 VSU lead.
Georgia Southwestern (6-16) got a run back in the top of the third without the benefit of a hit. With one out in the third, John Duran reached base on a wild pitch on a swinging third strike and made it all the way to third when a throw on a pickoff attempt sailed into the right field corner. A sacrifice fly followed to cut the Blazer advantage to 2-1.
VSU sent 11 batters to the plate in the bottom of the inning as it blew the game open. Ryan McClellan doubled down the left field line to open the frame before Hayman and Jake Fields were hit by pitches to load the bases. Michael Gouge hit a sacrifice fly to score McClellan and Lemonds reached on an infield single to reload the bases while Hayman scored on a wild pitch. A Nick Rodda base on balls reloaded the bases and chased GSW starter Earl Dupree. Hunter Thompson greeted reliever Drew Cataldo with a single to center that scored Fields and Lemonds. Will Wilson proceeded to hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Rodda and Fears double to score Thompson. McClellan collected his second hit of the frame, a single up the middle, that scored Fears to give Valdosta State a 9-1 advantage.
A Hurricane error in the fourth inning led to a RBI single by Rodda while Fears doubled and scored on a Hayman single in the fifth to push the Blazer lead to 10 runs. Valdosta State added a run in the seventh while Georgia Southwestern got three in the eighth.
Ben Watson improved to 1-1 on the season as he gave up just one hit and struck out four in 3.0 innings of relief work.
Fears was 4-for-5 with four runs scored to lead Valdosta State offensively in the game. McClellan added three hits and Thompson and Lemonds two each as Valdosta State tallied 15 in the game.
Valdosta State returns to action Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. when it hosts Flagler at Billy Grant Field.