HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Alabama-Huntsville used a walk-off home run from Eric Deese to claim a 5-4 game one victory while Valdosta State got a pair of roundtrippers from John Willner in a game two 9-4 victory as the two schools split a Gulf South Conference baseball doubleheader at the UAH Baseball Complex Saturday afternoon.
Deese was the only batter to hit in the bottom of the ninth inning as he hit his fifth homer of the year out to left field off of Stephen Groves (2-1), who had not allowed a hit in the two previous innings of relief he had pitched in the game.
The home run by Deese came after VSU pinch runner Tyler Wooten scored via an error in the top of the ninth to tie the game at 4-4. Pinch hitter Christian Glisson hit a one-out single to start the VSU rally, before being lifted for Wooten, who moved to second on a passed ball. Two batters later, Joel Cardinal reached via a throwing error by UAH second baseman Corey Whittle and Wooten raced home on the play to set up the dramatic bottom of the fourth.
Valdosta State (15-19, 6-8) opened the scoring on a Bobby Triglia sacrifice fly in the top of the first inning while the Chargers (22-13, 6-4) scored two in the bottom of the fourth to take the lead. Each team also scored two runs in the sixth inning.
The Blazers never trailed in the second game as Willner and Ryan Noelte, the No. 1 and 2 hitters in the VSU lineup, combined to go 9-for-10 with five runs scored and seven driven in. Noelte doubled and Willner homered to open the game while Cardinal hit a one out single that plated Triglia for a 3-0 VSU lead after an inning of the game while Noelte singled and stole second before scoring on a Willner double in the second that posted the Blazers to a four run lead.
The duo teamed up for two more runs in the fourth as Noelte singled and Willner hit his second four-bagger of the game, but UAH got a run back in the bottom of the inning to cut its deficit to 6-1.
A two-run double by Noelte pushed the VSU advantage to 8-1 after five innings while Triglia scored an unearned run in the sixth for the final Blazer score of the game. Meanwhile, Alabama-Huntsville got two runs in the sixth and one in the seventh.
Kevin Rogers pitched a complete game, allowing eight hits and four runs, three earned, while striking out six to improve to 3-4 on the year. UAH's Ryan Griffin surrendered 10 hits and six runs in 3.1 innings to fall to 4-1.
Noelte finished the day 8-for-9 at the plate while Willner was 5-of-9 with five driven in.
The two teams conclude the three-game series with a single game beginning at 2:00 p.m. Eastern on Sunday.