VALDOSTA, Ga. – Valdosta State batted around in the third inning and sent 17 batters to the plate in the sixth inning as the Blazers defeated West Alabama 17-2 in Gulf South Conference baseball action at Billy Grant Field Sunday afternoon.
West Alabama (16-12, 3-5) opened the scoring in the top of the third inning as it took advantage of three walks from Blazer starter Kevin Rogers. Rogers issued a free pass to Tyler Shaw to open the frame before Jay Jennings singled. Ladarrius Cole and Deon Williams followed with walks to force in Shaw, but Rogers responded by striking out the next three batters to hold UWA to a 1-0 advantage.
Valdosta State (14-17, 5-7) responded with five runs in the bottom of the inning to take the lead. Each of the first three batters in the frame singled to load the bases before a Ryan Noelte single drove home two runs. An Antonio Clark single scored a third run and two batters later Christian Glisson singled to right to score both Noelte and Clark for a 5-1 Blazer lead.
The Blazers added an unearned run in the fifth that the Tigers answered in the sixth, but VSU scored 11 more in the bottom of the sixth to seal the victory. Valdosta State tallied eight hits in the sixth, drew two walks and two hit by pitches while West Alabama committed three errors in the frame. Six of the inning's 11 runs were earned.
Rogers pitched into the sixth inning and allowed just four hits and two runs while walking seven and striking out six to improve to 2-4 on the season. Meanwhile, UWA's Barry Meeks surrendered six hits, three walks and eight runs, seven earned, in five and a third innings to fall to 3-2.
Aaron Kicklighter led the Blazers offensively as he was 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Noelte finished the contest 2-for-3 with three runs scored and two RBI while Tyler Reimer was also 2-for-4, including his fourth home run of the season, with two runs scored and two driven in. Overall, VSU pounded out 14 hits in the game.
Valdosta State returns to action Wednesday, April 6 when it travels to Tallahassee, Fla. to face NCAA Division I Florida State at Howser Stadium. First pitch is slated for 6:00 p.m.