FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Valdosta State saw a ninth inning lead slip away in the first game before blowing out Nova Southeastern in the second game as the Blazers fell 3-2 in 11 innings before winning 14-1 in seven innings.
Nova Southeastern (7-2) scored first in the first game as it plated a run on a Nikko Echevarria single in the third inning, only to have Valdosta State (3-7) score single runs in the seventh and eighth. A Josh Vining fielder's choice scored Bobby Triglia in the seventh for the Blazers while a Joel Cardinal single in the eighth plated Marc Overstreet to give VSU a 2-1 advantage.
Dusty Maggs doubled to open the bottom of the ninth inning before being lifted for pinch runner Matt Seese. A ground out moved Seese to third before an Alex Marrero struck out for the second out in the frame. VSU closer Bud Fuller appeared to get out of the jam as he fielded a grounder from Ray Navarro, but his throw to first on the play got by Triglia at first, allowing Seese to score the tying run.
Valdosta State threatened in the top of the 11th as Cameron Graves walked and stole second before a fielder's choice ended the Blazer half of the frame.
Luis Penate scored thewinning run in the bottom of the 11th as he doubled to open the Shark half of the inning and scored two batters later on a Haven Fitzsimmons single.
Blazer starter Brett Kennedy went six innings and surrendered four hits and a run while striking out five in a no decision while Spencer Butler fell to 1-3 after allowing the two hits and one run in the 11th. Nova Southeastern's Ryan Whelan improved to 2-0 after surrendering just a walk in one inning of relief work.
The Blazers jumped out early in the second game as they scored one run in the first, on a Tyler Reimer triple that plated Christian Glisson, before scoring eight more in the second.
Triglia was hit by a pitch to open the Blazer second inning before Antonio Clark singled. A sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position, allowing Triglia to score on a Ryan Noelte hit and Clark to come home on a John Willner single. Cardinal was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Glisson doubled to score two before Reimer drove in two more with a single. A triple by Graves and a sacrifice fly by Triglia closed out the second inning scoring, giving VSU a 9-1 lead.
The Blazers added two more runs on RBI singles by Aaron Kicklighter and Noelte in the fourth before the Sharks scored their only run of the game in the bottom of the frame.
Glisson hit his second home run of the season in the fifth, a shot that plated Cardinal as well, while Kicklighter drove in a run with a single in the seventh to close out the scoring.
Kyle Teague started and allowed four hits and a run while striking out nine in five and two-thirds innings to move to 1-0 on the season for the Blazers. Sean Tighe allowed seven hits and eight runs in an inning and a third to fall to 0-2 for NSU.
Glisson, Clark and Noelte all collected three hits on the day to lead VSU offensively.
Valdosta State returns to action Wednesday, February 23 when they take on Georgia College at Billy Grant Field. First pitch is slated 4:30 p.m.