VALDOSTA, Ga. – Valdosta State tallied a total of 30 hits to sweep a Gulf South Conference baseball doubleheader from West Georgia on Saturday. The Blazers won game one 10-0 in seven innings and claimed game two 12-4.
With the sweep, Valdosta State improves to 21-25, including a 9-11 mark in Gulf South Conference play, and qualifies for the 2011 Gulf South Conference Tournament next weekend in Millington, Tenn. Meanwhile, West Georgia falls to 18-29 and 5-14 in league action.
Valdosta State took advantage of a lead-off walk in the first inning and sent 11 batters to the plate in the second to grab an early lead. Ryan Noelte received the free pass in the first for the Blazers and scored on a two-out single by Cameron Graves while Joel Cardinal walked, stole second and scored on a one-out double by Aaron Kicklighter in the second.
Steven Groves, who made the defensive plays of the day with a pair of diving catches at third base in the top of the second inning, followed with a double to plate Kicklighter and scored as Noelte followed with a single. A single by Antonio Clark and an intentional walk to Christian Glisson loaded the bases before Graves singled to left-center to drive in both Noelte and Clark. John Willner singled home Glisson for the sixth VSU run of the frame to give the Blazers a 7-0 lead.
Bobby Triglia, Groves and Noelte added RBI singles in the fifth inning to push the Valdosta State advantage to 10-0.
Noelte was 3-for-3 with two runs scored and two driven in to lead VSU offensively in the game while Willner was 3-of-4. Graves, who also had three RBI, Glisson, Groves and Kicklighter all tallied two hits in the game as the Blazers pounded out 16.
Kevin Rogers improved to 4-5 as he allowed just two hits, a pair of singles in the third inning, in a complete game effort. He walked four batters and hit two while walking out three while allowing only one base runner to reach third base in the contest. Jared Slaven fell to 4-4 as he surrendered six hits and seven runs in just an inning and a third.
Valdosta State jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the second inning of game two as it sent 12 men to the plate in the frame. Cardinal, Kicklighter and Chaz Bagwell tallied RBI singles while Noelte added a suicide squeeze and a fifth run scored on a two-out fielding error by Wolf second baseman Stuart Drew the first time through the order in the frame. Triglia, who had singled and scored earlier in the frame, also drew a bases loaded walk to drive home the sixth and final run while also chasing UWG starter Jammie Sexton.
A sacrifice fly in the third allowed West Georgia to cut its deficit to 6-1, but the Blazers responded with six runs in the bottom of the inning to push their advantage to 11 runs. Josh Vining hit his second home run of the year and Bagwell added a run-scoring double before four Wolf errors allowed the Blazers to score three unearned runs in the frame.
The Wolves added a pair of runs on two hits and a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning to close to within 12-3 while three hits in the sixth closed UWG to within eight runs.
Brett Kennedy, who struck out seven batters, surrendered nine hits and four runs, one unearned, in six-plus innings to improve to 5-4. Sexton fell to 3-6 after giving up seven hits and six runs, four earned, in an inning and two-thirds.
Bagwell was 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI to lead Valdosta State in the game. Vining also had three hits while Graves and Triglia each registered two as the Blazers recorded 14 in the contest.
The two teams conclude the three-game series with a single contest beginning at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. The Valdosta State seniors will be honored prior to the contest.