HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Valdosta State used a five-run sixth inning to take a slugfest 16-12 from Alabama-Huntsville in the rubber game of a Gulf South Conference baseball series at UAH Baseball Complex Sunday.
The two teams entered the final inning with the scored tied 11-11 before the Blazers (16-19, 7-8) took advantage of a one-out error to score four runs. Ryan Noelte opened the ninth inning with his fourth hit of the game and moved to second when Antonio Clark was hit by a pitch. After a sacrifice bunt and an intentional walk loaded the bases, Bobby Triglia hit a ground ball to first base that scored Noelte. The ball was misplayed by UAH first baseman Jon McKinney, allowing Triglia to reach base safely and Clark to also trot home. Tyler Reimer followed with a double to left to score Cameron Graves, who had reached via the walk, and Triglia while Josh Vining hit a single to plate Reimer.
The game saw both teams squander leads as VSU raced out to a 6-0 advantage over the course of its three at-bats. John Willner opened the scoring with his sixth home run of the year in the first inning before Aaron Kicklighter opened the third with a homer as well. Noelte singled and scored on an error later in the inning while Triglia delivered a run-scoring single and Joel Cardinal a two-run hit to give Valdosta State its largest lead of the game.
The Chargers (22-14, 7-5) responded with nine runs in the bottom of the third inning to claim a three-run advantage. UAH sent 12 men to the plate in the frame and grabbed the lead when Eric Deese hit a two-out grand slam that plated the frame's final four runs.
Valdosta State responded with a run-scoring single by Noelte in the fourth before evening the contest when Triglia hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning while Willner hit his second homer of the game, and fourth in two games, in the sixth to put the Blazers back in front 10-9.
Mike Love once again evened the game with a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth inning while each team scored a run in the eighth. After the five-run top of the ninth, UAH closed out the scoring with a single run in the bottom of the ninth.
Six different Blazers joined Noelte with multiple hits in the game, including Reimer, Cardinal and Christian Glisson, who had three each. Willner drove three runs and scored twice while Triglia finished with four RBI and three runs scored.
Bud Fuller worked the final four innings for VSU and allowed four hits and three runs, only one of which was earned, to improve to 3-2 on the season.
Love and McKinney led UAH offensively with four and three hits, respectively, while Eric Parker fell to 0-2 after giving up a hit and two runs, one earned, without recording an out in the ninth.
Valdosta State returns to action Wednesday, April 13 at 5:00 p.m. when it hosts Georgia Southwestern at Billy Grant Field. The Blazers will also make up a rained out game against Flagler on Thursday, April 14 at 3:30 p.m. in Billy Grant Field.