Blazers Fall 6-5 to Montevallo in 10 innings

MILLINGTON, Tenn. - Ryan Norman's base hit in the bottom of the 10th inning scored Brantly Clay to propel Montevallo to a 6-5 victory over Valdosta State in the second round of the Gulf South Conference Tournament at USA Stadium Sunday afternoon.

Clay singled to open the bottom of the 10th and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt before Norman hit a 1-0 pitch under a diving Jesse Barfield at first to score the winning run.

Valdosta State (35-17-1) jumped out to an early lead as it took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Jon Koenigsfeld worked a full-count walk to open the frame before moving to second on a Sho Kohata sacrifice bunt. Daniel Muniz also reached on a base on balls before a Blaine Wilson fly out moved Koenigsfeld to third. Shawn Keill proceeded to single through the right-side of the infield, plating Koenigsfeld.

Montevallo (34-23) evened the game in the bottom of the second as Jeremy Faust led off with a single before Clay also reached on a base hit to move to Faust to second. A ground out moved both runners into scoring position, allowing Faust to score on a Norman sacrifice fly that tied the game at 1-1.

The Falcons took the lead in the bottom of the fourth Daniel Furuto and Dustin Rhodes each hit solo home runs to right to post UM to a 3-1 lead.

A Clay home run with Furuto on base in the sixth pushed the Montevallo lead to 5-1 before the Blazers struck for a run in the top of the seventh. Logan Pierce walked to open the frame and moved to third two battes later as Calem Ray followed with a single to left-center that chased Falcon starter Jeffrey Reach. Nate Russ came on and struck out Koenigsfeld before being lifted for Garrett Mims. Mims gave up an infield single to Kohata that scored Pierce while a stolen base and a Muniz walk loaded the bases. Wilson worked a 2-2 count on Mims before hitting a slow roller to third. Chris Cooper fielded the ball and rushed a throw to first, which barely beat Wilson for the third out in the frame, ending the threat.

The Blazers further cut into their deficit in the eighth as Keill reached on a two-base fielding error and scored on a two-out triple by Sidney Spell before tying the game at 5-5 in the ninth.

Koenigsfeld drew a lead off walk to open the ninth and moved to second on a Kohata ground out. Mims recorded a Muniz ground out for the second out of the frame, but gave up back-to-back singles to Wilson, who scored Koenigsfeld, and Keill before being lifted for Zach Andrews. Chase Blackwood greeted Andrews with a single that drove home pinch runner Wes Hyman and moved Keill to third. Three pitches later, Keill attempted to score as Norman let an Andrews pitch get away from him, but Norman recovered to flip the ball to Andrews, who held on to the ball while colliding with Keill to end the inning.

Blazer starter Will Thompson surrendered six hits and three runs in five innings. Justin Lamb gave up three hits and a run in an inning and a third to fall to 4-2. Keill tallied three hits on the day to lead the Blazers, who left 11 runners on base in the contest, offensively.

Reach surrendered just three hits and two runs in six and a third innings. Andrews surrendered two hits in an inning a third to improve to 6-2. Clay had tree hits for the Falcons while Cooper, Furuto and Norman tallied two hits each.

Valdosta State returns to action Monday at 1:00 p.m. Eastern when it plays the winner of Sunday%u2019s North Alabama vs. West Alabama elimination game.