VALDOSTA, Ga. – Nick Fogarty threw a perfect game to highlight a doubleheader sweep as Valdosta State defeated Paine 6-0 and 12-0 in non-conference baseball action at Billy Grant Field Saturday afternoon.
With the victories, Valdosta State improved to 4-2 on the season while Paine fell to 2-4.
The reigning Gulf South Conference Pitcher of the Week after striking out a career-high 12 batters in six innings of shutout ball last week, Fogarty dominated from the start against the Lions. He struck out six of the game's first 11 batters and got fly ball outs on the other five batters during that span. He did not give up a ground ball out until the 12th batter of the game, a grounder to third that ended the fourth inning. He got three more strikeouts over the course of the next four outs, including two looking, before the only real PC threat of the game when Justin Williams hit a sharp grounder into the hole at third. However, freshman Michael Gouge made a diving stop on the ball and scrambled to his feet, with his throw beating Williams by a step at first to preserve the streak by Fogarty.
A foul out on a diving play by Clint Carr ended the sixth inning for Paine while Nick Rodda fielded a grounder and threw out Lion leadoff man Jonathan Richey to open the seventh before a fly ball to right gave Fogarty two outs. The game ended when PC designated hitter chopped a 2-2 count to first base, where Jamie McMillan snagged the ball and stepped on first.
The perfect game was just the second in the 58 year history of Valdosta State baseball, joining that of Leroy Purdy, who was perfect against ABAC in 1970. Fogarty ended the game with nine strikeouts, six fly ball outs, five ground outs and a foul out to the catcher.
Fogarty's perfection followed a game in which the Valdosta State pitching was near perfect once again. In game one, VSU starter Pete Whittingslow allowed four hits, but picked off three of the four base runners , in seven innings of work while striking out seven to improve to 1-0 on the year. Jarod Carlton pitched the final two innings without giving up a baserunner.
After both teams got just one base runner the first two innings of game one, Valdosta State broke through for four runs in the bottom of the third of game one as it took advantage of a pair of errors by Paine. Rodda led off the inning by reaching second base when his grounder to third was thrown over the head of Lion first baseman William Van Winkle. After a sacrifice bunt moved Rodda to third, Carr singled to right to plate the first run and moved to second on a passed ball. Jake Montgomery proceeded to double to left-center to score Carr and, after a bunt single by Daniel Hoover, came in to score as a throw to second on a Hoover stolen base sailed into centerfield. Jake Fields singled home Hoover to give VSU a 4-0 lead.
The Blazers pushed their advantage to 5-0 on a Carr sacrifice fly in the fourth and added a final run in the sixth on a Montgomery single.
Valdosta State got on the board in the bottom of the second inning of game two. Bryant Hayman drew an inning-opening walk and was sacrificed to second by Gouge before Jamie McMillian singled up the middle to drive him home and give the Blazers a 1-0 lead.
The Blazers pushed their advantage to 5-0 in the fourth thanks to two errors by the Lions. Hayman singled to open the frame and was sacrificed to second by Gouge, who also reached safely when the throw to first was in the dirt. Gouge stole second and scored along with Hayman as McMillian singled to right. After a wild pitch, a Rodda single put runners on the corners and Rodda stole second. The throw to second on the play was dropped by PC shortstop Jeremiah Schaffer to allow McMillan to score while Carr hit a sacrifice fly to plate Rodda later in the inning for the game's fifth run.
VSU added two more runs in the fifth inning and five more in the sixth.
Paine's Chris Hallett gave up eight hits and six runs, four earned, in five innings in game one to fall to 0-2 while Dalton Self allowed five hits and five runs, three earned, in four innings of game two to fall to 0-2 as well.
McMillan led Valdosta State offensively on the day as he was a combined 3-for-6 with three runs scored and five driven in. Rodda finished the day 3-of-5 with three runs scored and three RBI while Carr had two hits, a run scored and four driven in in five at-bats.
The two teams conclude the three-game series with a single game beginning at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday.