VALDOSTA, Ga. — Behind a strong start with nine runs over the first six innings, the Valdosta State baseball team posted an 11-5 victory over visiting Georgia Southwestern Tuesday evening. VSU improved to 7-4 on the season, while GSW fell to 4-7.
The Blazers banged out 14 hits in the contest and four doubles, while the defense held GSW to two hits through the first six innings. Offensively, redshirt senior Luke Ard went 4 for 5 with two doubles, three RBI and a run scored. Junior David Crawford was 2 for 5 with three runs scored and an RBI and senior Jisjar Clotida went 2 for 3 with a run scored and an RBI.
A leadoff walk to Blazer junior Ryan Romano, followed by a single and a stolen base by Romano moved him to third as junior EJ Doskow, the reigning GSC Co-Player of the Week, hit an RBI ground out for a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. With two away, Clotida doubled down the right field line, plating a run and then junior Orlando Adams replaced him at second with a double down the left field line for a 3-0 lead.
In the bottom of the third, Ard began the frame with a double – the third, two-bagger of the game for the Blazers and then scored on a junior David Crawford single to center for a 4-0 lead. Clotida put down a great sacrifice bunt, moving Crawford to third. On a 2-2 count, Adams reached on a miscue by the 'Canes for a 5-0 lead, plating Crawford unearned.
VSU graduate student starting pitcher Adrian Garrastazu had a strong outing going through four innings, allowing one hit and fanning five in 13 batters faced. He didn't factor into the decision.
GSW's Juan Anderson came in to face the Blazers in the bottom of the fourth as starter Colby Gordon (0-1) went three innings, allowing six hits, five runs – four earned, walked one and fanned two. An infield single and stolen base by sophomore Preston Joye, followed by a walk to Romano put two on for the Blazers with one away. Following a mound visit by the 'Canes, Ard doubled home two runs for a 7-0 lead. GSW made its second call to the bullpen in the inning, in favor of Carsen Plumadore with two out and got out of the jam with no further damage.
Blazer junior Brandon Raiden came in to pitch the fifth for the Blazers looking to keep the shutout going. An error on the Blazers began the inning. A fielder's choice got the lead runner at second for one away. A second fielder's choice and tag out followed as the GSW batter turned wide for second and was tagged out for the third out. VSU the turned a traditional double play in the top of the sixth to end the Hurricane threat.
Romano and Ard hit a pair of one out singles to center field for runners at first and second in the bottom of the sixth. It was Ard's third hit of the game as he had two doubles and a single to that point. Crawford reached on a fielder's choice error, plating Ard and then Doskow plated Crawford for a 9-0 lead.
A two base error on the Blazers began the top of the seventh and Anthony Angelino got the 'Canes on the board with a single up the middle for a 9-1 score. Two walks and a hit batsman began the bottom of the seventh for the Blazers to load the bases. A sacrifice fly from Romano made the score 10-1 and Ard singled through the left side for an 11-1 score.
GSW's offense came to life in the top of the eighth with two outs for an 11-2 score. From there, Angelino belted a three-run home run for an 11-5 score with two away. VSU got out of the inning without any further damage with a fly out to center.
The 'Canes finished with five runs on six hits for the contest. Angelino was 2 for 4 with a run scored and four RBI. Raiden (2-1) took the win in three innings of work, allowing two hits, one unearned run and fanned one.