VALDOSTA, Ga. — Valdosta State freshman Anthony Gutierrez laced an RBI double to center in the bottom of the seventh inning as it clinched the run-rule victory, 12-2 over visiting Thomas University Wednesday evening.
VSU tallied 12 runs on seven hits and improved to 13-5 on the year, while Thomas had two runs on nine hits and two errors, falling to 13-12 for the season. Junior David Crawford went 2 for 4 with two runs scored, a double and three RBI to lead the way for VSU. Senior EJ Doskow went 2 for 3 with two runs scored. The Blazers used a bullpen day as junior Brandon Raiden earned the victory in 1.2 innings (3-1) allowing two hits, one earned run, walked one and fanned one.
For the second-straight inning, VSU got a runner to second on a walk and a wild pitch in the bottom of the second. This time, the Blazers capitalized as graduate student Mike Christopoulos doubled to right center and junior Orlando Adams scored on an errant throw for a 1-0 lead. The second walk from TU starter Anthony Menendez put runners at the corners with two away for the Blazers. A stolen base and passed ball plated the second run of the inning as Menendez got a strikeout to end the inning with VSU leading 2-0 through two frames.
With one on at second, Crawford doubled to center field, plating Doskow for a 3-0 lead as Thomas made a move to the bullpen in the bottom of the third in favor of Owen Simonds, replacing Menendez. Crawford then stole third on a swing and miss hit and run, followed by Simonds plunking Adams for runners at the corners and one away. Senior Luke Ard singled to shallow center for a 4-0 lead and a wild pitch plated the third run of the inning for a 5-0 lead. Another passed ball plated the fourth run of the inning and a 6-0 lead.
Defensively the Blazers used the game as a bullpen day as graduate student Adrian Garrastazu became the third Blazer hurler of the game in the top of the fourth inning. Junior Zach Henderson pitched the first two innings, while sophomore Nick Ferrara pitched the third. Garrastazu fanned the first two batters of the fourth and got a ground out for a 123 inning.
The Night Hawks put two on with one out in the top of the fifth, courtesy of a hit batsmen and a single. An infield single loaded the bases as VSU made a call to the bullpen in favor of junior Brandon Raiden who replaced junior Jake Janata, who began the inning. A 63 double play got the Blazers out of the jam unscathed, preserving the 6-0 lead. Raiden needed two pitches to get the twin killing.
With one out in the bottom of the fifth and a runner at second, Christopoulos reached on a two base throwing error as Adams scored for a 7-0 lead. The top of the sixth saw Thomas loaded the bases for the second-straight inning. This time, however, a ground out to third plated a run for a 7-1 score.
In the bottom of the sixth, VSU returned the favor with a hit batsmen, a walk, and a single from Doskow to load the bases for the Blazers and nobody out. Crawford singled through the right side for two RBI and a 9-1 lead. It was Crawford's second and third runs driven in for the game. The walk of the game for Adams loaded the bases, once again, still with nobody out in the sixth as the Night Hawks went to the bullpen again. Following a pitching change, a wild pitch plated a run for a 10-1 score. Chistopoulos hit a sacrifice fly to right for an 11-1 score as VSU plated four runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Thomas scored a bloop-single with two away in the top of the seventh for a RBI single and an 11-2 score.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Blazers put the leadoff man on by way of a hit batsmen and then Gutierrez, laced the clinching RBI double, plating freshman Ryan Villaman for a 12-2 score and the run-rule.