OXFORD, Ala. (vstateblazers.com) — Four runs in the first inning and four runs in the eighth proved to be too much to overcome as No. 8-seed Shorter eliminated the No. 2-seed Valdosta State Blazers from the Gulf South Conference Championship Sunday morning, 11-4.
VSU fell to 30-14 on the year and now will have to wait a week to learn its NCAA postseason fate when the NCAA Division II Baseball Championship field is unveiled a week from tonight on NCAA.com. The Blazers entered the GSC Championship as at No. 2 in the second NCAA region rankings on Wednesday.
The Hawks (27-21) began the game with four runs in the first inning and three of them came after two outs. After a solo home run, followed by the second out of the frame, Shorter used back-to-back-to-back doubles for a 4-0 lead.
VSU was able to scratch out a run in the bottom of the first as sophomore Ryan Romano hit an infield single and then scored on a wild pitch for a 4-1 deficit. The Blazers then cut the deficit to 4-3 in the bottom of the second as sophomore Jacob Harper walked and senior Jisjar Clotida belted a two run home run down the right field line for a 4-3 deficit. It was Clotida's second home run of the championship as he had a walk-off, three run blast to defeat West Florida on Friday, 13-12, in 11 innings.
Shorter added too its lead with three runs in the fourth, helped out by a miscue by the Blazers plating the first round, followed by an RBI single and a sacrifice fly for a 7-3 lead. The Hawks then added four more runs in the top of the eighth as another miscue proved costly for an 11-3 lead.
VSU had four runs on five hits with two errors in the contest, while Shorter finished with 11 runs on 15 hits and one error. Adams went 2 for 2 with a run scored and a double, while Clotida was 1 for 4 with a run scored, a home run and two RBI. Blazer graduate starter Adrian Garrastazu (3-2) took the loss, going just one inning, allowing five hits, four earned runs, walked one and fanned one. VSU pitched four pitchers in the contest.
Shorter had four different players with multiple hits in the game as Lyndon Weaver went 3 for 4 with a run scored, a home run, four RBI, and a double. Logan Stockton was 3 for 5 with two runs scored and two RBI. Shorter reliever Carson Cook (5-4) took the win in 7.2 innings, allowing four hits, three earned runs, walked four, and fanned five.