VALDOSTA, Ga. (vstateblazers.com) — Valdosta State sophomore Morgan Hill blasted a grand slam in the bottom of the seventh inning as the No. 4 Blazers rallied for a thrilling 10-6 victory over visiting Christian Brothers Sunday afternoon to complete a three-game sweep.
The Blazers trailed 6-0 after the first inning and posted two runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings each, before the slam, marking the second walk-off grand slam by VSU this season.
The Blazers improved to 24-5 on the year and 16-1 in Gulf South Conference play to remain atop the league standings through the first weekend in April. CBU fell to 10-25 on the year and 4-14 in league play.
In the first inning, the Bucs posted six runs on the board from an uncharacteristic seven free passes on walks and hit batsmen, along with two singles. CBU hurler Kelsey Wurm had the Blazers stymied offensively until the bottom of the fourth when graduate student Ally Clegg singled into left field and sophomore Aniston Gano blasted a two-run shot for a 6-2 deficit. Gano recorded her ninth home run of the year and also blasted a home run in both game one and game two on Saturday against the Bucs, giving her three home runs for the weekend series.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, redshirt senior Baylee Everson singled down the left field line and sophomore Morgan Hill singled and reached second to put two runners into scoring position. After Gano was walked, senior Nikki Pennington singled into the right field to score Gano and Hill for a 6-4 deficit.
VSU continued its rally in the bottom of the sixth inning as junior Hunter Meadows singled into left field and Everson singled up the middle. After Hill collected a walk, CBU's defense had a miscue, allowing Meadows to cross home plate. With the bases loaded, Gano fought off some good pitches to draw a walk on a 3-2 count to allow Everson to score and tie the game at six.
With all of the momentum, VSU loaded the bases in the seventh courtesy of a walk, the second error on the Bucs on a fielder's choice and an infield single by Everson. Hill, on a 1-1 count, blasted her fifth home run of the season and none bigger than this one.
Junior pitcher Samantha Richards (19-2) relieved Hill in the circle in the first inning and completely shutdown the Bucs the rest of the way, scattering three hits, walked two and fanned nine in 6.1 innings of work.
Wurm didn't factor into the decision for the Bucs as Macy Cumming pitched one inning, allowing two hits, four unearned runs on the grand slam and walked three. VSU didn't strikeout one time in the game, marking the second time that has happened this season.
Offensively, VSU scored ten runs on ten hits with no errors, while CBU had six runs on four hits and two crucial errors. Hill finished the game 2 for 4 from the dish with two runs scored and four RBI, along with one walk. Gano was 1 for 2 with a run scored, two RBI, a home run and two walks. Senior Nikki Pennington went 2 for 4 with two RBI.
The Blazers travel to Carrollton, Ga., next weekend to take on the West Georgia Wolves on April 9-10 for the Red Clay Rivalry Series, and then will return home to host Auburn Montgomery on April 15-16 for the final home conference series. April 16 will be Senior Day for the Blazers.