OXFORD, Ala. (vstateblazers.com) — The Valdosta State Blazers fell against Delta State in its first game of the 2021 Gulf South Conference Championship Friday afternoon.
The Blazers (24-15, 22-13 Gulf South Conference) were led by Ben Rowdon who was the only Blazer with a multi-hit game with his two hits. David Maberry batted in both runs for the Blazers along with his one hit on four at-bats. The Blazers were playing catchup the entire game, going down 4-0 before it was able to secure a run in the sixth. Delta State continued to roll though as it scored eight total runs in the seventh and eighth inning. The Blazers needed to score at least two runs so the game wouldn't end early but were only able to cross one, dropping its tournament opener. Starting pitcher Elijah Gill saw 6.2 innings with seven strikeouts and just one walk. In total, VSU recorded just 5 hits off 28 at-bats as DSU was able to record 15 off 36 at-bats. VSU left six of its runners stranded while DSU left seven runs stranded on the base pads.
The Blazers will now face No. 8-seed Auburn Montgomery in an elimination game Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET at Choccolocco Park. AUM fell today to Lee by a final score of 8-3 in the first game of the tournament. The winner of the elimination game will face the losing team of Lee versus Delta State.
Fans can click on the links to the right of this story for live stats, audio/video streaming and more for the game Saturday afternoon.
No. 5-SEED DELTA STATE 12, No. 4-SEED VALDOSTA STATE 2 (8 Inn.)
DSU came out of the gates early, going up 2-0 in the second inning to put the Blazers down. The Statesmen were able to tack on another run in the third followed by the fourth to extend its lead to 4-0. VSU struggled early on as the only hit it recorded through the first four innings was in the first, seeing three hitless innings. VSU was able to cool down DSU in the fifth, going three up and three down, and were able to get its bats going with two hits. The Blazers left the inning with no runs but were looking to build off the momentum it was gaining.
The momentum looked promising as Gill went on to strikeout the first two DSU batters followed by a groundout to quickly bring up the Blazers offense. Jakob Sessa led off with a first-pitch triple which immediately put him in scoring position. Maberry hit into a groundout, but it was enough to bring Sessa home to put a run on the board for VSU. Now down three, the Blazers looked to keep things rolling in the seventh.
Delta State put an end to the momentum the Blazers were building as the Statesmen smacked a pair of two-run homeruns to give itself a comfortable 8-1 lead. The Blazers bats fell flat once again in the seventh as it wasn't able to record a hit. Delta State continued to roll on as the team sent four runners across home to take a commanding 12-1 lead, putting the pressure on the Blazers to try and score two runs to continue the game.
A glimpse of hope was shown as Nick Lewis as well as Sessa were walked to put two runners on with just one out. Maberry hit a single through the right side to bring in Lewis to cut the deficit to 10, but VSU would hit into a double play to fall short in eight due to the run rule.