VALDOSTA, Ga. (vstateblazers.com) — BASEBALL
The No. 19 Valdosta State baseball team split its doubleheader with Mississippi College Saturday as Blazers took the first game 11-6 and the Choctaws won the second game 9-5.
The series will conclude with a single game tomorrow, Sunday, March 26 at 2 p.m. E.T. Fans can access links to live stats and streaming of the game at vstateblazers.com on the baseball schedule page.
The Blazers improved to 18-6 overall and 10-3 in Gulf South Conference play and the Choctaws stand at 11-18 overall and 6-8 in the GSC.
Game One (VSU 11, MC 6)
The Blazers got on the board first in the first inning with a triple from junior Bryson Gandy as he crossed home plate from a single by junior Ryan Romano. The Choctaws answered back with five runs in the first, including a grand slam, to take the lead.
The Blazer defensive held Mississippi College at six runs with a big rally. VSU plated three more runs in the fourth to tie the game as Christopoulos scored again and Gandy hit a two-run home run to score sophomore Jacob Harper.
The Blazers took the lead with a huge eighth inning by adding five runs for the 11-6 margin.
Valdosta State recorded a season-high of 19 hits as MC tallied eight hits. The Blazers also tallied 11 RBI, four doubles, one triple, two home runs, one stolen base, and one free pass.
Romano led the Blazer offense going 4 for 5 with two RBI and one run scored followed by junior David Crawford going 3 for 5 with a double and the only stolen base. Along with his home run, Gandy recorded one triple. Clotida, Anthony Gutierrez, and Harper all recorded doubles.
Senior Elijah Gill started on the mound for the Blazers and went seven innings to record the win and move to 6-1 on the season. Gill recorded 11 strikeouts for a season high and gave up six hits, six runs, one earned, and one walk. Sophomore Nick Ferrara relieved Gill throwing the final two innings.
Game Two (MC 9, VSU 5)
The game became tied early in the first as both teams put three on the board. For the Blazers, Gandy, junior EJ Doskow, and sophomore Carson Neal all crossed home plate for a 3-0 lead. MC responded in kind with three runs in the bottom of the inning.
The Blazers regained the lead in the third from a solo Doskow home run before a double from Christopoulos who then scored on a double from Gutierrez. VSU was unable to hold the lead as the Choctaws added four in the fifth and two in the sixth to take the second game 9-5.
The Blazers totaled eight hits, five RBI, two doubles, one home run, and six walks. Christopoulos lead the Blazers going 3 for 5 with one double, two RBI, and one run scored. Hits for the Blazers were also recorded by Doskow (2), Gutierrez (2), and Gandy (1).
Starting on the mound for the Blazers was sophomore JJ Finn who threw four innings and recorded the loss (3-2). Finn tallied one strikeout and gave up seven runs and eight hits. Graduate student Adrian Garrastazu relieved Finn and threw two innings to finish the game. Garrastazu recorded two strikeouts and gave up two runs and three hits.
For all information on Blazer baseball visit vstateblazers.com or follow Valdosta State Athletics on social media.
Behind six home runs and 19 total runs scored, the No. 3 Valdosta State softball team picked up two wins Saturday afternoon over Mississippi College on day one of a weekend Gulf South Conference series. VSU came from behind in both games, winning the opener 8-4 and the nightcap 11-4.
VSU improved to 21-4 on the year and 13-0 in GSC play, while the Choctaws fell to 13-14 on the season and 6-10 in conference play. The Blazers stand alone as the only unbeaten team in GSC play.
In game one, the Choctaws jumped out on top first with a single to the shortstop, another single into left field, and followed it up with a three-run home run to bring the score to 3-0 in the bottom of the third inning, all with two out.
The Blazer offense came alive in the top of the sixth inning, as VSU scored eight runs for an 8-3 lead. After miscues from the Choctaw defense, the Blazers were able to get the go-ahead run across to make the score 4-3. With the bases loaded, sophomore Aniston Gano hit a grand slam into right field to put the Blazers up 8-3.
The Choctaws attempted the comeback in the bottom of the seventh inning as a wild pitch allowed MC to get a runner across for an 8-4 score, but the Blazer defense held strong to get the last two outs.
Junior pitcher Samantha Richards (16-1), collected the win with seven strikeouts, gave up eight hits, four earned runs, and one walk through 29 at-bats.
MC's pitching staff combined for six strikeouts, seven hits, six earned runs and three walks through 31 Blazer batters.
In game two, the Choctaws again got on the board early in the bottom of the first inning as the team hit a solo home run to bring the score to 1-0.
The Blazers responded in the top of the second inning as junior Abby Sulte hit a solo home run to tie the game, 1-1.
MC took the lead again in the bottom of the second inning after miscues by the Blazer defense and a single into left field for a 2-1 score.
VSU put up four runs in the top of the third inning as sophomore Morgan Hill walked and stole second, while graduate Ally Clegg followed it up with a two-run home run to bring the score to 3-2. Later in the inning, Sulte hit another home run to bring in sophomore Kayla Tosone to give the Blazers a 5-2 lead.
After a pitching change by head coach Thomas Macera, the Choctaws pulled within 5-3 in the bottom of the third. Blazer senior Nikki Pennington hit a double into left field to bring two Blazer batters across home plate in the top of the fourth inning for a 7-3 advantage, but the Choctaws responded with a RBI single into left field to bring the score to 7-4.
The Blazers put up another run in the top of the fifth inning and then three more in the top of the sixth inning courtesy of another home run by Sulte and a two-run home run blast by Pennington for an 11-4 lead in favor of the Blazers. Sulte now has nine home runs on the year.
Macera utilized the entire Blazer pitching staff in the game, combining for six strikeouts, eight hits, four earned runs and two walks through 29 at-bats. Richards ended up with the victory in relief action in the nightcap as she improved to 16-1 on the year.
The Blazers are back in action on Sunday to round out the series with the Choctaws with a single game slated for 2 p.m. ET. Following the road series, the Blazers will return home to host Christian Brothers on April 2-3 at Steel's Diamond at Blazer Park.