OXFORD, Ala. — On an 0-2 count with two on and one out in the bottom of the 11th trailing 12-10, Valdosta State senior Jisjar Clotida blasted his third home run and most importantly his biggest of the season for a thrilling 13-12, walk-off victory over West Florida in the first game for both teams in the Gulf South Conference Tournament.
The Blazers, who are the No. 2-seed in the tournament, now will face Alabama Huntsville on Saturday at approximately 2 p.m. ET.
With the win, VSU improved to 30-12 on the year as it tallied 14 hits and three errors, while UWF fell to 22-23 on the season with 12 runs on 18 hits and two miscues. UWF will face Montevallo in an elimination game on Saturday at 11 a.m. ET.
The Argos jumped out on top in the top of the first on a solo home run from Trent Jeffcoat and a bases loaded infield single with two out for a 2-0 lead. VSU pulled within 2-1 in the bottom of the third as junior Bryson Gandy doubled to left center and then was replaced at second with an RBI double from junior Ryan Romano.
The Blazers were unable to score till the third inning until junior Bryson Gandy doubled to left center and was drove in from a double by junior Ryan Romano, 3-1. VSU added two runs in the fourth for a 3-2 lead on an RBI ground out and a Gandy RBI single, while the Blazers added another run in the fifth for a 4-2 advantage on an RBI fielder's choice.
In the top of the seventh UWF plated seven runs on six hits and one Blazer miscue, highlighted by a pair of run scoring singles and a two run home run from Alden Davis for a 9-4 lead. The Blazers responded in kind in the bottom of the frame, plating six runs of their own on five hits. Redshirt senior Luke Ard got things started, plating two runs on an RBI single to right for a 9-6 score, followed by an RBI single to center from junior David Crawford and graduate student Mike Christopoulos scored a run on an infield single and Gandy scored two runs for a 10-9 lead.
The Argos wouldn't go away quietly, however, as they used the third home run of the game – this time from Tyler Dowdy to begin the inning for a 10-10 score. Dowdy then singled to begin the top of the 11th and a single moved the runner to second. A sacrifice bunt, following a pitching change by the Blazers, put runners at second and third.
Dean Hotz singled home two runs for a 12-10 UWF advantage.