CARROLLTON, Ga. - West Georgia scored two runs in the top of the eighth inning to defeat Valdosta State 5-4 in Wednesday's action at the Gulf South Conference Baseball Tournament at Cole Field.
Despite the loss, the Blazers advance to Thursday's championship game against the winner of Thursday's early game between Delta State and West Georgia. The day's first game will begin at Noon, with the game involving VSU beginning 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.
Valdosta State (32-16) jumped out to an early lead as it scored a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the third inning. With two outs in the frame, Bryant Hayman reached on an error and moved to third as Jake Fields followed with a single. Fields moved up to second on the throw to third on the play and scored along with Hayman as Michael Gouge singled up the middle.
West Georgia (27-23) got the two runs back in the top of the fourth as Trey Dickson singled home Evan Hester and John Mark Rhodes before grabbing the lead when Blake McLemore scored Shaquille Jackson with a base hit in the fifth.
Another error allowed VSU to even the game in the sixth inning, but the Wolves plated two in the eighth to grab the lead for good. McLemore was hit by a pitch to open the UWG half of the eighth and, after a sacrifice bunt, stole third. Hester singled to plate McLemore and, after a Rhodes single moved Hester to third, Dylan Coleman grounded into a fielder's choice that allowed him to score to put West Georgia in front 5-3.
Valdosta State got a run back in the bottom of the eighth inning on a Daniel Hoover sacrifice fly and got the tying run on second with just one out, but was unable to get the run across.
Jarod Carlton fell to 3-1 as he surrendered a run in a little over one inning of work while West Georgia's Jamie Sexton improved to 10-4 after giving up 12 hits and four runs, only two earned, in 7.0 innings.
Jamie McMillan led VSU offensively in the game as he tallied three hits while Hunter Thompson and Cooper Lemonds had two hits each.