Georgia Southwestern tops Valdosta 9-5

VALDOSTA, Ga. ­ Ricky Hutchison's solo home run in the top of the
eighth inning broke a 5-5 tie and propelled Georgia Southwestern to a
9-5 victory over Valdosta State in non-conference baseball action at
Billy Grant Field Wednesday evening.

Georgia Southwestern (9-12) opened the scoring in the top of the first
inning. Carlos Height walked to open the inning and stole second before
moving to third on a Rusty James ground out. Clayton Trenary walked to
put runners at the corner while Shane Newmans drove in Height with a
ground out to give GSWU a 1-0 lead.

Daniel Muniz gave Valdosta State (16-15) the lead in the bottom of the
fourth as he hit his third home run of the season. Nick Copeland, who
had walked and stolen second, also scored on the play, giving VSU a 2-1

The Hurricanes regained the lead in the top of the fifth as it took
advantage of a couple of passed balls by Blazer catcher Richard Flores.
With one out in the frame Trenary singled and moved to second on a D.J.
Decker pinch-hit base hit. Two of the next three pitches eluded Flores,
allowing Trenary to score. Ricky Hutchison followed with a walk and
Michael Baker tallied a bloop single, scoring Decker for a 3-2 Geogia
Southwestern edge.

VSU evened the game in the bottom of the frame on a run-scoring single
by Ryan Parson only to have the Hurricanes get a home run from Decker
and a sacrifice fly from Patrick McCarthy in the seventh to regain a
5-3 lead.

The Blazers answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the
seventh to once again even the game. Pinch hitter Dustin Rucker started
the VSU rally by drawing a one-out walk before being lifted for pinch
runner Sherard Reynolds. Reynolds stole second and scored when Parson
tallied a two-out hit. Parson moved to second as the Hurricanes
attempted to throw Reynolds out at home, allowing him to score on Rance
Morgan's base hit through the left side of the infield.

After Hutchison's home run gave Georgia Southwestern a 6-5 lead in the
top of the eighth, Valdosta State threatened in the bottom of the
inning as it loaded the bases on three walks, but was unable to force
across the tying run. Georgia Southwestern closed out the scoring with
three runs in the top of the ninth.

Muniz tallied three hits to lead VSU at the plate while Parson and
Morgan finished with two hits each. Landon Gray surrendered Hutchison's
home run, one of three hits he gave up in two innings of work to fall
to 2-1 on the season.

Matt Hyer relieved GSW starter Ryan Lackey with two outs in the seventh
and surrendered one hit before registering the final out of the frame
to improve to 1-3 on the year. Byron Haynes registered four hits for
the Hurricanes while Trenary finished with three. Decker, Hutchison and
Michael Baker each tallied two hits each.