The Georgia Southwestern Hurricanes were at last on the top side
of a one-run ballgame as they closed out a 4-3 win against the
visiting Blazers from Valdosta State University Wednesday night at
the Susan K. Smith Athletic Complex.
Valdosta State was the first to score, capitalizing on back-to-back singles and a sacrifice fly in the top of the second, but GSW would answer right back in the bottom half of the inning. Leadoff batter Francisco Gomez took first after being hit by a pitch, and then designated hitter Byron Haynes rocketed the next offering from pitcher Josh Maxwell over the left field fence to mark his second homerun of the season and put the Canes up 2-1. Single shots to left and center field put Trey Reeves and Daniel Stokes on base, and an RBI single from Nick Rex plated Reeves to put the score at 3-1. The Hurricanes would add another run in the fourth when Reeves hit a two-out triple to left field and scored on a single by Miles Martin.
The 4-1 GSW lead held until the seventh inning which saw the Blazers put two runs on the board. An error, a single, and a walk loaded the bases for Valdosta State before a sacrifice fly plated the first run of the inning. With runners at second and third and only one out, a single to left by shortstop Jon Koenigsfeld brought the Blazers to within one at 4-3. With still just one out on the board Head Coach Bryan McLain signaled to the bullpen for reliever Bud Fuller, and this would prove to be the decisive finishing move by the Hurricanes. Fuller plowed through the next eight batters by delivering eight strikeouts - five swinging and three caught looking - and slamming the door on VSU.
Junior first baseman Trey Reeves led the way for the Canes, going 2 for 3 at the plate and scoring two runs. Six other Hurricanes put a hit in the books, including junior left fielder Daniel Lynn who extended his hitting streak to 17 games. Rex, Haynes, and Martin tallied RBIs for GSW. For the Blazers, Koenigsfeld went 3 for 4 with one RBI and right fielder Blaine Wilson contributed a 2-4 performance to VSU's effort.
Sophomore pitcher Colin Duffie (1-3) went 6 and one third innings for Georgia Southwestern to record his first win of the season, and Bud Fuller was credited with his first save. Maxwell (0-2) took the loss for Valdosta State.
"Colin Duffie had an outstanding pitching performance for us today, and Bud Fuller gave us a top quality relief appearance," commented McLain. "What impresses me the most about today is that we got on top and held off someone trying to make a run back at us. This is a big win for us going into the weekend."
The Hurricanes move to 7-14 on the season, while Valdosta State slips to 13-8-1 for the year. GSW will travel to South Carolina this weekend for a Peach Belt Conference series against USC-Aiken, and will return home Monday, March 17 for a doubleheader against Philadelphia University. Game times are 2:00 and 5:00 at Hurricane Field in the Susan K. Smith Complex.