VALDOSTA, Ga. - Georgia Southwestern built a 7-5 lead and withstood a comeback bid by No. 11 Valdosta State to defeat the Blazers 7-6 in non-conference baseball action at Billy Grant Field Wednesday evening.
The Hurricanes (6-7) struck first in the game as they plated a single run in the top of the third inning. Daniel Lynn singled to left to open the frame and two batters later moved to third as Chris Lingham delivered a hit to right-center on a hit-and-run. Blazer starter Jeremy Forbus proceeded to throw a wild pitch, allowing Lynn to score for a 1-0 GSW lead.
VSU (8-3) struck back for a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame to take a 2-1 lead. With one out in the frame, Brandon Atkins drew a walk and stole second before Chase Blackwood reached on a two-out base on ball. Brandon Decker proceeded to hit a 1-0 pitch off the wall in centerfield to put VSU up by a run.
Georgia Southwestern used a pair of Forbus walks in the fourth to even the game. With one out in the frame, Daniel Stokes drew a walk and moved to second as Lynn reached on a two-out free pass. Zack Stanton followed with a single through the left-side of the infield, scoring Stokes and tying the game at 2-2.
Valdosta State regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth. Clayton Cain singled to open the frame and moved to second as Austin Smith drew a walk. Pinch-hitter Matt Williams laid down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners over a base and reached himself as the throw from GSW starter Jody Sellars pulled Jared Allen off the bag at first before Jon Koenigsfeld plated Cain with a sacrifice fly, giving VSU a 3-2 advantage.
The Hurricanes regained the lead in the fifth as they plated three runs. Shane Doyle walked to open the inning and moved to third as Bud Long doubled to left-center off reliever Thomas Tripp. A wild pitch allowed Doyle to score before Allen homered down the leftfield line to give GSW a 5-3 advantage.
Cain's fourth home run of the season, a two-run shot to center, in the bottom of the fifth evened the game at 5-5 only to have Georgia Southwestern score a pair of runs in the seventh to retake the lead. Doyle was hit by a pitch to open the inning and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. After Allen was intentionally walked, Francisco Gomez hit a single to right-center, scoring Doyle. Stokes followed with a ground out that scored Allen for a 7-5 Hurricane lead.
Valdosta State closed out the scoring in the bottom of the eighth inning as pinch runner Chaz Bagwell scored on a balk by GSW reliever Bud Fuller.
Brandon Reeder allowed three runs in three and two-thirds innings of relief to improve to 2-0 on the year while Shawn Keill fell to 0-1 for the Blazers. Fuller picked up his second save of the season for the 'Canes.
GSW opens Peach Belt Conference play at Lander on Saturday with a 2 p.m. doubleheader.
PICTURED: Brandon Reeder
PHOTO BY: Chris Fenn