VALDOSTA, Ga. – Valdosta State overcame a pair of deficits to sweep a non-conference doubleheaders 9-8 and 12-10 at Billy Grant Field Sunday afternoon.
Augusta State (2-6) took advantage of three Valdosta State errors to score seven unearned runs in game one. The Jaguars opened the scoring in the game in the top of the second inning. Alex Walker drew a walk to open the frame and moved to second on a ground out before a wild pitch advanced him to third. With one out, Justin Appel hit a fly ball to right that plated Walker for a 1-0 ASU lead.
Valdosta State (5-2) immediately got the run back with a two-out hit from Jon Koenigsfeld in the bottom of the inning. Jake Summers doubled down the right-field line with one out in the inning and moved to third on a ground out before Koenigsfeld beat out an infield single to even the game at 1-1.
A two-out fielding error by Blazer starter Tanner Fudge allowed the Jaguars to plate two runs in the top of the third inning only to have VSU send nine men to the plate while scoring four runs in the bottom of the inning. Antonio Clark was hit by a pitch to open the frame for the Blazers before Jordan Yost walked. A single by Brandon Decker loaded the bases, allowing Clark to score when Clayton Cain was also hit by a pitch. Jake Summers hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Decker while an Austin Smith base hit plated Cain. Koenigsfeld closed out the scoring with a single to center that scored Summers, giving Valdosta State a 5-3 advantage.
Carl Burrow reached on an error, advanced to second and stole third before scoring on a Tristan Toorie single in the fifth to cut the Jaguar deficit to just one run before a Toorie grand slam in the sixth gave ASU the lead. Evan Smith doubled with one out in the frame and move Andy Onufrak walk put two men on. After a strikeout, Kevin Smith reached on a fielding error by Smith at first to load the bases. Toorie proceeded to hit a 1-1 pitch from Blazer reliever Kyle Rowe over the wall in left to give Augusta State an 8-5 advantage.
VSU closed to within one in the bottom of the eighth as Chris Jones and Ryan Danbury drew a pair of two-out walks. Yost proceeded to double into the right field corner, plating both base runners to close the Blazers to within 8-7.
Cain led off the bottom of the ninth with an infield single before being lifted for pinch runner Josh Higginbotham. Summers proceeded to draw a walk and was replaced by Conrad Boron. After a sacrifice bunt by Smith, Koenigsfeld was intentionally walked and Bobby Triglia delivered a pinch hit single off the glove of Toorie at first to score Higginbotham. Chris Jones proceeded to work a 2-2 count and fouled off two pitches before being hit by a pitch to force in Boron for the winning run.
Cason Mobley improved to 1-0 as he surrendered just one hit in two and a third innings while Tony Baker fell to 0-1 after allowing the two runs in the ninth inning.
The Jaguars sent 12 men to the plate in the top of the second inning of game two to jump out to a 7-0 lead. Toorie singled to center to open the frame before Casey Hanrahan drew a walk. Baker loaded the bases with a bloop single over the head of Summers at first base while a Walker base hit scored Toorie. Cole Payne proceeded to double to straight away center field, scoring both Hanrahan and Baker. After a strikeout, Onufrak was intentionally walked and Carl Burrow grounded out to plate Walker and Kevin Smith reached on an error that scored Payne and Onufrak. Toorie singled up the middle for his second hit of the inning while Hanrahan drove home Smith with a single through the right-side of the infield to give ASU a seven run lead.
Valdosta State took the lead in the bottom of the third inning as it sent 15 men to the plate and scored 12 runs. With one out, Galen Smith drew a walk and moved to second on a wild pitch before Ryan Danbury tallied a bunt single. A Decker single plated Smith while Cain also got a hit to load the bases. Summers proceeded to single to drive home Danbury and Yost was hit by a pitch to plate Decker while Cain scored when Austin Smith singled. Triglia followed with an infield single to drive home Summers before Scott Shipman relieved ASU starter Josh Barks. Shipman hit Koenigsfeld with a pitch and then gave up a single to Clark, who was pinch hitting for Galen Smith, to even the game at 7-7. After a pop up for the second out in the inning. Decker hit a ball off of the roof of the softball press box in right-center field for a grand slam and Cain hit a shot over the batter's eye in straight away centerfield to post the Blazers to a 12-7 advantage.
ASU scored a single run in the fifth and two in the seventh inning to close out the scoring.
Ross Gusky picked up the victory and improved to 2-0 as he allowed seven hits and eight runs, five of which were earned, in five innings of work. Barks took the loss after giving up eight hits and eight runs, all of which were earned, in two and a third-innings.
Decker, Cain and Summers all finished with three hits on the day to lead VSU while Toorie tallied four to lead ASU.
Valdosta State returns to action Tuesday, February 16 at 4:30 p.m. when it hosts Albany State in Billy Grant Field.