April 19, 2003
Valdosta State baseball coach Tommy Thomas became the winningest coach in NCAA Division II history after his Blazers beat Lincoln Memorial 9-1 Saturday afternoon to complete a three game sweep of the Railsplitters.
The victory is number 1199 in Thomas's 36 year career- one more win than Cal Poly Pomona's John Scolinas.
Thomas was happier about the fact that this weekend's sweep keeps the Blazers in a four team battle for three spots from the Eastern Division in the Gulf South Conference baseball tournament with three conference games left.
After falling down 1-0 on a solo homerun by Lincoln's Dustin Kosak in the 2nd inning, Blazer senior third baseman evened the score with a two-out single in the bottom half of the frame that scored David Lewis.
The Blazers took the lead in the next inning when Scott Simpson, making his school record 220th consecutive start, singled in Sammy Watson and Greg Connell.
After Render Parkman came in relief of wining pitcher Jacques Wattecamps and got the Blazers out of bases loaded jam in the top of the 6th, Valdosta State increased its lead in the bottom half of the inning.
With runners at first and second and no outs, David Lewis' sacrifice bunt went to Lincoln first baseman Ben Fox whose throw to third was high.
Scott Simpson scored on the error and Jim Berryman's sacrifice fly would score Scott Fletcher to make it 5-1.
The Blazers added some insurance on a single two-out single by Fletcher in the 7th to score Jay Neundorfer.
A senior pitcher, Neundorfer was pinch running in the designated hitter's spot and got a chance for his first at bat of the season in the 8th where the former outfielder belted a three-run homerun to complete a magical afternoon at Billy Grant Field.
Render Parkman then got the Railsplitters out in the 9th to earn his seventh save of the season.
After the final out was made, the humble Thomas accepted hugs from coaches and players and applauded the fans who where applauding him.
Valdosta State finishes the regular season with four road games starting Tuesday at Georgia College and ending next weekend in their final conference series at North Alabama.