Delta State plates 16 runs while rolling by ninth-ranked Valdosta State
VALDOSTA, Ga. -- Delta State pounded out 16 hits en route to a 16-3 series-clinching victory against Valdosta State at Blazers Field. The victory pushed the No. 25 Statesmen to 7-5 on the season and 6-3 in Gulf South Conference play, while the Blazers fell to 11-4 and 4-4 in league play.
The Statesmen took advantage of a Blazers error and wild pitch to take a 2-0 in the top of the second. Ben Pickard walked with one out in the inning before Carlos Leal slapped a single through the right side. A wild pitch by VSU starter Jarod Stanley moved Pickard and Leal up a base. Will Robertson reached on a fielding error by VSU's second baseman and the miscue allowed both runners to score.
Statesmen starter Rickey Winters worked out of a jam in the bottom of the second after the Blazers loaded the bases with one out. A 6-foot-1 senior right-hander, Winters struck out Clint Carr swinging and got Matthew Fears to fly out to left to end the threat.
DSU broke the game open with five runs in the third, all with two outs, to take a commanding 7-0 lead. Leal, Robertson and Landon Thibodeaux all provided RBI singles, while Benji Sullivan slapped a two-RBI double to left-center to cap the inning.
Brent Langston's 400-foot solo home run to left off VSU reliever Beau Blair put the Statesmen up 8-0 in the top of the fourth.
Winters worked quickly the bottom of the fourth and fifth innings to keep DSU on top 8-0 after five innings.
DSU scratched another run across in the top of the sixth for a 9-0 lead, as Jordan Chovanec, who singled and stole second and third, came in to score on a balk by reliever Colby Wisdom.
VSU's bullpen was touched up for three more runs in the top of the seventh. Sullivan made it 10-0 DSU with an RBI single center, scoring Robertson, who doubled, from second. Chovanec collected two RBIs and put extended DSU's lead to 12-0 with a double down the right field line.
The Blazers finally got to Winters in the bottom of the seventh, as Mike Reed smashed a two-out, two run home run to left and Bryant Hayman followed suit with a solo shot to left-center to cut the Statesmen lead to 12-3 and keep VSU in the game.
DSU extended its advantage to 13 runs, 16-3, as Dex Herrington scored on a wild pitch by P.J. Guy. Herrington reached on a swinging bunt and moved around to third on a Langston single and Pickard walk.
After a VSU pitching change, Robertson continued his big day at the plate with an RBI single to left to score Langston. With the bases still loaded, a pitch hit Juan Rivera, allowing Pickard to walk home.
Jonathon Andrews, pinch-hitting for Sullivan, closed the scoring with a sac-fly RBI to center, scoring Leal from third.
Coach Mike Kinnison made a pitching change in the bottom of the eighth, bringing Whit Haggard out of the bullpen and ending Winters' outing. The hard-throwing Haggard gave up a double to Dominique Smedley, but struck out Reed swinging to end the game with a run-rule victory for DSU.
Winters (3-0) earned his third consecutive GSC victory after tossing seven innings. He allowed three runs on nine hits with three walks and four strikeouts.
Stanley (1-1) took the loss for VSU after giving up seven runs on seven hits in three innings of work. In all the Blazers used four pitchers out of the bullpen and each one gave up at least one run.
Robertson and Sullivan paced the Statesmen at the plate, as the duo both went 3-for-4 with three RBIs.
Langston finished 3-for-5 with three runs scored, a solo home run and an RBI. Leal was also 3-for-4 with three runs scored and a RBI.
Chovanec was 2-for-6 with a pair of RBIs and two stolen bases. Pickard, who did not get a hit, walked three times and scored two runs. Thibodeaux finished 1-for-3 with a pair of runs scored and a RBI.
VSU's Reed and Carr both finished with two hits apiece to lead the Blazers.