No. 2 Blazers burn No. 10 Chargers
Valdosta State sweeps doubleheader from Alabama-Huntsville
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Second-ranked Valdosta State picked up a pair of come-from-behind victories against No. 10 Alabama-Huntsville on Sunday afternoon.. In the battle between the two Gulf South Conference powerhouses, the Blazers prevailed 6-2 and 5-3. Valdosta State improves to 25-2 on the season, including a flawless 12-0 mark in GSC action. Alabama-Huntsville drops to 24-9 overall and 6-4 in the GSC.
The Blazers proved to be efficient and opportunistic, manufacturing 11 runs on 13 hits. Valdosta State, second in the nation in slugging percentage, slugged .442 Sunday to help score those runs.
Sarah Vaughn led the team in hitting on the day with a 3-for-6 performance in which she notched four RBIs, a home run and scored two runs. Samantha Posey also sent one out of the park while Ashley Steinhilber and Courtney Albritton also scored two runs apiece.
Marti Littlefield contributed to the Blazers offensive performance by knocking in three RBIs on a pair of hits hits.
Supplementing VSU's stellar offense was strong pitching. Alanna Hadley struck out four while Courntey Gunby struck out two. That duo teamed with Brianna Hancock to allow 13 hits and five runs, one unearned. Hadley pitched 8.1 inning with appearances in both games, picking up a win and a save while Hancock earned a win.
The Chargers offense got going in the second inning of the day's opener when Cortney McNett hit a two-run homer to start the scoring.
That would cap the scoring in game one for the Chargers though, as UAH went on to strand 10 runners in the opener.
Valdosta State answered immediately in the top of the third. Vaughn singled to left field and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Clare Wamsley. Then Albritton plated Vaughn on a single to left field to pull VSU within one.
In the fourth inning, Natalia Morozova singled followed by a walk for Steinhilber. With two on, Vaughn sent her long ball over the right-field fence to claim a 4-2 advantage.
Later, in the seventh inning, trying to close out strong, Posey blasted her two-run homer down the left line to plate Morgan Johnson as well.
While Hadley gave up five hits in the opening game, when VSU needed her to finish UAH in the bottom of the seventh, she simply baffled Alabama-Huntsville, forcing a pop-up and two ground outs to keep the Chargers at bay for game one.
The bats popped a little more for Alabama-Huntsville in game two as the Chargers saw three VSU pitchers and tallied eight hits, one more than VSU. But the Blazers proved resilient, coming back from a 3-1 deficit in the sixth inning.
Albritton scored first in the game after running out an infield single. Littlefield sent a double to center field to plate Albritton and claim an early 1-0 lead. But then the Chargers put up a run in the second, third and fourth innings to go up 3-1. Alabama-Huntsville would not score again, stranding eight runners in the game.
With their backs against the wall, the Blazers put up a four-run inning in the sixth to go ahead. Albritton started the rally with a double down the left line. Posey singled next after a sacrifice bunt from Johnson. With two runners on, Littlefield sent a single up the middle for the first two runs of the inning.
After a strikeout, Steinhilber stepped up to the plate with a runner on second, two outs and a tied game. Unfazed, she sent a triple down the right-field line that scored Littlefield. Steinhilber scored on the next at bat when Vaughn singled to center field.
With that, the Blazers jumped ahead of Alabama-Huntsville, 5-3, and Hancock and Hadley had to shut the Chargers down in the bottom of the sixth and seventh. The duo allowed two hits in both innings and benefitted from a double play that saw Posey, Littlefield and Morozova team up to finish the game.