One run was all it took for the number eight ranked Valdosta State Blazers to take game one of the weekend series at Tartt Field Saturday. That run came in the sixth inning and propelled the Blazers to the win. Game two seemed to be heading to a similar end result before the Tigers offense kicked in.
It was a pitching duel between two lefties that left the offenses stymied in game one. Zach Parks, entering the game with a 5-0 record, put together a complete game effort to do all he could to help the Tigers collect the win. Unfortunately for Parks, who lost for the first time this year dropping his record to 5-1, it was another lefty on this day that would steal the spotlight. Valdosta States Jeff Mann would improve to 6-0 by throwing seven innings of shutout baseball to keep Valdosta State in front. The bullpen then picked up the last two innings despite furious pressure by West Alabama.
A throw that got away heading for third base resulted in the only run of the game and despite the Tigers having the base’s loaded with one out late and second and third with two out in the ninth led to the Blazer victory. It was a change however in game two. Game two was a much more offensive affair.
It started with a bang, a two run home run by Valdosta States designated hitter Bryant Hayman gave them a 2-0 lead after one inning. Matthew Fears then hammered a double off the right field wall to score two and give the Blazers a 2-0 lead off of starter Fernando Gonzalez and the Tigers.
The Tigers would respond however with five runs of their own in the bottom of the third inning. After Valdosta tied it 5-5 the Tigers would go ahead for good. They would then play to a 10-5 final and a split of the Saturday doubleheader. Game three of the series was cancelled due to weather and poor field conditions.
The Tigers go to 16-8 on the year (7-7 GSC) while the Blazers are 15-6 (8-5 in the GSC). The Tigers will now be off Monday before a midweek game on Tuesday. Tuesday they travel to Montevallo to take on the Falcons before taking a break from conference play and heading to Arkansas and playing Division 1 opponent University of Arkansas Pine Bluff.