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Blazers headed to the postseason

The Valdosta State baseball regular season is complete after the Blazers took down the SCAD Bees 10-5 on Tuesday night at Billy Grant Field.
Up next for the Blazers is the Gulf South Conference tournament which begins Saturday in Millington Tenn.
“I think they’re (the players) are pretty excited,” VSU head coach Greg Guilliams said. “They have put themselves in a situation to where if we play decent that will give us a regional bid.”
The 14th ranked Blazers will enter the tournament as the second seed from the East Division after finishing a game behind Division Champions, West Florida.
“It is frustrating that we put ourselves in that situation,” Guilliams said. “It’s because of some of the games that we didn’t play well in earlier in the conference season.”
The Blazers should be re-joined by All-American slugger Brandon Decker and pitcher Ross Gusky, both of whom were suspended for Tuesday night’s game versus SCAD for violating team rules.
“No comment,” said Guilliams when asked about the suspensions. “Yes, it (their return) is a possibility.”
If the Blazers do go into the tournament without the two seniors, the Blazers will lose their top offensive weapon as Decker leads the team in batting average, hits, doubles, homeruns, total bases, slugging percentage, on base percentage and walks issued, while Gusky is the number two starter in the VSU rotation as he has posted a 6.25 ERA this season while racking up seven wins to just three loses.
If the distraction of Decker and Gusky were not enough, the Blazers are also dealing with the conference tournament be played during the time of finals for the university.
“It is a challenging thing,” Guilliams said. “We have guys trying to get papers done and some are trying to take exams before the conference tournament. Unfortunately our conference tournament falls right during finals week, so there will be some guys taking finals when we get back. It is challenging but you know that is college.”
This year’s conference tournament is set to be one of the toughest in the nation as four of the eight teams are ranked in the national top 25 poll and five of the eight teams in the tournament are ranked in the top eight of the South region standings.
“This will be the best conference tournament in the country for division II because of the quality of teams,” Guilliams said. “We will have to play well.”
Although the tournament is double elimination, it is clear that all roads lead through the fourth ranked Southern Arkansas Muleriders, who currently sit fourth in the nation with an 18-2 conference record. A first round win by VSU and SAU will pit the two teams together in the second round which will be held on Sunday.
Following the conference tournament, the Blazers will look to receive a bid for the South Region tournament, which will most likely be held at Southern Arkansas or Florida Southern.
Read about the GSC and South regional games online at VSUspectator.com.

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