Courtesy of VSU Athletics
AMERICUS, Ga. – Stephen Eldridge hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning to propel Georgia Southwestern to an 8-6 victory over Valdosta State in non-conference baseball action at Hurricane Stadium Wednesday evening. John Duran led off the fifth inning with a double and, two batters later, moved to third when Michael Coffey singled. Eldridge proceeded to hit the ball over the wall in left field, the first home run allowed by Valdosta State (8-7) on the year, to give the Hurricanes (6-12) its two-run margin of victory.
GSW opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning when it plated three runs. With one out, Duran singled and moved to second on a Jarrod Taylor base hit. A walk loaded the bases before an Eldridge base hit drove home Duran and Taylor. Zach John relieved VSU starter Josh Mann and gave up a sacrifice fly that gave Georgia Southwestern a 3-0 advantage.
After a Josh Sanders double in the second inning gave GSW a four-run advantage, VSU evened the game with four runs in the third. Dan Hoover and Will Wilson each walked to open the inning before an error on a Hunter Thompson ground ball loaded the bases. Ryan McClellan walked to force home Hoover and, two batters later, Bryant Hayman also walked to score Wilson. Jake Montgomery was hit by a pitch to plate McClellan for the third Valdosta State run of the inning while a Jake Fields single plated McClellan to even the game at 4-4.
A Wilson error in centerfield briefly gave Georgia Southwestern the lead once again, but the Blazers scored two runs in the fourth inning to gain a one-run advantage. Cooper Lemonds pinch hit for Wilson to open the frame and singled before being lifted for pinch runner Will Austin. Austin stole second and scored as a Thompson sacrice bunt was throw away, a play that allowed Thompson to move to second. After a ground out moved the base runner to third, Hayman singled to bring him home for a 6-5 Valdosta State lead.
Fields had three hits and an RBI to lead Valdosta State while Hayman drove in two on the game.
Ben Watson (0-1) took the loss as he allowed four runs, three earned, on four hits in 2.1 innings of relief work.
Valdosta State returns to action Saturday, March 9 at 3 p.m. when it travels to Pensacola, Fla. to take on No. 8 West Florida in Gulf South Conference action.