written by: Chris Webb
No. 4 Valdosta State (10-0) continued their perfect start to the season defeating Columbus State (6-6) 4-1 Wednesday night at Billy Grant Field.
The Cougars pitching struggled early against the Blazer bats, joining the growing list of teams unable to handle VSU’s powerful offense.
The Blazers jumped on the board quickly scoring three runs in the first inning giving their pitching an early lead CSU couldn’t overcome.
VSU has outscored their opponents 13-1 in the first inning in all 10 games this year.
“I think it’s proven at all levels of baseball, whoever scores first usually wins,” head coach Greg Guilliams said about his team’s batting early in games. “The way our guys keep coming out tells me that they are ready to play each day.”
Leading the way for VSU at the plate Wednesday was right fielder Jimmy Dowdell going 2-4 with two runs batted in, including a big RBI-double following a RBI-triple off the bat of catcher Bryant Hayman in the first inning to give VSU a 2-0 lead.
VSU used a total of five pitchers in efforts to keep arms fresh heading into this weekend’s big series against West Florida.
“It was the game plan the whole time, we wanted to rest some arms and not over use anyone going into the weekend,” Guilliams said.
Starting on the mound for the Blazers was senior Zakk White, who went two strong innings for VSU, allowed zero runs on one hit and one walk before being replaced by Cameron Tewksbury in top of the third.
Tewksbury struggled allowing all three batters he faced to reach base and one to score.
Coming up huge out of the bullpen was Colby Wisdom, who shut down the Cougar bats when he made an appearance during the middle of the third inning rally.
Replacing a struggling Tewksbury who failed to record an out in the third.
Wisdom finished with two innings pitched with two strikeouts on just one hit allowed.
The lefty has really settled into his role out of the bullpen as a change of pace type pitcher and now hosts a season earned run average of 1.42.
“Just focusing on my role, I know I’m going to be throwing off speed coming into the game. My main thing is just knowing what I have to do and being able to get it done,” Wisdom said about his early success.
Coming into the game up 3-1; CSU had runners on 3rd and 2nd with 0 outs, Wisdom was able to make quick work of the next three batters and stranded both runs on base, preserving the lead for VSU.
“That was probably the difference in the game, it’s a 3-1 game, no outs, they had a rally going and ended up scoring no more runs After that I don’t think they threatened the rest of the ball game,” Guilliams said about the third inning.
Ethan Bornstein got his second save of the season, coming into the game during the sixth inning and silenced the Cougars bats pitching three innings of no hit ball.
VSU heads to Pensacola, Fla. this weekend to take on No. 2 West Florida in an early season top 5 match-up that may give us a glimpse at how the GSC plays out this year.
Follow Chris on Twitter: @CTRSWEbb