Macera Earns 700th Coaching Victory; Blazers Sweep ASU

| February 18, 2016

vsu softball

ALBANY – The Blazers picked up a pair of wins over Albany State (7-0, 6-3) on a historic day for Valdosta State softball, as Head Coach Thomas Macera reached his 700th career victory at the collegiate level.

“These wins came from a combination of all of the players who have played for me in the past and many great teams who have played for me during my 11 years here,” said Macera after the two game sweep. “It’s been a blessed journey that I’ve had. It’s been a very blessed journey, and it’s nothing I’ve done. It’s been a bunch of great players and coaches that have been around me in my career, and although I may get the credit for 700 wins, there are great number of people that have been very involved with helping me get to this point.”

The win in game one came as a result of another stellar pitching effort by Blazer ace Caitlyn Calhoun, who allowed just one hit over seven innings while racking up nine strikeouts and allowing just two batters to reach.

To complement Calhoun’s shutout, the Blazers padded a two run lead in the sixth with four runs on four hits. Brandy Morganled the frame off with a single through the left side and moved into scoring position after Kelly Gordon came on to pinch hit and was hit by a pitch. Chelsea Canara loaded the bases with a bunt single, and Tara McIntyre delivered an RBI grounder to first to put VSU up 3-0. With pinch runner Kaylee Brown at third and Canara at second, a wild pitch got away from catcher Zorria Mann and both runners scored as Mann struggled to chase down the loose ball. Jaime Phillips, who went 4-for-5 in the game, promptly added a double before moving up on a Kiley Rusen single and scoring on an RBI grounder off the bat of Hayley Cruthers.

Working with a 6-0 lead, the Blazers added on in the final inning with a Morgan walk and a Shaw infield single, which led to a sacrifice bunt by Canara and an insurance run after Samantha Smith drove a sacrifice fly to center.

In game two, Rusen struck for two home runs to help the Blazers overcome four miscues in the field. Rusen’s two long balls pushed her season total to six and accounted for five of Valdosta State’s six runs in the nightcap.

Maci Fletcher came on in relief in the fifth and picked up her first win of the season, while Calhoun came on in the seventh to secure her first save of the season. The victory marked Macera’s 700th victory over the course of his combined career at Thomas University and Valdosta State, and 494 of those wins have come during his time at VSU.

On the year, Valdosta State improved to 9-3-1 overall, while the Golden Rams fell to 1-5 on the season.

Valdosta State returns to action on Saturday to open up a three game, Gulf South Conference weekend series against the Lady Bucs of Christian Brothers. Saturday’s double header begins at 2:00 p.m., with the final game of the series scheduled to take place on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m.

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