Blazers Fall 6-3 In South Region Opener

| May 19, 2017

CLEVELAND, Miss. A late comeback effort fell short for the Valdosta State baseball team in the opening round of the NCAA Division II Baseball South Regional Tournament, as the No. 5 seeded Blazers fell to the No. 4 seeded Florida Southern Mocs, 6-3, on Thursday night in Cleveland, Miss.

The Blazers outhit their opponent with eight hits against FSC’s seven, but defensive miscues by VSU timely hitting by FSC proved to be the difference, as the Mocs scored half of their six runs with two outs. Florida Southern’s biggest inning came in the third, when Mitch Reeves and Jason Sierra struck for back-to-back RBI base hits with two outs on the scoreboard.

A solo homer in the bottom of the fourth by Christian Maglich gave the Mocs and starter Logan Browning a 4-0 lead after four. The Blazers finally broke through in the fifth, however, to pull the game back to within striking distance at 4-1, thanks to an RBI single by Ryan Slaughter, which drove in Cody Ilgenfritz after his leadoff double.

Following another FSC run in the bottom of the sixth, the aforementioned comeback effort ensued, as Ilgenfritz stroked a single to left in the top of the seventh, and Clint Carr blasted his second home run of the season over the left field wall to cut the deficit to 5-3 with nobody out.

The three runs were all the Blazer bats could muster, however, and Valdosta State was unable to find a way to overcome five errors in the field, which led to four unearned runs in the game for Florida Southern, including one additional insurance run in the eighth.

Hunter Jones suffered the loss for the Blazers and fell to 7-6 overall on the season, while Browning walked away with the victory to lift his season stint to 8-2.

The Mocs improved to 35-15 overall and earned the right to compete against the top-seeded Delta State Statesmen on Friday. The Blazers, who fell to 33-21, slid into the loser’s bracket and will play again on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. against the loser of Friday’s winner’s bracket game between the Nova Southeastern Sharks and the Tampa Spartans.

Look for coverage right here at www.vstateblazers.com, as the Blazers continue postseason play this weekend in the NCAA Division II South Regional.

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