VALDOSTA, GA – No. 4 Valdosta State scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning and made the lead stand-up as the Blazers defeated Columbus State 4-1 in non-conference baseball action at Billy Grant Field Wednesday.
With one out in the bottom of the first, Mike Reed was hit by a pitch before Bryant Hayman hit a first-pitch triple to right field. Jimmy Dowdell followed with a double down the right field line that scored Hayman. Dowdell moved to third on a wild pitch and, after a Kevin Cruz walk, scored when Michael Gouge hit a sacrifice fly to put VSU in front 3-0.
Columbus State (6-6) got a run back in the top of the third inning as the first three batters of the inning reached base safely. Carson Bowers walked to open the inning before Blake Edwards singled. Brendan Collins followed with a double to left that plated Bowers. However, Colby Wisdom came out of the Blazer bullpen and struck out the first two batters he faced before inducing a ground ball to short to preserve the 3-1 Blazer lead.
The Blazers added a run in the fifth as Mike Reed hit into a fielder’s choice and moved to second on an error on the play. After Hayman was intentionally walked, Dowdell singled to left to bring Reed home for a 4-1 VSU advantage.
Dowdell led Valdosta State with two hits and two RBI in four at-bats on the day while Fears, Hayman and Hunter Thompson had one hit each. Reed saw his seven-game hitting streak come to an end as he was 0-for-1 in the game, during which he was hit by a pitch three times.
Beau Blair allowed just two hits and struck out two in 2.0 innings of work to improve to 2-0 on the season. Ethan Bornstein walked one and struck out two in the final three innings for his second save of the year.
Columbus State, which stranded nine base runners in the game, had six different batters tally a hit in the game. Jordan Villahuer allowed three runs on three hits in 2.0 innings to fall to 1-2.
Valdosta State returns to action Saturday, February 22 when it begins a three-game Gulf South Conference series at No. 2 West Florida. The two teams will play a doubleheader beginning at 2:00 p.m. Saturday followed by a single game at 2:00 p.m. Sunday.