ST. AUGUSTINE, FL – Tyler Vanover’s solo home run in the bottom of the 11th inning lifted Flagler to a 9-8 come-from-behind victory over No. 30 Valdosta State in non-conference baseball action at Drysdale Field Tuesday evening.
After Valdosta State reliever Mitch King struck out Lorenzo Butler to open the Saint half of the 11th, Vanover lifted a 1-1 pitch over the wall in left-center to end the game.
Valdosta State (15-7) raced out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the second inning. With one out in the frame, Michael Gouge doubled and scored when Matt Fitzsimmons hit a two-out single.Hunter Thompson, who entered the game having not hit a home run in 200 career at-bats, followed with a round shot over the wall in left field to pace the Blazers to their three-run lead.
Flagler (15-10) got a run back in the bottom of the second while each team added runs in the third inning. The Blazers added two more runs, including a Jimmy Dowdell RBI single, in the fifth before pushing their lead to 8-2 in the top of the sixth.
The Saints got two runs back in the bottom of the sixth inning before evening the game with four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning, including three runs with two outs in the frame.
Matthew Fears went 2-for-4 with two runs scored to lead the Blazers while Casey Kicklighter and Fitzsimmons were each 2-for-2. Thompson also finished the game with two hits as well as two runs driven in.
King allowed two hits and struck out two in 1.1 innings to fall to 0-1 on the season.
Valdosta State’s game at Thomas on Wednesday was cancelled earlier on Tuesday due to wet field conditions in Thomasville. The Blazers return to action this Saturday at 1:00 p.m. when they open a three-game Gulf South Conference series against Christian Brothers. The two teams play a doubleheader on Saturday followed by a single game at 1:00 p.m. Sunday.