CARROLLTON, Ga. – Valdosta State pieced together two RBI doubles in the fourth and eighth innings to defeat West Alabama 2-1 in the third round of the Gulf South Conference Tournament at Cole Field on Tuesday.
“It was a well-played game,” said UWA head coach Gary Rundles.
“Both teams pitched outstanding, we just couldn't get the hits when we needed them and unfortunately that's baseball sometimes. I was proud of the way we played but now we have to get our heads back up and come out tomorrow ready for a war.”
Valdosta State is now the only unbeaten team left in the tournament with a 32-15 season record. West Alabama now falls to 23-29 overall, but will remain in the tournament with only one loss.
Blazer starting pitcher Benjamin Weil (5-2) closed down the final three innings and allowed only one hit to pick up his third win of the tournament. Weil now holds the record for most wins in the GCS Tournament. Barry Meeks (3-6) pitched through the first seven innings for UWA and allowed two both of Valdosta State's runs to take the loss.
Jamie McMillan and Michael Gouge both claimed RBI doubles. Gouge also finished with a run and 2-for-2 at the plate. DJ Turo homered in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game at 1-1. For Turo, he now has five homeruns on the year. Matthew Magee finished 3-for-4 for the Tigers.
West Alabama remains in the tournament to face nationally ranked No. 5 Delta State at 11 a.m. (C.S.T.) in on Wednesday in Carrollton, Ga. A win over the Statesman will send the Tigers to the GSC Tournament Championship game, while a loss would send them home.
“I don't think it is a matter of who we play,” said Rundles.
“Anytime you get this far in the tournament you're going to play a quality opponent. There will be some added pressure knowing that just one more loss will send you home, but once the game gets started you just have to play the game and let those nerves go and trust your ability.”
Valdosta State now moves on to take on West Georgia at 3 p.m. (C.S.T.). A loss would eliminate West Georgia from the tournament while a Valdosta State loss would send the Blazers to a championship tiebreaker on Thursday.