VALDOSTA, Ga. – Valdosta State plated the game-winning run with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning, and posted a 7-6 win over visiting Saint Leo baseball in a non-conference clash on Wednesday night at Billy Grant Field.
The Lions move to 18-17 overall with the loss in the teams' first meeting since 2014. Saint Leo will return to Sunshine State Conference play on Thursday night when it travels to Miami Shores, Fla., to face Barry University in the start of a three-game conference series.
Valdosta State (25-14) opened the home half of the 10th with a single by Ryan Slaughter, who was promptly sacrificed over to second by Tyler Homer. Saint Leo pitcher Zach Whitaker fanned Tyler Morris for a second out, putting the Lions one out away from getting out of the jam.
That brought the Blazers' Dalton Murray to the plate, who laced a double to right center to plate Slaughter with the game-winning run.
Saint Leo's Alex Mata forced the game into extra innings with a solo home run, his fourth of the season, with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, erasing what had been a one-run lead for the Blazers.
Saint Leo got on the board first with four runs on two hits, two walks, and two Valdosta State errors in the top of the fifth inning. Nick Boland and Derek Gibree each drew a bases on balls to put two aboard with one out, and Zach Scott moved both runners with a single to center field.
A Valdosta State error at short allowed Gibree and Boland to score, and Scott crossed when Alex Mata reached on another Blazer error. Shane Williams plated the Lions' fourth run of the frame with a single to left center, scoring Mata.
The Blazers responded with six runs in the home half of the fifth on three hits, including RBI singles by Kendall Herron and Slaughter and an RBI double off the bat of Chipper Andzel.
Saint Leo outhit Valdosta State, 11-7, with Williams, Turner, and Mann each recording two hits for the Lions. Harris charted Saint Leo's lone extra-base hit with a double. Four Lion pitchers saw action in the game, with Francis Ortiz getting the start and lasting into the fifth inning. Whitaker was charged with the loss for his 2 2/3 innings of work in relief.
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