MEMPHIS, Tenn.- The No. 10 Valdosta State softball team swept Christian Brothers in a Gulf South Conference series doubleheader Saturday afternoon. The Blazers took game one in six innings, 11-1, before defeating the Buccaneers, 19-7, in the second game. With the doubleheader sweep, the Blazers have now won five of their conference series matchups this season and are currently 23-4 overall and 12-2 in GSC play while the Buccaneers are 6-18 overall and 1-10 in conference play.
Game #1: #10 Valdosta State 11, Christian Brothers 1 (6 Innings)
The first game of the day had a slow start until the top of the third inning. In that inning, the Blazers struck first as junior Kinzie Nelson took a lead-off walk and advanced to second behind a sacrifice bunt. Junior Morgan Hill then singled to send Nelson home as the Blazers went up 1-0. Hill stole second base as freshman Jayme Prandine smacked a single to right field to score Hill, 2-0. Prandine was able to reach second behind a Buccaneer throwing error before sophomore Abby Sulte singled to right field, advancing Prandine to third. Sulte advanced to second on the throw before a wild pitch sent Prandine home, giving VSU a 3-0 lead. A Blazer walk and a wild pitch then allowed Sulte to reach home, giving the Blazers a 4-0 lead before the end of the frame.
In the top of the fourth, Valdosta State added a couple more runs as freshman Jasmin Stewart walked to kick off the inning. Nelson then singled to left field before a throwing error allowed Nelson to reach second and Stewart to reach third. Freshman Saylor McNearney singled to score Stewart and put the Blazers up 5-0 before a sacrifice fly from Prandine allowed Nelson to make it home and give the Blazers a 6-0 cushion.
VSU continued to strike in the top of the sixth as McNearney singled and stole second before Hill cracked a two-run shot to right field, putting the Blazers up 8-0. Following the homer, Prandine singled and Sulte walked as a Blazer groundout advanced the pair to second and third base. Junior Katie Proctor then launched a three-run homer to give the Blazers an 11-0 lead. The Blazer defense held strong in the bottom of the sixth, only giving up one run, as the Blazers took game one, 11-1, behind the eight-run rule.
Senior Samantha Richards was in the circle for VSU, recording her 17th win and 16th complete game of the season. In six total innings, she fanned eight, walked three and allowed one run on three hits. At the plate for the Blazers, Hill recorded three hits for two runs and three RBI behind a booming two-run home run in the top of the sixth to earn Guardian Bank Player of the Game honors.
Game #2: #10 Valdosta State 19, Christian Brothers 7 (6 Innings)
In the bottom of the first, Christian Brothers took an early lead behind a solo home run to go up 1-0. However, the Blazers answered back in the top of the second as a Blazer walk was capitalized on by senior Taylor Lewis, who doubled deep to left center, tying the game up at 1-1. Stewart then singled to center, advancing junior Kayla Tosone, who was pinch running for Lewis, to home plate, giving the Blazers the lead, 2-1.
The top of the third inning was an explosive frame for Valdosta State. It began with Hill knocking a base hit to center field followed by Prandine walking. Sulte then singled to advance Prandine to second and send Hill home to put the Blazers up 3-1. Proctor then snagged a base hit on a bunt to load the bases before Lewis and Macera walked to give Valdosta State a 5-1 lead. Nelson then reached first on a fielder’s choice as Proctor scored to give VSU a 6-1 edge. Stewart doubled to score two more and put Nelson on third as the Blazer lead was built to seven, 8-1. McNearney sent two more home on a single to left before advancing to second on the throw, building the Valdosta State lead to nine, 10-1. The Blazers then scored one more in the inning as Prandine grounded out to advance McNearney home as VSU led 11-1. In the top of the third alone, the Blazers had 15 total batters up, scoring nine runs on six hits.
The Buccaneers added a couple of runs in the bottom of the third behind a double and three singles to cut into the Blazer lead, 11-3. Christian Brothers then added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth on a couple of base hits to cut the deficit to six, 11-5, before a two-run homer from the Buccaneers made the contest a four-run ball game, 11-7.
The Blazers struck back in the top of the fifth as a Blazer walk set up for Proctor crushing her second homer of the day to put VSU up by six once again, 13-7. In the top of the sixth, the Blazers got into another bases-loaded opportunity behind base hits from Nelson, junior Mackenzie Kilpatrick and McNearney. A pair of bases-loaded walks allowed the Blazers to tack on two more runs before Lewis smashed her second grand slam of the week to put VSU up by 12 runs, 19-7. The Blazer defense battened down the hatches in the bottom of the sixth, holding the Buccaneers to no runs. The eight-run rule was then put in place to give VSU the 19-7 victory and the conference series win.
Three different Blazers were in the circle for VSU, but sophomore Madison Lumpp was credited with her fourth win while Richards was credited with her first save. In six innings of play, the three Blazer pitchers combined for six strikeouts, four walks and seven runs on 10 hits. At the dish for Valdosta State, Lewis had two hits for two runs with a double and her second grand slam of the week for 6 RBI to earn Guardian Bank Player of the Game honors.
The Blazers will look to complete the sweep of the Buccaneers in the series finale on Sunday, Mar. 19 at 1 p.m. ET, closing out their five-game week. For all things Valdosta State softball, visit vstateblazers.com and go to the softball schedule page.