VALDOSTA, Ga. – Valdosta State fell to Wingate 6-4 in game one of a Sunday doubleheader at Billy Grant Field in Valdosta, Ga., but the Blazers ended the day on a positive note with a walkoff extra inning 8-7 win over Florida Tech after a Marcus Sigmon base hit in the bottom of the 11thinning.
Wingate (2-2) scored early and often in game one, taking a 1-0 lead with a single run in the first and adding on with three in the third. The third inning surge by the Wingate offense led to two pitching changes, before Troy Terzi came on in relief in the third and settled down to hold the Bulldogs scoreless through the eighth inning after giving up two fourth inning runs.
The Blazers (4-2) cut into Wingate's 6-0 lead in the bottom half of the fifth on an RBI double by Dalton Duty, which scored Michael Gouge from first base. Valdosta State rallied in the bottom of the final inning to score three runs on three hits and two bulldog errors, but the comeback effort came up short, resulting in a 6-4 final in favor of the Bulldogs.
Kyle Andre suffered the loss for the Blazers in the opening contest, while Wingate's Brandon Donahue claimed the victory after allowing one run over five innings of work.
The Blazers carried over their ninth inning momentum into game two, scoring four runs in the bottom half of the first inning against Florida Tech (2-2) on four hits and two hits. Scott Mathews reached on a catcher's interference call, and Dalton Duty teamed up with Michael Gouge for back-to-back singles to load the bases. Sigmon followed with a fielder's choice grounder to third base to bring Mathews home for the game's first run, and Tyler York followed with an RBI single through the left side. A fielding error on the ensuing at bat by Panther third baseman Reid Neil allowed Sigmon to score, and the Blazers took a 4-0 lead on a Ryan Smith single later in the inning.
The Blazers added on two innings later after Sigmon walked to lead off the half inning, moved from first to third on a York single, and came in to score on a sacrifice fly by Jaykob Graham (PCHS 2011).
Florida Tech bounced back and picked up two in the top of the fourth on a two run blast by Grant McKown, and the Panthers tied the game up in next inning with three runs on three hits and a Blazer error. FIT threatened to add more in the fifth, but Colby Wisdom came on in relief for Beau Blair and struck out Daniel Szpik to limit the damage.
Drew Beyer relieved Tyler Deel in the top half of the fourth inning for the Panthers and blanked the Blazers through the eighth, which allowed Florida Tech to take a 7-5 lead on two runs in the ninth, but the Blazers got to Beyer in the bottom of the ninth with a single by Gouge and a heroic two-out, two-run blast over the left field wall by Sigmon to force extra innings.
"I don't want to overlook [Michael] Gouge's at-bat right before mine," said Sigmon after being asked about his game tying homer. "He went down 0-2 in the at bat before mine and battled back to get a single up the middle to allow [the home run] to even happen."
Two innings later, Dalton Duty delivered a leadoff grounder that hugged the left field line for a double, and Sigmon added to his clutch effort with the game winning single through the right side.
"I see great things with this team," added Sigmon after the game. "Even after the loss we had earlier today and our other loss against North Georgia. In both of those losses we came back late and made it a game, and we were able to do it again tonight. We don't go down easy, that's for sure."
Troy Massaro (1-0) picked up the win for Valdosta State in game two, while Brett Porter suffered the loss for the Panthers (0-1).
Valdosta State returns to action on the road this Tuesday to face Albany State in non-conference action in Albany, Ga. First pitch is slated for 5:00 p.m.