Cougars lose heartbreaker in Valdosta -, GA News Weather & Sports

Cougars lose heartbreaker in Valdosta

VALDOSTA, Ga. – With two-outs and two-strikes in the bottom of the ninth, Bryant Hayman doubled down the rightfield line scoring Daniel Hoover to lift Valdosta State to a 4-3 victory over Columbus State on Wednesday evening. The game took place at Billy Grant Field in Valdosta. 

Entering his second full inning of work, Matthew Kuhlenberg struck out the first batter of the ninth before Hoover singled to leftfield for Valdosta State's first hit since the fifth. Kuhlenberg recorded another strikeout for the second out of the inning but during the at-bat Hoover stole second to put himself into scoring position for the Blazers. Haymen delivered sending a shot just over Cameron Scott's glove at first base and down the rightfield line to score Hoover for the victory. 

Offense was the story early on the in the game as the two sides combined for 12 hits in the first three innings. 

Columbus State (3-9) scored a run in the top of the first after J.D. Pullen and Jimmy Obermark led the game off with back-to-back singles. Scott would drive in Pullen later in the inning on a groundout to second base. 

The Blazers came right back with a run of their own thanks to consecutive doubles to lead off the inning. Jake Montgomery doubled down the leftfield line while Hoover traded places with him during the next at-bat as he doubled to leftfield. 

The Cougars were ready to blow the game open in the third as they had runners on the corners with just one out. Obermark continued his hot hitting doubling and moved to third on an infield single by Ryan Lewis. After Lewis was picked off from first for the second out of the inning, Obermark decided to take things into his own hands stealing home for the second run of the game. 

VSU's starter Nick Fogarty then became wild as he walked three batters, with a fielding error mixed in between, to allow Columbus State to take a 3-1 lead. 

Like they did in the first, Valdosta State came roaring back tying the game at three-all in the bottom of the third. Matthew Fears led the inning off with a single to rightfield off of Cougar starter Sean Muller. An infield single and a wild pitch put runners on second and third for the Blazers before Nick Rodda grounded out to bring home Fears to make it a 3-2 game. 

CSU would have been out of the inning during the next at-bat but a throwing error by Cougar third baseman Cameron Griffen extended the inning and allowed Valdosta State to tie the game. 

From the fourth inning on, the game turned into a pitching duel. Jake Ezell entered the game for the Cougars pitching three scoreless innings. He allowed just one hit which came in the fifth while he punched out three. 

Columbus State's best opportunity to break the deadlock came in the seventh as Pullen singled and moved to second on a passed ball with no outs. However, two strikeouts and a pop up ended the threat. 

The Cougars again put a runner on second base in the ninth, this time with one out. Again, they failed to score as the Blazers walked off with the victory in the bottom of the inning. 

Despite allowing just two hits in 2.2 innings of work, Kuhlenberg (0-1) took the loss for the Cougars. He struck out five batters while allowing just the one run. 

Aaron Jividen led all hitters with a perfect 4-for-4 day for Columbus State while J.D. Pullen and Jimmy Obermark each notched two-hit performances. 

For the game, CSU was just 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position. 

Benjamin Weil (1-0) picked up the win for Valdosta State recording the final two outs of the game. 

Bryant Hayman and Daniel Hoover both went 2-for-5 with RBI doubles. 

Columbus State will now return home to host Peach Belt Conference foe Augusta State on Saturday and Sunday. CSU and ASU will play a doubleheader on Saturday, February 23 with first pitch coming at 1:00 p.m. ET.

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