VALDOSTA, Ga. (February 28, 2020) - In the most recent NCBWA South Region poll, the Rollins Tars checked in at #5, while Valdosta State held down the #8 spot. In an important South Region series, the Blazers snatched the series-opening win against Rollins on Friday night, winning 10-6.
After an easy first inning for both sides, Valdosta got the scoring going in the bottom of the second. The Blazers pushed three runs across in the frame thanks to a home run to right by Mike Christpolous, a pair of wild pitches, two hit by pitches, and a walk. The sloppy play set the tone for the evening for Rollins. In the fourth, a walk and an error put two men on for Dalton Board. The Valdosta State leadoff man, who had a .208 slugging percentage coming into the game, sent a three-run blast over the outfield wall to make it a 6-0 ballgame.
Rollins showed plenty of fight despite the ugly start to the game, and pieced together a huge rally in the 5th inning. After a popout to start things off, eight straight Tars reached base. Andres Antonini hit his fourth double of the year, and was joined on base by Cody Oerther, who walked. Next up was Sam LaFontaine, who sliced a double down the left field line to score both runners. Tyler Colson, Cameron Meehan, and Jack Gonzalez all followed with base hits to score a third run and load the bases. Valdosta State brought in reliever Bryce Van Horn who promptly hit Luke Reidy with a pitch, and then walked Jake Rolly to score two more. After a second out, Antonini drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch to bring in Gonzalez and tie the game at six apiece.
The momentum did not stay on the Tars' side for long as Valdosta State was able to get two runs back in the bottom half. Alec Alywine led off with a single, moved to second on a groundout, and then went to third on a wild pitch. Ryan Del Negro then brought Alywine home on a sac fly to center. The second run of the inning came when Christopolous scored on a wild pitch, the third of the inning for Rollins, to make it 8-6.
The final runs of the game came in the 7th inning when the Blazers plated two thanks to a pair of errors from the Tars and an RBI single from Jisjar Clotida.
It was a tough game for Rollins who went 6-32 at the plate, committed three errors in the field, walked nine, and had four wild pitches.
The Tars will look to bounce back in game two of the series on Saturday afternoon. Drew Daczkowski is the probable starter for Rollins on the mound. First pitch is slated for 2:00 pm. Stay tuned to RollinsSports.com for the latest updates.