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VALDOSTA Valdosta State’s Luke Suchon joked about it after the game, but when teammate Max Abramson put the bat on a pitch in the sixth inning of Saturday’s Game 3, it helped the Blazers seal their opening weekend series.
“He got off on one finally, and put some juice into it,” Suchon cracked after the Blazers earned a 9 2 win against the Embry Riddle Eagles at Billy Grant Field at Tommy Thomas Park.
Abramson’s highlight was a three run homer that extended a 6 2 VSU advantage to a comfortable seven run lead heading into the final inning. The junior’s deep shot scored Suchon and Dalton Murray.
“Just staying with the approach that we work on every day,” Abramson said, describing the at bat. “With runners on first and third, just stayed with the approach, trying to get the ball in the air and hit the mistake.”
Abramson finished with two hits and six RBIs for the Blazers (2 1). Dalton Duty also had two hits.
VSU plated three runs in the first inning.
But the Eagles (2 2) quickly cut the deficit with two runs in the top of the fourth.
Justin Franklin was hit by a pitch with bases loaded and Zach Howard scored. Cole Hubig scored on the ensuing at bat, courtesy of a Jackson McFarland sac fly.
O’Kevius Conway, Mack Hathcock and Murray each plated runs in the fourth for VSU.
“(Embry Riddle) gave us a few mistakes on the base running, keeping up with fastballs, some pitches to run on, steal on,” Suchon said. “And then with the timely hitting, you gotta do it sometimes. We did that well today.”
Hunter Jones (1 0) earned the win, tossing 5 1/3 innings,
surrendering just three hits for two runs with five walks and three strikeouts. Tristan Cone came on to relieve and allowed no further hits.
VSU 3Suchon singled down the infield line to score Hathcock in the 10th inning, giving VSU a 3 2 win in Game 2.
With two outs on the board, Suchon’s second hit of the afternoon advanced Duty from second and allowed Hathcock to plate the Blazers’ winning run in the extra frame.
“Fortunately for us, during the inning we scored, we had our best hitters up,” Blazers coach Greg Guilliams said. “And (the Eagles) were a little nervous pitching to a couple of the guys. Luke Suchon had a big year for us last year, and he’s a really good hitter. So we had the right guys up at the right time and, fortunately, we came through.”
The Blazers rallied from a 2 0 deficit to earn their first victory of opening weekend.
It was another slow offensive start in Saturday’s Game 2, but the Blazers were able to complete a winning comeback.
Trailing by two runs in the fifth, Murray singled up the middle and advanced to second on an error by centerfielder Kyle Guttveg. Kendall Herron raced to third and Conway scored to narrow the gap to one run.
The Blazers struck again in the eighth.
Suchon doubled through the left side and Murray scored the tying run with two outs in play, prompting the Eagles to make a pitching change.
Aidan Brady entered for Joey Gerber and ended the inning with a strikeout. Gerber took the loss after two innings on the mound, surrendering one hit for one earned run with two walks and two strikeouts.
John Mason (1 0) picked up the win for VSU. He allowed a hit with no runs and no walks with two strikeouts in two innings.
Suchon and Murray were the only Blazers with multiple hits. The team logged six hits.
No Embry Riddle player had multiple hits. The team was limited to four hits.
THEY SAID IT
“(Embry Riddle) changed speeds very well. At first we struggled letting the ball get deep and with two strikes we weren’t getting out in front, but we made the adjustment and it paid off.” Abramson said of the Eagles’ pitching challenges
“That was kind of icing on the cake. I thought that brought a lot of excitement for our guys. They were kind of down yesterday, so for them to come back today, get two big wins and feel good about it, I thought it was important for the psychology of our team.” Guilliams said of Abramson’s Game 3 homer.