With just two games remaining in the regular season, Valdosta State looks to get on track for the postseason and play winning baseball.
The Blazers host non-conference opponent Thomas (26-16) this Saturday in a doubleheader. The Night Hawks, competing at the NAIA Division I level, should prove to be a tough test.
VSU should embrace the chance to play a quality opponent, as a win could be a well-timed boost in momentum.
The game will prove to be a battle of strengths; the Blazers’ bats will be facing strong pitching from Thomas, who boasts an impressive team ERA of 3.20.
However, the Blazers’ offense has been impressive in their own right, with a team batting average of .310 and over 90 extra base hits.
VSU ranks in the top three for the Gulf South Conference in batting average, doubles, home runs, RBIs and total bases.
VSU second baseman Matthew Fears leads the way, hitting .380 to go along with 14 doubles, which are both tops for the team.
Fears, who had been hitting at .405, has seen his average drop a bit over the past few weeks in the midst of a mild slump.
Bryant Hayman has been strong all year for VSU, leading the team with nine home runs, 50 RBIs and a .670 slugging percentage.
Thomas has a quality hitter of their own, Tyler Palmer, who is hitting .462 on the year.
Thomas could be victims of rust come Saturday because they haven’t played in two weeks due to rain.
With no remaining conference games, the Blazers stand fifth in the GSC, the same exact spot they were in last year when VSU won the conference tournament.
This article was written by Chris Kessler.