published Saturday, May 4th, 2013

West Alabama wins in Gulf South Conference baseball at AT&T Field

West Alabama University's Luiji Mendez (38) congratulates Brett Langham after a score during the Gulf South Conference baseball tournament at AT&T Field Friday afternoon.
West Alabama University's Luiji Mendez (38) congratulates Brett Langham after a score during the Gulf South Conference baseball tournament at AT&T Field Friday afternoon.
Photo by Connor Choate.

The games on the field were the story for most of Friday, day two of the Gulf South Conference baseball tournament at AT&T Field. The rain in the forecast for this weekend also received a lot of attention.

Rain is expected throughout today and Sunday, which could throw the tournament schedule completely out of whack. The Chattanooga Lookouts return from their road trip Tuesday, so there is a limited window for the GSC to get in all its games.

Three games are scheduled for today -- two at AT&T Field and one at Chattanooga State -- and two are slated for Sunday at AT&T. The championship game is supposed to start Monday at noon.

Lookouts general manager Rich Mozingo and Chattanooga Sports Committee president Tim Morgan said that if the rain is heavy enough, they will explore their options for the weekend. They could include playing more games at Chattanooga State or playing at Lee University in Cleveland, which will become a GSC member this summer.

In the first winners-bracket game Friday, No. 6 seed West Alabama edged No. 7 West Georgia 4-3.

Blake McLemore got West Georgia off to a fast start, literally, with a first-inning inside-the-park home run.

"It took that weird bounce [after hitting the wall in center field] and that gave me time to get around and score," the third baseman said about the first inside-the-park homer of his career.

West Alabama tied the game at 3 in the bottom of the seventh on a two-run double by Jocobby Robinson. "I was just sitting on something I could drive and I got my pitch and swung at it," he said.

Later in the inning, the Tigers scored the go-ahead run on a throwing error by McLemore, who had to hurry a throw to first on a slow ground ball.

McLemore came to the plate in the ninth with a runner on first and two outs, but he got jammed by a Brett Ivey pitch and flied out to end the game.

West Alabama will face No. 5 seed Valdosta State today in the winners bracket. VSU upset top-seeded and nationally top-ranked Delta State in Friday's nightcap, winning 6-5 in 10 innings. Down 5-4 entering the bottom of the 10th, the Blazers loaded the bases and scored two runs on a fielding error to win.

Friday's first game, a surprising losers-bracket matchup between No. 2 seed Alabama-Huntsville and No. 3 West Florida, ended in the 11th inning. Kaleb Barlow kept West Florida alive with a long three-run home run for a 4-1 win.

In the other losers' matchup, No. 4 seed North Alabama beat No. 8 seed Christian Brothers 10-5 in a game that included a combined 29 hits.

about John Frierson...

John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...

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