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Bottom of order, bullpen Lead VMI over Elon, 10-4

vmiJacob Jaye and Josh Hollifield combined to go 5 for 8 with five RBI and the VMI Keydet bullpen turned in six scoreless innings, leading their squad to a 10-4 win over the Elon Phoenix in non-conference baseball action Saturday in Elon, N.C. The VMI win evened the series at a game apiece.

Elon (8-11) starter Jordan Barrett had set down 15 in a row and led 4-3, but Peyton Maddox reached on an error with one out in the seventh. Jaye singled and Hollifield bunted for a hit to score Maddox and tie the game, 4-4. Michael Diodato and Matt Dunlevy followed with RBI singles as well to give the Keydets a two-run lead, 6-4. VMI (8-9) would score four in the ninth to pull away and take the victory.

Derek Tremblay (1-0) was the winning pitcher in relief, as he pitched a shutout frame to earn his first collegiate win. Barrett (1-2) surrendered five runs – four earned – in 6 1/3 innings and Ryan Bennett gave up only a single over the final two frames to get his second save.

The Keydets struck first on the beautiful spring day, as VMI tallied three runs in the second. Will Malbon singled with one out and Peyton Maddox followed with a walk. Jacob Jaye then singled to load the bases, and Josh Hollifield followed with a double to left. The ball just eluded a diving Kyle Jackson and got near the wall, clearing off the bases and putting VMI up, 3-0.

A two-run homer by Liam O’Regan cut the margin to 3-2 in the second and the Phoenix took the lead in the third, thanks to a two-run shot by Shawn Blake.

The Keydets then went to their bullpen – Corey Johnston, Tremblay, Michael Geary, Jack Gomersall and Bennett – which turned in six scoreless innings. Elon finished the game 0 for 12 with runners in scoring position, and VMI took advantage and claimed the 6-4 lead in the seventh.

The home team rallied in the seventh with a leadoff double off Tremblay, but Geary and Gomersall retired the next three hitters without incident.

The Keydets added on with four runs in the ninth, and Elon managed just one hit off Bennett over the final two innings as VMI took the win.

Offensively, Dunlevy and Will Malbon joined Jaye and Hollifield with multi-hit games, as they had two hits apiece. Ryne Ogren led Elon by going 4 for 5 with three doubles.

VMI baseball will return to action Sunday, when the Keydets and Phoenix wrap up their series at 1:30 p.m.

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