Wofford rallies from 8-1 deficit, tops VMI in extras, 12-10

vmi baseballIn a see-saw, extra-inning thriller, the Wofford Terriers edged the VMI Keydets, 12-10, in 11 innings Sunday in Lexington, Va. The four hour, 29 minute marathon victory allowed Wofford to win the SoCon series, two games to one.

After Wofford (33-20, 13-8) had rallied from an early 8-1 deficit and VMI (25-23, 11-10) had prolonged the game in thrilling fashion in the bottom of the ninth, the Terriers scored the winning runs in the 11th. Max McDougald singled and moved up on a sacrifice bunt. Chris Rubottom pinch ran, and one out later, Brett Rodriguez and Mack Nathanson walked.

McClain Bradley then took a free pass as well, scoring Rubottom with the eventual winning run. A wild pitch allowed an additional run to score, and VMI was retired in order in the bottom of the 11th.

On a day that saw the bullpens decide the game, Anthony Garcia worked six innings and allowed just one run. He moved to 4-1 with the win, while Nathan Eaton allowed the winning rally in the 11th and dropped to 2-1 with the loss.

VMI struck first, and did so early and often on the warm, summer-like day. Will Malbon hit his first of two homers to key a four-run first, and Peyton Maddox and Matt Dunlevy went back to back in the second to key another four-run frame and stake the home team to an 8-1 lead.

Wofford got a run back in the third and four more in the fourth, an inning highlighted by McClain Bradley’s three-run shot that cut the margin to 8-6.

Malbon launched another homer in the fourth, but an Alex Malsch single got that run right back and it was a 9-7 contest halfway through. Bradley led off the eighth with his second homer of the game, and after Andrew Orzel was hit, Eaton relieved and one batter later, Lawson Hill tied the game with a single up the middle. Hill then stole second and advanced to third on an error, setting up a shallow sacrifice fly by McDougald that gave Wofford its first lead.

The Keydets left the bases loaded in the eighth and Garcia retired the first two hitters in the ninth, leaving VMI down to its final out. Pinch-hitter Nathan Loyd hit a squibber between the mound and the third-base line. Garcia fielded and made an ill-advised throw that sailed down the line, allowing the play to go as a single and an error and putting Loyd at second. Jordan Ebersole pinch-ran and scored when Callen Nuccio laced a triple down the right-field line to tie the game, 10-10.

Neither team put together a threat in the 10th, setting the stage for the decisive 11th.

Offensively, Bradley led Wofford by going 3 for 6 with five RBI, while Peyton Maddox reached base five times in six plate appearances for VMI. Matt Pita had a three-hit game for the Keydets as well.