Big offensive night, strong performance from Josh Winder, push VMI past Western Carolina, 11-7
Eight of VMI’s nine starters had at least one hit, led by Will Malbon’s five-RBI night, as the VMI Keydets downed the Western Carolina Catamounts, 11-7, in the opener of a three-game SoCon series contested Friday in Lexington, Va.
Western Carolina (3-29, 1-9) jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning against Josh Winder, but VMI (16-17, 5-5) drilled four straight extra-base hits to start the bottom of the frame against Chase Walter, with a Malbon homer capping that and giving the Keydets the lead.
WCU scored once in the second inning to tie the game, but VMI scored six unanswered runs in the middle innings, highlighted by a five-run sixth that included a mammoth homer by Collin Fleischer and a three-run double by Malbon.
Meanwhile, Winder settled in, allowing just one hit from the fifth through the eighth as he cruised through a season-high eight innings of work. WCU managed three runs in the ninth, but Matt Eagle picked up the final three outs and the Keydets prevailed.
Winder (2-4) pitched eight strong innings with a season-high 11 strikeouts and got the win, while Walter (0-5) took the loss after allowing six runs in 5 2/3 innings. Malbon had his second five-RBI game in a week, while Fleischer closed to within two of tying Jordan Ballard for the all-time VMI home run record.
Jake Huggins added a homer as well in the victory.
VMI baseball will return to action Saturday, when the Keydets and Catamounts play a doubleheader to wrap up their series. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.