High Point rallies to complete sweep of VMI

The VMI Keydets took a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the sixth inning, but the High Point Panthers scored the game’s final four runs en route to a 5-2 win Sunday afternoon in High Point, N.C.

With VMI (9-18, 3-6 Big South) leading 2-1, Sal Pezzino opened the High Point (19-11, 5-1) sixth with a single off Keydet starter Jeremy Brown. Ryan Retz then lined the ball through the right side for a hit, a ball that Keydet right fielder Jacob Morley charged, but threw wildly to third base. That allowed Pezzino to score and Retz to take third, and Retz then scored on a sacrifice fly to give the Panthers a lead they would not relinquish.

The Keydets mounted a rally in the eighth, as Brandon Diamond led off with a walk. He advanced to third on two infield outs, but HPU closer Jamie Schultz struck out George Piccirilli to end the inning. After the home team tacked on two runs in the eighth, VMI again rallied in the ninth, as the first two hitters reached against Schultz. The next three Keydets went down in order, however, as High Point prevailed 5-2.

Joe Goodman (4-0) was the victor for the Panthers, throwing two innings of scoreless relief, while Brown (0-3) took the loss for VMI. The Keydet hurler allowed three runs over 5 1/3 innings, striking out two and walking three, two of those in the first inning. His counterpart, Jacob Newberry, threw 5 2/3 innings and allowed two runs.

In that first inning, High Point took a 1-0 advantage. The first and third hitters walked, and after a strikeout, Devin Bujnovsky singled, scoring the first run of the game.

From there, the contest settled into a pitcher’s duel, and the next credible threat came in the fourth. In that frame, High Point put runners on second and third with two out, but Mike Miedzianowski popped up to second base to end the threat.

The Keydets rallied in the sixth. After High Point had pitched 18 straight scoreless innings, Drew Bryan singled with one out. Matt Winn was then hit by a pitch, and one out later, Goodman was summoned out of the bullpen to face Piccirilli. The Keydet DH was hit by the first pitch, and Gary LeClair followed a two-out, two-run single, giving VMI the 2-1 lead and setting the stage for the final 3 ½ frames.

LeClair led the way for the Keydet offense, going 3 for 4 with two RBI in his first collegiate appearance in the third slot in the batting order, while Retz and Ryan Rush had two hits apiece for High Point.

VMI baseball will return to action Tuesday, playing host to the Richmond Spiders at Gray-Minor Stadium. Game time is set for 6 p.m.


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