JMU walks off, defeats VMI, 4-3
Anthony Piccolino singled home the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, leading the James Madison Dukes to a 4-3, walk-off win over the VMI Keydets in non-conference baseball action Wednesday night in Harrisonburg, Va.
The Keydets (13-14) had loaded the bases with one out in the ninth of the 3-3 game, but Shelton Perkins struck out Nathan Eaton and got Matt Pita on a ground ball. Josh Jones then walked with one out in the JMU (15-12) ninth against Matt Eagle. After a strikeout, Jones stole second and Piccolino followed by hitting a 3-2 pitch into left field for the game-winning hit.
The Keydets were held to just two hits by six JMU pitchers, but took advantage of 10 walks and never trailed until the game-ending hit. Eaton walked three times to lead the VMI offense, while DaVonn Griffin was 3 for 3 with two runs scored to lead the Dukes.
VMI jumped ahead in the first inning when Eaton led off with a walk, stole second and one out later, moved to third on a wild pitch. He then scored on a Jacob Jaye sacrifice fly, and that was the score until the Keydets added two more runs in the fourth and led, 3-0, all without the benefit of a hit.
Keydet starter Brandon Barbery, meanwhile, was in fine form and kept JMU off the board until Griffin hit a solo homer in the fifth to make it a 3-1 game. The Dukes got another run back in the seventh, but Barbery left with a 3-2 lead after seven. The Dukes tied it in the eighth against the Keydet bullpen, setting the stage for the dramatic ninth inning proceedings.
Barbery delivered seven innings of two-run baseball, holding the Dukes to just three hits, but got no decision. Perkins (3-0) was the winner, while Eagle (1-2) took the loss in relief.
VMI baseball will return to action Friday night in Johnson City, Tenn., when the Keydets face the Bucs of ETSU. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.