Matt Pita sets VMI stolen-base record in 12-6 win over Longwood
Matt Pita stole six bases to set a new school record, part of a 10-stolen base night for the VMI Keydets that helped boost them to a 12-6 win over the Longwood Lancers Tuesday evening in Farmville, Va.
The Keydets (13-13) got the speed game going during just the third at-bat of the game, when Nathan Eaton stole second after being hit by a pitch. VMI jumped out to the early 6-3 lead and Pita got involved in the running attack in the fourth, when he bunted for a hit and stole second and third.
He reached on a strikeout/wild pitch in the fifth and repeated the feat, and then in the ninth, he did it once more to break Shane Geisslinger’s previous school record of five stolen bases, set in April of 2006. Pita also became just the second player in Division I this season to steal six bases in a game, as the Keydets became only the fourth team to swipe 10 bags in a single game this year.
Tuesday’s performance was also only the 13th time on record in the SoCon that a team stole at least 10 bases in a game. The Keydets also drew 15 walks to set a new school record in that category.
Eric Byrd (1-0) was the winner after pitching four innings in relief and allowing three runs, two of which were earned. The victory is the first of Byrd’s career. Eric Harp (1-4), Longwood’s (7-19) second pitcher, gave up four runs on four hits and three walks.
The Keydets controlled the game from the third inning on, when they scored three runs to take the lead for good, 6-3. All told, VMI scored in the first five innings, doing so three times without the benefit of a hit. That put VMI up, 9-4, and Longwood got no closer than within four runs the rest of the way.
Offensively, three different Longwood players had multi-hit games, led by Sammy Miller’s three-hit performance, while Pita had the lone two-hit game for VMI. Jacob Jaye and Will Malbon walked three times, and Eaton was on base four times with two walks and two hit-by-pitch’s.
VMI baseball will return to action Wednesday, when the Keydets take on James Madison in Harrisonburg at 6:05 p.m.