Home Eighth-inning RBI single lifts VMI past Gardner-Webb, 4-3

Eighth-inning RBI single lifts VMI past Gardner-Webb, 4-3


vmi_logo2Matt Winn singled home the go-ahead run with two outs in the eighth inning and then threw out the tying run trying to steal in both the eighth and ninth as the VMI Keydets defeated the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs, 4-3, in the opener of a non-conference doubleheader Saturday at John Henry Moss Stadium in Boiling Springs, N.C.

The Keydets (11-21) trailed 3-2 going to the eighth but a two-out double by David Geary scored Tyler Tharp to tie the game. Winn then followed with a single up the middle to make it 4-3, Keydets, and his throwing arm then took over. He gunned down pinch-runner Taylor Fisher to end the eighth and with two out, threw out Tyler Best trying to steal in the ninth to end the game.

Offensively, Winn was one of three Keydets to post two hits, while Best and Collin Thacker had two hits apiece for the Runnin’ Bulldogs (18-21). Will Connerley had VMI’s lone home run, his ninth of the year that moved him within three of VMI’s all-time top-10 single season listing.

Andrew Woods (4-1) picked up the victory in his return to the weekend rotation, going seven innings and allowing three runs, two earned, and striking out eight. Matt Fraudin left with the lead for GWU, but reliever Bradley Hallman was tagged for both of the eighth-inning runs and dropped to 4-2 with the loss. Taylor Edens saved his eighth game of the year by pitching the final two innings and allowing just two baserunners.

Gardner-Webb jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first, when Best hit a 1-1 pitch just over the right field wall for a leadoff, solo home run. It was his second long ball of the year, and that remained the score until the fourth, when a two-run shot by Patrick Graham made it 3-0, GWU.

The Keydets rallied in the sixth, when Ray Lopez led off with a single and one out later, stole second. Tharp grounded out, but Geary singled up the middle to make it a 3-1 game.

VMI added a run in the seventh, when Connerley hit a solo blast to left-center field to cut the lead to 3-2, and then took the lead in the eighth. Lopez led off with a walk, but after a sacrifice bunt moved him to second, was thrown out 6-5 on a fielder’s choice at third base. That put Tharp at first with two outs, but Geary came through with another two-out RBI double, this time on a double that tied the score. Winn then hit a 3-2 pitch up the middle for a 4-3 VMI lead that his arm would help sustain.



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