Matthew Eagle pitched six scoreless innings in relief and was backed by home runs from Collin Fleischer and Matt Pita, helping the VMI Keydets defeat the Lafayette Leopards, 8-2, in NCAA baseball action Friday in Lexington, Va.
Lafayette (0-1) jumped ahead early, but the Keydets (3-3) took the lead for good with three runs in the home half of the first inning. Fleischer then hit a three-run shot to right-center in the second and Pita added a two-run homer in the eighth to account for the final margin.
The other story of the day was Eagle (2-0), who relieved Jared Silva in the second inning and pitched brilliantly. He scattered four hits over six frames, striking out seven and issuing no walks to earn his second victory in VMI’s first six games. Eagle has yet to allow an earned run in his first 11 innings, he has struck out 13 against only one walk and opponents are hitting a paltry .205 against the sophomore so far this season.
After Lafayette had struck for two runs in the first inning, the Keydets came right back in the bottom of the frame. A Tyler Tharp RBI single and a two-run single for Matt Dunlevy were the key blows as VMI took a 3-2 lead after one inning.
Eagle entered after a leadoff walk in the second and retired the side without further issue. The Keydets then added on, as Will Malbon led off with a bunt single and promptly stole second. One out later, Jacob Jaye walked and David Geary was retired on an infield out. Fleischer then launched a 1-0 pitch over the wall in right center for his second home run of the year, and a 6-2 VMI lead.
The Keydets added on in the eighth, when Peyton Maddox led off with a walk. One out later, Pita launched his first collegiate home run to account for the final margin, 8-2.
Silva did not figure in the decision for VMI, as he was pulled in the second inning after allowing two runs on three hits and two walks. David Bednar, the starting pitcher for Lafayette, was hit hard for six runs in five innings.
Fleischer delivered VMI’s top offensive effort of the day, as he went 1 for 2 with two walks, two runs scored and three RBI. AJ Kloehn and Dan Leckie had two hits apiece for Lafayette.
VMI baseball will return to action Saturday, as the series with Lafayette resumes at Gray-Minor Stadium. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.