At their long-awaited home opener Sunday, the VMI Keydets split a doubleheader with the Binghamton Bearcats in non-conference baseball action at Lexington, Va.’s Gray-Minor Stadium. The Keydets pounded out 17 hits and took advantage of four Binghamton (2-6) errors to win the opener 15-4, but 10 walks cost VMI in the nightcap as BU rallied to win that game, a seven-inning affair, 7-3.
David Geary led the way for the Keydet (3-2) offense in the doubleheader, going 4 for 7 with two runs scored and three runs driven in. Tyler Tharp, Jordan Tarsovich, Matt Winn and Reid Bryant all had two-hit games in the opener, as did Will Connerley, who hit the day’s lone long ball for the Keydet offense. Tharp added a two-hit game in the finale as well, making it a four-hit day for the sophomore.
On the mound, Andrew Woods (2-0) picked up the victory with six solid innings in game one and Austin Heenan got a three-inning save, his first, but Blaine Lafin (0-1) was knocked out in the first inning of game two and took the loss.
Binghamton (1-6) jumped ahead in game one with three runs in the second inning, but VMI (3-1) rallied in the next half inning. Ray Lopez walked and stole second, and one out later, Reid Bryant reached on an error. Geary then followed with a two-run double and after Jacob Jaye was retired, Will Malbon doubled home Geary and Tarsovich singled home Malbon, putting VMI up, 4-3.
Connerley went deep in the third, a high, arching three-run drive, to bump the margin to 7-3, and the Keydet added three more runs in the fourth, an inning fueled by a Bryant two-run single.
The Bearcats got a run back in the fifth, but VMI tacked on three more in the sixth. Geary singled home a run and Jaye followed with a RBI double for his first career hit. Malbon then bunted down the first base line and was retired on a close play, but Jaye, running all the way, scored with a headfirst dive to make it 13-4.
The Keydet scored twice more in the seventh to account for the final margin. On the mound, Woods got the win by going six innings and allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits. He did not walk a batter and fanned three.
In game two, Lafin was knocked out in the first inning after walking four hitters. He was charged with two runs on one hit. Ryan Bennett relieved and kept the game close, but Binghamton scored once in the second, twice in the fourth and once in the sixth to take a 6-1 advantage.
VMI rallied in the bottom of the sixth against BU starter Rob Hardy. Tharp had an infield hit and Ray Lopez single. Vincent Caputo relieved and struck out Connerley, but Geary singled to load the bases. Colin Fleischer then worked a nine-pitch walk to score a run, making it 6-2 and bringing Jaye to the plate as the tying run. The freshman struck out on the eighth pitch of his at-bat to end the threat.
Each team scored once in the seventh to account for the final margin. Lafin took the loss and Hardy (1-1) earned the victory, as the BU starter went 5 1/3 innings and allowed two runs on six hits.
VMI baseball will return to action Monday, as the Keydets wrap up their series with Binghamton at Gray-Minor Stadium. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.