Nathan Eaton and Collin Fleischer went deep and Taylor Edens tied the school record for career saves as the VMI Keydets defeated the Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks, 7-3, in NCAA baseball action Saturday in Lexington, Va.
Eaton’s third home run of the series gave VMI (9-7) the lead for good in the third inning, but the contest was very much in doubt until the seventh, when Fleischer’s two-run home run fueled a three-run uprising that made it 6-2. Both teams scored an additional run late to account for the final margin.
Brandon Barbery was the winning pitcher, as he allowed two runs on eight hits over six innings to move to 1-2. Edens allowed one run over the final three frames to pick up his first save of the year and 16th of his career, tying Kevin Crum for the most in school history.
Scott Bean (0-3) took the loss for the visitors (4-10), after giving three runs on four hits over five innings.
The Keydets struck first on the beautiful spring-like day, when Peyton Maddox walked to lead off the second inning. He moved up on an infield out and then stole third in front of a RBI single by Matt Pita, putting VMI up, 1-0. Matt Dunlevy then doubled home Pita for a 2-0 Keydet lead.
UMES tied the game in the third, but Eaton led off the bottom of the frame with his third home run of both the season and the series, making it a 3-2 game. It stayed that way until the seventh, when Eaton singled with one out. David Geary reached on an error and then, on a pickoff attempt, Eaton scored when reliever Chris Melrath threw wildly to first. Fleischer followed with a two-run shot, his fourth of the season, to make it a 6-2 game.
A sacrifice fly for Eaton in the eighth ended the VMI scoring, and Tom Summers homered in the ninth for UMES to account for the final margin, 7-3.
Offensively, Eaton, Pita and Dunlevy all had two hits apiece for the Keydets, while Mike Escanilla went 3 for 4 to lead the Hawks.
VMI baseball will return to action Sunday, when the Keydets and Maryland-Eastern Shore wrap up the series at 11 a.m. The game time was moved up due to the potential for weather in the area.