Lafayette’s Kevin Casey was 3 for 4 with five RBI, including a grand slam, and the visiting Lafayette Leopards defeated the VMI Keydets, 12-5, in non-conference baseball action Saturday afternoon at Gray-Minor Stadium.
A day after being shut out, Lafayette (1-1) struck for two runs in the first and, after VMI (1-4) responded with a pair in the bottom half, the Leopards scored 10 unanswered runs, including a five-run eighth, highlighted by Casey’s grand slam. The Keydets then scored three times in the bottom half of that inning to account for the final margin.
Ethan Perro (1-0) picked up the victory for the visitors, going five innings and surrendering two runs. All told, Lafayette allowed nine walks in the contest. Campbell Henkel (0-1) suffered the loss for the Keydets, as he lasted three frames and allowed four runs on five hits, striking and walking one apiece. The game was also marred by six wild pitches, five of which came in the first inning alone.
Lafayette struck first on the 45-degree, blustery day, with winds gusting to 30 miles per hour. Andrew Santomauro tripled to deep center field, and one out later, scored on an infield hit by Casey. Two wild pitches moved him to third, and Bobby Fargnoli drove him home with a ground out, making it 2-0, LC.
The Keydets got those runs back quickly, as Jacob Morley had a one-out single in the first. He moved up on a wild pitch, and George Piccirilli followed with a single, advancing Morley to third. Cody Holder got the first run in with a ground out, and the next batter, Rob Dickinson, delivered a two-out single to tie the game, 2-2.
In the third, Lafayette took the lead for good. Santomauro and Casey reached, sandwiched around a strikeout, and Fargnoli unbroken the tie with a base hit, making it 3-2. Brad Hopek then got the second run home by grounding to second, and pushing the margin to 4-2, LC.
The Keydets had a runner in scoring position in the third, and put two on in the fourth, but could not break through with a clutch hit. Lafayette took advantage in the sixth. Andrew Ruck doubled home a run, and freshman Parker Hills drilled a two-run single down the left field line, making it a three-run outburst and a 7-2 Leopard advantage.
That cushion grew in the eighth. With one out, Ruck had a bunt single, and a walk and infield hit later, the bases were loaded. Brian Davill drove in the first run with a single to right, bringing up Casey, who on the seventh pitch of his at-bat, launched a grand slam to complete Lafayette’s scoring. The Keydets wrapped up the scoring in the eighth by seeing Thomas Stallings drive in a run with a bases-loaded walk, and Jordan Tarsovich post a two-run base hit as well.
In the loss, freshman shortstop Drew Bryan had his first career multi-hit game (2 for 4), while Santomauro and Ruck joined Casey as Lafayette players with three hits apiece. On the mound, junior Andrew Montague made his collegiate pitching debut, striking out one in 1 2/3 perfect frames.
VMI and Lafayette will conclude their series Sunday with a 2 p.m. game at Gray-Minor Stadium.