Solid pitching, big bats lift VMI to series win over The Citadel
The VMI Keydets pounded out four more homers, bumping their total to 10 over the past two games, on the way to a 12-4 rout of The Citadel in the finale of a three-game SoCon series contested Sunday in Lexington, Va. VMI won the series two games to one.
Kyle Staats blanked The Citadel (12-14, 3-3 SoCon) through five and VMI had a 4-0 lead, but the Bulldogs got to Staats for a run in the sixth, knocking him out after Jonathan Sabo walked to bring the tying run to the plate. Matt Eagle entered, and a RBI single and wild pitch cut the VMI (12-13, 3-3 SoCon) lead to 4-3, but Eagle got Ben Peden to ground out to end the inning with the tying run at second, and the Keydets blew it open from there.
Two runs in the sixth, including a long Will Malbon homer, and six more in the seventh that included long balls by Jake Huggins, Peyton Maddox and Collin Fleischer, put the game out of reach. The Bulldogs scratched across a run in the eighth to account for the final margin.
VMI’s 13-hit attack was paced by three-hit games from Matt Pita, Nathan Eaton and Fleischer, whose homer tied him with Greg Weddle for second in school history (37). Malbon reached base four times as well.
The Citadel did not have a player with a multi-hit game.
The Keydets struck in the first inning for the second straight day, as a Jacob Jaye double sparked a three-run frame. VMI added on a run in the second, as Pita doubled home Eaton, and no one scored again until The Citadel’s sixth-inning rally.
The Keydets then blew the game open by scoring eight of the final nine runs, led by Fleischer’s two hits in VMI’s last three at-bats.
Staats (3-1) was the beneficiary of the offensive attack, as he picked up the win after giving up three runs in 5 1/3 innings. He walked three and struck out three. Eagle finished the game by allowing one run in 3 2/3 frames. Jordan Merritt (2-3) was knocked out in the second inning and took the loss.
VMI baseball will return to action Tuesday, when the Keydets open a five-game road trip by facing Longwood in Farmville. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.