St. Laurent’s walk-off hit lifts VMI over Longwood, 4-3

vmiA walk-off, two-run double by Garrett St. Laurent sent the VMI Keydets past the Longwood Lancers, 4-3, in non-conference baseball action Tuesday night at Gray-Minor Stadium. The win gave VMI a sweep of the season series between the clubs.

VMI (14-15) trailed 3-2 headed to the bottom of the ninth and Collin Fleischer started the inning with a slow grounder to third. Longwood (10-17) third baseman Alex Lewis, however, pulled his first baseman off the bag with his throw, allowing Fleischer to reach. Jake Huggins followed with a walk and Matt Dunlevy was hit by a pitch. St. Laurent then pinch hit and drove a two-run double the opposite way for his first career walk-off hit, and VMI’s first such hit since March 6 of last season.

The dramatic conclusion made a winner out of Ryan Bennett (3-0), who pitched 2 2/3 innings of one-hit relief. Bennett threw just 30 pitches in lowering his season ERA to 0.50. Tyler Wirsu (0-3) allowed the game-winning rally and took the loss.

Keydet starter Zak Kent retired the first seven batters he faced and the game was scoreless into the fourth, when Longwood managed to scratch across a run on a single by Lewis. The Lancers added another in the fifth, but VMI tied it in the bottom of that frame.

Ryan Hatten singled with one out and Michael Diodato followed with a RBI triple. Jacob Jaye then grounded out to score Diodato, knotting the game at 2.

The Lancers took the lead in the seventh, when Ryan Shull hit a groundball double down the left field line to start the inning against Derek Tremblay. After a sacrifice bunt moved the runner to third, Bennett relieved but Brandon Harvell plated the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly to make it 3-2, Longwood.

Bennett stranded a potential insurance run in the ninth, when he retired two batters after a one-out single and wild pitch had put a runner in scoring position. That set the stage for VMI’s dramatic victory.

Offensively, Harvell and Nate Blakeney had two hits apiece to lead Longwood, while Ryan Hatten had his first career multi-hit game to lead the Keydets.

Both teams wore gold shoelaces during Tuesday’s contest to promote pediatric cancer research.

VMI baseball will return to action Wednesday, when the Keydets play host to the Old Dominion Monarchs at 3 p.m. That game time has been moved up one hour from the originally scheduled 4 p.m. first pitch.


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