strong effort barbery lifts vmi baseball series win 2 1
Sports

Strong effort by Barbery lifts VMI baseball to series win, 2-1

vmi_logo2Freshman Brandon Barbery shut out the North Florida Ospreys over six innings in his collegiate debut, and Ray Lopez continued his sizzling opening weekend by driving in the eventual winning run as the VMI Keydets defeated UNF, 2-1, in the finale of the three-game, season-opening series Sunday in Jacksonville, Fla.

With VMI (2-1) already leading 1-0, the Keydets put together a two-out rally in the fourth. Thomas Stallings doubled, and Lopez followed with a single up the middle on the first pitch he saw, plating Stallings and giving the Keydets a 2-0 lead.

That was all Barbery (1-0) needed, as the freshman allowed just two runners to reach third base in winning his first collegiate game. He scattered five hits and a walk over his six frames, striking out two. No Keydet freshman starting pitcher had earned a victory on opening weekend since at least the 2000 season.

Evan Incinelli (0-1) was the hard-luck loser for UNF (1-2), as he allowed just two runs on six hits over five innings. He struck out seven.

With the victory, VMI won its season-opening series for the first time since 2010.

The Keydets jumped ahead in the first inning, when Jordan Tarsovich singled with one out. He then stole second and, after a walk to Brandon Angus, scored on a RBI single by Matt Winn to put VMI up, 1-0.

The home team threatened in the third, after a single, walk and wild pitch put runners at second and third. Barbery retired Donnie Dewees on a groundout, however, to end the threat, and the Keydets added on in the fourth.

After Lopez had doubled VMI’s edge to 2-0, Ryan Roberson led off the bottom of the fourth with an infield hit, but Barbery promptly threw a 6-4-3 double play to help erase any hope of a rally. The Keydets could not get Tarsovich home after a one-out triple in the fifth, and again, UNF threatened in the bottom half.

Alex Merritt reached on a Barbery error with one out, and Garrick Ferguson singled. An infield out moved the runners up, but again, Barbery retired Dewees with the tying run in scoring position and it stayed 2-0, Keydets.

The Keydets nearly tacked on an insurance run in the ninth, but pinch-runner Drew Bryan was thrown out at home trying to score on a ground ball. That sent the game to the bottom of the ninth still at 2-0, VMI, and Trent Higginbothem led off with a home run off Micah Gorman to cut that lead in half. Gorman, however, set down the next three hitters in order to earn his first career save and preserve VMI’s victory.

Offensively, Higginbothem had the day’s lone three-hit game for UNF, less than 24 hours after a game that saw it collect 21 hits. Tarsovich and Winn had two hits apiece to lead VMI, while Lopez went 1 for 2 and is 6 for 10 so far this season.

VMI baseball is scheduled to return to action Tuesday, as the Keydets travel to Williamsburg, Va. to face the Tribe of William & Mary. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m.

News Desk

Have a story idea or a news tip? Email editor Chris Graham at [email protected] Subscribe to AFP podcasts on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPandora and YouTube.