Unearned runs the difference as VMI falls, 4-2

vmiThree unearned runs were the difference in the game as The Citadel Bulldogs edged the VMI Keydets, 4-2, in SoCon baseball actionSunday afternoon in Charleston, S.C. With the win, the Bulldogs took the series two games to one.

The Citadel (9-15, 2-1 SoCon) led from the first inning on, as Ben Peden had a sacrifice fly to score Clay Martin with an unearned run. The home team’s only earned run of the game came on a Clay Buffington RBI double in the second.

The Keydets (10-13, 1-2) scored single runs in the third and fourth, but VMI could not overcome two more Bulldog runs – both unearned – in the fourth that accounted for the final margin.

Brandon Barbery was the hard-luck loser (0-4), as he went 7 1/3 innings and gave up just one earned run. Barbery surrendered nine hits and a walk while striking out four. Will Pillsbury (1-4) went a career-long 5 1/3 innings and allowed two runs, while Aaron Lesiak picked up his first save with 2 1/3 hitless innings of relief.

After The Citadel took the early 2-0 lead, the Keydets came back with a run in the third. Jordan Ebersole broke a career-starting 0 for 23 skid with a double to left and three batters later, Peyton Maddox singled up the middle to cut the Keydet deficit to 2-1.

The Bulldogs notched two runs in the bottom half, however, when William Kinney reached on an error to open the inning. Jonathan Sabo singled and Peden had a bunt single to load the bases. Barbery then induced a double play grounder, but a run scored to make it 3-1 and Barrett Charpia added a RBI single to make it a three-run lead, 4-1.

The Keydets cut the margin to two in the fourth, when Ebersole singled home Smoot, but VMI got no closer. VMI threatened in the seventh, but left the bases loaded when Lesiak struck out Maddox to end the inning.

Offensively, Ebersole delivered VMI’s lone two-hit game while Jonathan Sabo and Peden had two hits apiece for the home team.

VMI baseball will return to action Tuesday, when the Keydets take on JMU in Harrisonburg. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.