VMI drops middle game of weekend series to Furman

vmiCollin Fleischer hit two long home runs, but the Furman Paladins scored 11 consecutive runs following a 92 minute rain delay and went on to defeat the VMI Keydets, 15-4, in the middle game of a three-game SoCon series contested Saturday in Lexington, Va.

Furman (24-27, 11-9 SoCon) held an early 4-3 lead in the bottom of the fourth, despite the first of Fleischer’s two homers that had come the inning before. A 92-minute rain delay ended VMI (20-31, 3-17) starter Matthew Eagle’s day, and the Paladins would go on to score the game’s next 11 runs before Fleischer’s second long ball came in the ninth to account for the final margin.

The outburst made a winner of reliever Heath Hawkins (3-0), who pitched 4 2/3 scoreless, hitless innings of relief, allowing just four walks. Eagle (5-6) took the loss for VMI, as he gave up four runs on six hits in four innings before the rains came.

Furman took a 2-0 lead just three batters into the game, thanks to a two-run double by Jake Crawford. The Keydets got a run back in the second on Peyton Maddox’s 11th homer of the year, but the Paladins scored twice more in the third and were up, 4-1. Fleischer then launched a two-run shot with two outs in the third, pulling VMI back within a run with his 12th homer of the season.

Neither team scored in a fourth inning interrupted by rain, but Furman tallied two in the fifth off reliever Micah Gorman. A RBI single for Bret Huebner brought in one run, and the other scored on a grounder to short to make it a 6-3 contest.

A line drive home run by Sky Overton made it a 7-3 contest in the sixth, and things fell apart for the Keydets in the eighth. 10 Paladins hit and six of them scored off three Keydet pitchers, with one of the key blows being a two-run shot by Jabari Richards. When the dust settled, VMI trailed 13-4. Furman added on two additional runs in the ninth, and Fleischer’s second home run – a mammoth shot that hit off the top of the left field light standard – accounted for the final margin, 15-4.

At the plate, Maddox and Fleischer were the Keydets who had two hits apiece, while Richards and Overton drove were both 3 for 5 with a home run to lead the visitors.

VMI shortstop Jacob Jaye went hitless and saw his 15-game hitting streak snapped, but did draw a walk to reach base for the 23rd consecutive game.

The VMI senior class was recognized in an on-field ceremony prior to the game, and third baseman David Geary received the VMI Almond Award as well.

VMI baseball wraps up both its home schedule and its series with Furman Sunday at 11 a.m.

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