VMI drops twinbill
The Winthrop Eagles scored three times in the seventh inning, highlighted by a two-run home run from TJ Olesczuk, and went on to defeat the VMI Keydets 7-4 in the second game of a Big South doubleheader Saturday at Gray-Minor Stadium. With the win, Winthrop (11-22, 4-5 Big South) completes the doubleheader sweep of VMI (11-20, 4-8).
Jason Driver led off the decisive seventh with a double off VMI reliever Michael Devine, who was entering his second full inning of work. A sacrifice bunt moved him to third, and Patrick Gamblin was hit by a pitch. Matt Lobacz then plated Driver with a sacrifice fly, and Olesczuk victimized Devine on a 3-2 pitch, homering to straightaway left field to make it a 7-3 game. The Keydets scored once in the ninth to account for the final margin.
Tyler Klitsch (2-2) was the winner for Winthrop, pitching eight full innings and surrendering three runs. Klitsch did not walk a batter, giving Eagle starting pitchers a 16-inning run Saturday that did not include a single base-on-balls. Meanwhile, Jeremy Brown (0-4) took the loss. Brown went 4 1/3 frames, allowing four runs on seven hits.
Offensively, Rob Dickinson led the way for VMI yet again, as he went 4 for 5 at the plate, including two RBI. That gave the junior outfielder a 7 for 9 (.778) day offensively, as well as a home run and five RBI. Driver was 3 for 4 for the visitors.
Winthrop jumped ahead in the first, as Oleschuk had a two-out, two-run single to give the Eagles a 2-0 edge. VMI got one run back in the second, when Jacob Morley hammered a solo home run to right center field, cutting the WU lead to 2-1.
That margin, however, grew once again in the fifth. With one out, Driver hit a long home run to right field, and Chas Crane and Gamblin had back to back doubles to score another run. Devine came on in relief and retired the side without further damage, and the Keydets chopped their deficit back to one in their half.
With one out, Drew Bryan reached on a throwing error, and moved to third after an Andrew Montague single. Dickinson then followed with a RBI single, and George Piccirilli had one of his own, making it a 4-3 contest. The Keydets then mounted a rally in the sixth, as with two out, Cameron Walter and Bryan had back to back singles. Montague grounded out to end the inning, however, setting the stage for Winthrop’s seventh-inning successes.
VMI then staged a rally in the ninth. Montague led off with a walk against reliever Austin Stuart, and pinch runner Brandon Angus stole second. Dickinson then singled him home, making it 7-4, and one out later, pinch hitter Eric Mayers roped a double to right center. That brought the tying run to the plate in the person of Morley, who had homered earlier in the game, but the senior struck out looking for the second out. Nick Dwyer then grounded out to end the contest.
VMI baseball will return to action Tuesday, taking on VCU at the Diamond in Richmond. Game time is set for 6 p.m.