VMI Keydets drop series finale to Mercer, 17-5

vmi baseballThe Mercer Bears used a 21-hit attack to defeat the VMI Keydets, 17-5, in the finale of a three-game SoCon series contested Saturday in Lexington, Va. The game lasted just eight innings due to the SoCon’s 10-run rule, as Mercer (32-6, 11-1) won its 11th straight game overall and completed a series sweep.

The Keydets (17-19, 4-8) led the game briefly at 4-2 headed to the third, but Mercer scored seven runs in that frame to take the lead for good. Home runs by JT Thomas and Hunter Bening fueled the big inning that started a run of six straight innings in which the visitors scored runs.

Offensively, Thomas led the way for the visitors with a 4 for 6, six-RBI game while Ryan Hagan also had four hits and scored four runs. Collin Fleischer and Matt Dunlevy had two hits apiece for VMI.

After taking a 9-4 advantage in the third, the Bears scored single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth and led 12-4. The Keydets scored on a wild pitch in the sixth to cut it to 12-5, but Mercer put the game away with five runs in the final two innings to account for the final margin.

On the mound, the starters got the decisions. Kevin Coulter moved to 4-2 with the win, as he allowed five runs in 5 2/3 innings, but only two of those were earned. Brandon Barbery (0-6) was knocked out in the third inning and took the loss.

VMI’s Jake Huggins saw his streak of 18 straight games reaching base via a hit or walk – the longest such streak by a Keydet this year – come to an end.

VMI baseball will return to action Tuesday, when the Keydets take on VCU at The Diamond in Richmond. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.