VMI Baseball: Keydets outlast UNCG, 6-5, in series opener

vmi baseballThe VMI baseball team held off two late rallies from UNCG Friday night to hang on for a 6-5 Southern Conference victory.

The Keydets led 6-4 in the eighth with two outs. The Spartans singled and one runner scored, but the potential tying runner was thrown out at home to end the inning. UNCG loaded the bases with two down in the ninth, but VMI freshman lefty Will Lopez induced a short fly out to seal the victory and record his first collegiate save.

Jake Huggins gave VMI a 1-0 lead in the first with a home run to right center. UNCG’s Jacquez Koonce hit a two-run homer in the second to give the Spartans a 2-1 lead. Keydet junior Jordan Ebersole countered with a two-run long ball of his own in the third.

After a single run for UNCG in the fourth, the Keydets plated three in the fifth to take a 6-3 lead, two off a double from Josh Hollifield.

Junior right-hander Jacob Menders worked around trouble all night to give VMI 6 2/3 solid innings of work. He scattered 14 hits, but allowed no walks to even his record at 4-4 on the year. Derek Tremblay tossed 1 2/3 innings of relief and also worked out of another jam in the seventh inning.

Huggins finished 2-4 with two runs scored and a stolen base, and Callen Nuccio also had two hits. Ryan Smoot reached base three times with a hit and two walks and scored twice. The senior backstop threw out a Spartan attempting to steal in the fourth. Jon Clines had a hit and a walk, and Ebersole also walked and a stole a base.

Josh Madole had four hits for UNCG (29-16/11-8 SoCon). Austin Embler delivered three base hits and four other Spartans had two as the visitors combined for 17 hits on the evening. VMI improves to 15-35 and 9-13 in conference play.

The same two teams are scheduled to meet Saturday at 4 p.m.

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