VMI rally falls short in 11-9 loss to Longwood
A grand slam by Sammy Miller broke open the game in the middle innings, and the Longwood Lancers survived a VMI rally that included one of baseball’s most exciting plays, to post an 11-9 win over the Keydets in non-conference baseball action Tuesday night in Lexington, Va.
Miller blasted his second homer of the year, the grand slam, off Seth Nichols in the fifth to give Longwood (10-21) a 10-3 lead. The Keydets (14-17) rallied from there, however, scoring five of the game’s next six runs to close to within 11-8 in the sixth. Jon Peterson, however, entered for the Lancers and got Jake Huggins to fly out with the bases loaded to preserve the lead, and VMI scored only once the rest of the way as Longwood held on.
Zach Potojecki (1-1) got the win for Longwood on a staff day, as he went 4 2/3 innings and allowed five runs – four earned – while walking four and striking out four. Peterson allowed one run in 3 1/3 frames for his first save, while Sam Ewald (0-1) suffered the loss on a VMI staff day, as he gave up three runs in 2 1/3 innings.
Longwood jumped out to an early 5-0 lead, but the Keydets rallied with a three-run fourth that included a two-run homer by Collin Fleischer, his second of the year. The homer moved Fleischer into sole possession of second place on VMI’s all-time home run list, three behind Jordan Ballard.
The visitors responded with a five-run fifth, including Miller’s slam, to take the 10-3 lead to the bottom of the inning. The Keydets scored twice there and answered a single sixth-inning Lancer run with three of their own in the sixth, including one on Nathan Eaton’s straight steal of home against Maceo Campbell of Longwood.
After the thrilling steal of home, Peyton Maddox and Matt Dunlevy drew back to back walks, but Peterson then entered and got Huggins – who was representing the go-ahead run – to fly out to end the inning. Matt Pita homered in the eighth to pull the Keydets within two, but VMI got no closer the rest of the way.
Offensively, Miller paced three Lancers with two-hit games, while Pita (2 for 4, three RBI) and Fleischer (2 for 3, 3 RBI, 2 BB) led the VMI attack.
VMI baseball will return to action Wednesday, when the Keydets take on VCU at The Diamond in Richmond. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.