VMI splits Friday doubleheader with Rider
Matthew Eagle pitched eight strong innings for his fifth win of the year and was backed by three home runs, helping the VMI Keydets defeat the Rider Broncs, 5-2, in the opener of a doubleheader contested Friday at Gray-Minor Stadium in Lexington, Va. Rider captured the seven-inning nightcap, 2-1, on a seventh-inning pinch-hit home run by Lee Lipinski.
With the score tied at 2 in the seventh of the opener, Matt Pita led off with a solo home run to give the Keydets (12-8) the lead for good. Nathan Eaton then added a two-run home run off reliever Mike Diorio later in the inning to account for the final margin.
Eagle (5-0) won his fourth straight start on the strength of eight, two-run innings of work. He walked two and struck out six. Taylor Edens picked up his third save, as he struck out two in the ninth.
Nick Margevicius (0-4) gave up three runs on five hits over six innings and took the loss for Rider (1-13).
VMI jumped ahead in the third, when Jacob Jaye led off the inning with a solo home run to right field. That lead lasted until the fifth, when Mike Volaski doubled home a run and Jake Bender followed with a RBI single to give the visitors a 2-1 lead.
The Keydets tied it in the sixth, when David Geary doubled with one out. One out later, Peyton Maddox followed with a RBI double to tie the game, 2-2. That set the stage for the game-turning seventh inning.
In game one, Tyler Kaiser of Rider was 2 for 4 to lead all players. Jaye went 1 for 2 with a walk and two runs scored to pace the Keydets.
Game two saw both teams threaten in the second inning. Kaiser led off the Rider second with a triple, but the next hitter grounded into a fielder’s choice at home and Volaski followed by bouncing into a 4-6-3 double play.
Maddox led off the VMI second with a walk and two outs later, Matt Dunlevy followed with a single to left. Maddox was thrown out at the plate, however, keeping the game scoreless.
Rider had runners in scoring position with two outs in the third and in the fourth, but could not score, and the Keydets wasted a runner on third, one out situation in the fourth.
Rider finally jumped ahead in the sixth. Bender led off with a single and one out later, Dalton Mayberry doubled him home to put the visitors up, 1-0.
The Keydets (12-9) tied it in the bottom half. Eaton led off the sixth inning with a single and moved to second on a passed ball. A sacrifice bunt moved him up a base, and one batter later, Eaton scored a wild pitch to tie the game. Lipinski, however, turned the game around with a two-out home run in the top of the seventh to give Rider (2-13) the eventual victory.
Jaye had two hits for VMI and Mayberry had a pair for Rider. Jack Gomersall took the loss (0-1) as he surrendered the Lipinski home run, while Vincenzo Aiello allowed just an unearned run in the complete game victory as he moved to 1-3 on the season.
VMI baseball will return to action Saturday, when the Keydets wrap up the series with Rider at 2 p.m.