VMI splits with ETSU, wins SoCon series
Redshirt senior Jacob Menders finished what he started in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday as the VMI baseball team split a Southern Conference doubleheader against ETSU, winning the first game 3-1 and dropping the second 9-6. The Keydets won the opening game of the series Friday 6-5 to take the series two games to one.
VMI’s nine seniors, including Menders, were recognized in a ceremony between the two games on Senior Day.
Game 1: VMI 3, ETSU 1
Menders was in control on the mound, throwing his second complete game of the season. In nine innings, he allowed just five hits and two walks while striking out four to up his record to 5-3.
The Bucs started the scoring with a single run in the fifth on a double from Jackson Green. VMI redshirt freshman centerfielder Trey Morgan erased a threat in the sixth, making a running catch at the fence with one out and doubling the runner off first to end the inning.
Morgan led off the seventh with a single and scored on a Zac Morris triple to tie the score. Morgan came up big again in the eighth, ripping a two-run, two-out double to the centerfield fence to plate Justin Starke and Will Knight. Menders finished the game with a 1-2-3 ninth inning, tossing 120 pitches on the day.
Morgan ended the opener going 3-for-4 with a stolen base and Morris had two hits and a stolen base.
Game 2: ETSU 9, VMI 6
VMI’s Tyler Bradt and ETSU’s Nathanial Tate started the nightcap in a pitchers’ duel. Neither allowed a hit through three innings and the contest was scoreless until the sixth. ETSU broke out for six runs in the sixth and added three in the eighth.
Cody Warner and Ty Swaim scored on a Morgan single in the sixth and Knight had a two-run single as part of a three-run eighth to cut the lead to 9-6. Tate picked up the win by allowing just six hits, no walks and two earned runs with seven strikeouts in seven innings. Matthew Bollenbacher closed out the final 1 1/3 to earn his sixth save of the year.
Starke went 3-5, while Warner, Morgan and Swaim each had two hits. Morgan also threw a scoreless ninth innings.
Bryce Hodge was 3-for-5 for ETSU (22-24/11-15 SoCon).
VMI (16-28/11-16) travels to UNCG next weekend for the final SoCon series of the 2021 season.