Western Carolina sweeps Sunday doubleheader at VMI

vmiOn a cool, clear day in Lexington, the Western Carolina Catamounts scored a combined 35 runs and swept a doubleheader from the VMI Keydets, 21-7 and 14-11, in SoCon baseball action Sunday afternoon. With the wins, WCU (17-13, 8-1) completed a three-game sweep of VMI (16-20, 1-8).


Game 1: Western Carolina 21, VMI 7

VMI jumped ahead early in game one, but Western Carolina scored 15 unanswered runs en route to an eventual 21-7 win in the doubleheader opener Sunday.

With the Keydets up 1-0, every WCU hitter came to the plate in the fourth as the Catamounts scored five times. Two home runs, a two-run shot for Caleb Robinson and a solo for Danny Bermudez, made it 8-1, and WCU blew the game open with seven runs in the sixth inning against the Keydet bullpen.

Starter Bryan Sammons moved to 5-1 on the year, as he limited the Keydets to three runs, two earned, over six innings despite issuing six walks. Brandon Barbery (3-4) took the loss after giving up eight runs in five innings.

VMI led 1-0 going to the fourth, but a two-run double for Pierce Suttles was the key blow in a five-run WCU uprising. Three more runs followed on the home runs in the fifth, and a hit by pitch, three walks and an error helped key the seven-run WCU sixth that made it 15-1.

Matt Pita hit his eighth homer of the year in the sixth, a two-run shot, but WCU tacked on six more runs in the seventh for a 21-3 lead. The Keydets scored four times in the bottom of the frame to account for the final margin, 21-7.

Offensively, the Keydets were led by Geary and Eaton, who combined for five hits and four RBI, including Geary’s home run. Leadoff hitter Garrett Brown had four hits and three RBI for the visitors, while four different players went deep for the Catamounts.


Game 2: Western Carolina 14, VMI 11

Game 2 of Sunday’s doubleheader was a back and forth affair, but WCU scored four of the game’s last five runs to pull out a 14-11 triumph.

The Keydets tied the game, 10-10, in the sixth, completing a six-run rally, but Matt Smith led off the WCU seventh with a solo home run off Blaine Lafin to give Western a lead it would not surrender. The Catamounts added a single run later in the inning, and single runs in the eighth and ninth were too much for the Keydets to overcome.

Lafin (1-2) took the loss, as he was charged with two runs in an inning-plus of relief. Colton Davis (5-1) struck out six in 3 1/3 innings of relief, and B.J. Nobles pitched the final three innings for his third save.

Despite a three-run first inning home run by Collin Fleischer, Western scored nine of the game’s first 12 runs and led 9-3 after two innings. The Keydets scored three in the third, however, including a David Geary solo home run, and Fleischer’s second home run of the game pulled them to within 10-7 in the fourth.

The Keydets then tied the game in the sixth, helped by a two-base throwing error on a Geary bunt that allowed two runs to score. Geary then scored on a wild pitch to tie the game, 10-10.

Smith, however, led off the seventh with a home run off Lafin to give Western the lead for good. One additional run in the seventh, a run in the eighth and one in the ninth was too much for VMI to overcome, as the Keydets dropped game two, 14-11.

Offensively, the Keydets were led by Fleischer and his first career multi-homer game, while Smith went deep twice to lead the visitors.

VMI baseball will return to action Tuesday, when the Keydets travel to Harrisonburg to face James Madison. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.


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