Winder, offensive explosion carry VMI Keydets to rout of Furman, 12-1
For the second straight game, the VMI Keydets put up a nine-run inning to blow open the game, this time doing so to rout the Furman Paladins, 12-1, in the opener of a SoCon series contested Friday night at Gray-Minor Stadium in Lexington. It was VMI’s sixth straight victory overall.
The Keydets (20-17, 8-5 SoCon) scored twice in the fourth, but had to nurse that lead into the sixth behind a strong effort from Josh Winder. In that sixth inning, however, VMI exploded for nine runs. Peyton Maddox had the lone home run of the inning, a two-run shot, and six different players drove in at least one run as the Keydets blew the game open.
One of those six players with a RBI, Callen Nuccio, had two singles in the frame to become the first VMI player since May 21, 2011 (George Piccirilli and Graham Sullivan) to record two hits in the same inning.
From that point forward, only two more runs were put on the board, one by each team. Will Malbon scored on a wild pitch in the seventh to cap the VMI scoring, while Furman (18-20, 3-7) mustered a single run in the ninth to avert the shutout.
Until the nine-run frame put the offense on display, the story of the game was Winder’s dominance. The junior did not allow a hit until Landon Kay doubled with one out in the fifth, and finished 7 1/3 innings allowing just two hits. He struck out six and walked three to move to 3-4. Nik Verbeke (4-3) was charged with the loss after giving up four runs in five-plus innings.
Offensively, Nuccio had the lone three-hit game of the night, but four other Keydets chipped in two-hit performances.
The game was played in front of 1,077 fans, the largest attendance at Gray-Minor Stadium since 2010, and marked the largest margin of victory for VMI over Furman in the 90 games that have been played between the programs all-time.
VMI baseball will return to action Saturday, when the Keydets and Furman resume their series at 2 p.m.