Winder’s gem propels VMI past Samford, 4-0

vmiJosh Winder threw a complete game three-hit shutout with 12 strikeouts, leading the VMI Keydets past the Samford Bulldogs, 4-0, in the opener of a three-game SoCon series Friday in Lexington, Va.

Winder was in control from the get-go, as he struck out two in the first inning en route to the second-most strikeouts of his career. He got all the run support he needed in the second, when Jake Huggins launched a two-run homer to give VMI (13-13, 2-2 SoCon) a lead it would not surrender. The Keydets would go on to add single runs in the fifth and seventh to account for the final margin.

Winder allowed just one runner to reach scoring position, a double by Anthony Mulrine in the fifth and recorded his third straight complete game.

After Huggins gave VMI the lead in the second, the Keydets stretched the margin to three in the fifth. Michael Diodato doubled with one out and one out later, Jacob Jaye singled to left center to make it 3-0, VMI.

Samford (16-10, 0-1 SoCon) managed just two baserunners over the final four innings against Winder, and the Keydets wrapped up the scoring in the seventh. Diodato walked with two outs and Matt Dunlevy followed with a hard liner to center field that appeared to fool T.J. Dixon. The ball eluded Dixon at the last moment and went all the way to the wall for a RBI triple, making it 4-0 VMI and accounting for the final margin.

Winder moved to 4-2 with the win, as he became only the third Keydet in the last 12 seasons to throw three complete games in the same year (Trey Barham, Reed Garrett) and the only one to do so in consecutive games. Mikhail Cazenave (2-3) took the loss despite striking out 10 in 6 2/3 innings. Cazenave gave up four runs on seven hits and walked two.

Offensively, Huggins had the lone two-hit game for VMI, but seven of VMI’s nine starters had at least one hit. Mulrine had two of Samford’s three hits.

VMI baseball will return to action Saturday, when the Keydets and Samford resume their series at 4 p.m.

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