Winder’s gem sends VMI Keydets past Mercer, 4-1
Winder retired the first 10 Mercer (29-15, 8-8 SoCon) hitters and the Keydets broke through in the fourth. A two-run double by Jake Huggins gave Winder the lead for good, and the Keydets tacked on single runs in the fifth and sixth to give him breathing room.
Winder allowed just two hits until the eighth, when Le Bassett led off with a solo homer to cut the margin to 4-1 and end Winder’s scoreless inning streak at 20 1/3 frames.
Mercer brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth on two occasions, but Jackson Ware hit into a force play and Winder induced Preseason All-American JT Thomas to fly out to end the game.
Winder (4-4) moved to 4-4 with VMI’s first complete game since March 31 of last season, when he accomplished the feat against Samford. He struck out 10 – his 10th career double digit strikeout game – and walked none. Austin Cox (6-3) allowed four runs in seven innings and took the loss.
Offensively, all nine of VMI’s offensive starters reached base and six of the nine had at least one hit. No Mercer player had more than one hit.
By winning their 10th conference game of the year, the Keydets need only finish 3-5 to conclude the season over .500 in conference play for the first time since 2011. Five victories in the final eight SoCon games would give VMI 15 SoCon wins – its second-most conference wins in the modern era of Keydet baseball, trailing only the 16 wins accomplished in 2003.
The Keydets and Bears will resume their series Saturday at 2 p.m.