Zak Kent whiffs 14 as VMI defeats Samford, 5-4

vmi baseballJunior right-hander Zak Kent recorded 14 strikeouts Sunday as the VMI baseball team defeated league-leading Samford University 5-4 in a Southern Conference game.

Kent was in control much of the afternoon, scattering eight hits and two walks over 8 2/3 innings. He allowed just one run entering the ninth frame and the Keydets led 5-1, but Samford’s Taylor Garris hit a three-run homer with two outs to make it a one-run game. Red-shirt junior Corey Johnston relieved Kent and needed just one pitch to earn his first save of the season.

Callen Nuccio led off the game with a single and later scored on a wild pitch to give the Keydets an early 1-0 advantage. VMI scored four in the third to take a 5-0 lead. Nuccio and Will Knight singled and with two outs, Cody Warner singled to bring home Nuccio. Josh Hollifield followed with a two-run double and VMI pushed across a fourth run on an error.

Jordan Fucci homered in the top of the sixth for Samford to cut the lead to 5-1.

Nuccio finished the day 3-3 with a walk, while Hollifield and Don Goodes each had two basehits. Kent nearly tied his own school record (in the aluminum bat era) of 15 strikeouts in a game, which he set on March 17 against Lehigh University. He now owns a 3-2 record with a 3.82 ERA and a league-leading 69 strikeouts.

Fucci, Anthony Mulrine and Garris each had two hits for Samford (19-8/5-1 SoCon).

VMI (6-22/2-4) hosts Virginia Tech Tuesday at 6 p.m. in a non-conference game.

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