ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Ian Graham drove in three runs on three hits as UNC Asheville completed a three-game Big South Conference sweep of VMI on Sunday with a 9-5 victory over the Keydets at Greenwood Field.
The Bulldogs (11-9, 3-0 BSC) broke the game open with two runs in the fifth inning and three in the sixth to grab a 7-2 lead.
Asheville starter Dean Roland (4-2) pitched well for the Bulldogs on Sunday. He went eight innings, allowing six hits, three runs with just one being earned. Roland struck out a season-high seven with no walks.
VMI (6-13, 0-3 BSC) was led at the plate by right-fielder Jacob Morley. He went 3-for-5 with three doubles and two runs scored. Cameron Walter had two hits on the day, including an RBI-single in the ninth inning as the Keydets brought the tying run to plate before Asheville escaped.
Graham drove in his first run in the first inning with a run-scoring single down the left-field line as Eli Miller scored on the play. Another run scored when left-fielder Gary LeClair booted the ball for an error and Asheville led 2-0.
Morley hit his first double in the second and scored on Chase Worthington's fielders' choice to cut the lead to 2-1. In the fourth, Morley led off with another double and scored later in the inning on an error to knot the game at 2-2.
Graham gave the Bulldogs the lead for good in the fifth with a run-scoring double that plated Billy Creighton for a 3-2 lead. Graham scored on a VMI throwing error for a 4-2 Bulldog margin.
Asheville tallied three times in the sixth. Thomas Bess drove in one run a RBI-single. Todd Joyner completed the uprising with a two-run double to left-center giving the Bulldogs a 7-2 lead.
The teams' matched runs in the seventh as VMI scored on an error to make it 7-3. Cody Buch got the run back with a home run over the left-field wall for an 8-3 lead. Graham drove in his final run in the eighth to pad the margin to 9-3.
VMI rallied in the ninth to make things interesting off two Asheville relievers. RBI-singles from Rob Dickinson and Walter cut the lead to 9-5 with one out. With the bases loaded, Bulldog reliever Ethan Steible had to face Morley. But Steible got Morley to pop out to second and then struck out Thomas Stallings to end the game
UNC Asheville plays at ETSU Tuesday night at 7 p.m. and then plays its first game at McCormick Field this season Wednesday night when the Bulldogs host mountain rival Western Carolina starting at 6 p.m.
The sweep was Asheville's first in Big South Conference play since the 2010 season when the Bulldogs knocked off Charleston Southern. Asheville won a series vs. the Keydets for the first time since the 2006 campaign.