ASHEVILLE, N.C. - VMI scored two runs in the top of the ninth inning to edge UNC Asheville 2-1 in the second game of a Big South Conference double-header at McCormick Field Saturday afternoon. The Keydets won the first game, 7-2 as the visitors completed the sweep.
VMI, ranked #29 in the nation, earned its first ever three-game sweep of the Bulldogs (8-17, 2-7 BSC). The Keydets improved to 23-5 overall and 7-2 in the league.
Asheville's Justin Schumer almost single-handily got Asheville a victory in the second game. His first-inning RBI-double put the Bulldogs in front 1-0. He had another double in the fourth inning that just missed going out of the park. Schumer (0-3) was a hard-luck loser in the game as he allowed eight hits, struck out six and walked one.
VMI trailed 1-0 in the top of the ninth when Cory Spangenberg doubled to left field to open the inning. One out later, Graham Sullivan singled to short right field to knot the game at 1-1. Tanner Biagini doubled to center field, just passed the glove of center-fielder Danny Baatz, to give the Keydets the lead for good.
VMI reliever John Garrett (2-0) earned his second win in relief in as many days with 1.2 innings of hitless relief.
Graham Sullivan had two hits and three RBI, while VMI pitcher Sam Roberts earned the win and contributed three hits as the Keydets downed UNC Asheville 7-2 in the first game.
Asheville was led at the plate by Derrick Hopkins. He went 3-for-4 with a double. Ryan Dull (3-1) was the tough-luck loser for the Bulldogs. He pitched eight innings and struck out a career-high nine hitters.
The Bulldogs scored all of their runs in the first game in the first inning. Baatz walked with one out. Schumer doubled to center-field to score Baatz for a 1-0 Asheville lead. Ian Graham followed with a RBI-double to push the lead to 2-0.
The Keydets tied the game in the fourth when Sullivan hit a two-run homer to knot the game at 2-2.
Roberts gave VMI the lead when he scored from third when Spangenberg was caught stealing in the sixth for a 3-2 Keydet lead.
The visitors put the game away in the ninth inning with four insurance runs. The Keydets had five hits and took advantage of a Bulldog error to lead 7-2. Sullivan's RBI-double drove in first run of the inning. He scored on an error later in the inning for VMI's second run. Roberts added an RBI-single for the final run of the inning.
Asheville plays its annual exhibition game against the Class A Asheville Tourists on Tuesday night at McCormick Field starting at 7:05 p.m. Fans are asked to make a suggestion donation at the gate that will benefit the UNC Asheville program. Fans making donations will get a ticket to a future Asheville Tourists game.
The Bulldogs play next in Big South Conference play next weekend when they begin a three-game series at Presbyterian on Friday at 3 p.m.