Bulldogs Routed By VMI, 15-1
Alex Haitsuka and Jacob Morley combined for the nine RBI, VMI sent 12 men to the plate in the decisive fourth inning and the Keydets matched their season-high for runs in the game.
With VMI (24-22-1, 11-12 Big South) leading 4-1, Chase Worthington led off the fourth with a home run off the left field scoreboard. That started a string of six consecutive hitters reaching base. Graham Sullivan had the next run-scoring hit, a double to right, and one batter later, Haitsuka drilled his third double in four innings, plating two and making it 8-1, VMI.
After a pop out, Justin Topping and Rob Dickinson had back to back RBI singles, and Justin Hess capped the scoring with one of his own. When the inning was over, VMI had seven runs on seven hits, and had staked Jeremy Brown to an 11-1 lead. The Keydet starter (4-3) went six innings of one-run baseball to earn the win, allowing just four hits and striking out seven. Dillon Tabar took the loss for Asheville (15-32, 7-16 Big South), as he fell to 3-4.
Offensively, Haitsuka's five RBI fell just one short of his career high, as he went 4 for 5 with three doubles and three runs scored. Morley drove in four runs, including three on a seventh-inning home run, and Sullivan was 2 for 4 with three runs scored.
The Keydets got on the board quickly in the first. Sullivan doubled with one out, and one out later, Haitsuka doubled to right field to score the first run of the game. Up 1-0, VMI added three runs in the third on a two-run double by Haitsuka and a sacrifice fly by Morley, giving them a 4-0 lead after three frames.
The Bulldogs got on the board against Brown in the fourth, as designated hitter Mike Vaughn homered to left field on a 1-0 offering, cutting the margin to 4-1. It was Vaughn's sixth hit of the series, but he would be retired the remainder of Saturday night's game.
After the Keydets struck for the seven-spot in the fourth, Brown got into a groove on the hill. He would retire the final nine hitters he faced, and left the ball game still up 11-1. VMI added to its lead in the seventh, helped by three Asheville errors and a passed ball. Sam Roberts reached on an error to start the inning, and went to second on the passed ball.
After a walk to Sullivan, George Piccirilli struck out for the first out of the inning. Haitsuka then grounded a ball to short that got through the Bulldog shortstop for an error, and trickled into left field. Roberts scored on that error, and the left fielder uncorked a wild throw to home, allowing both Sullivan and Haitsuka to take an additional base. Morley then homered to left center on a 3-2 pitch, his second home run of the year. It was the only hit of the inning that saw VMI take a 15-1 lead, which would be the final margin.
Finally, VMI matched its season-high output for runs, scoring 15 for the second time this season after also doing so April 16 at Charleston Southern.
The two teams will return to action Sunday in the finale of the three-game series. Due to possible inclement weather, game time has been moved to 4 p.m.