VMI 7, No. 9 Virginia 6
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Will Malbon singled home the tying and go-ahead runs in the top of the seventh inning, had a crucial outfield assist in the bottom half and the VMI Keydets held on to defeat the No. 9 Virginia Cavaliers, 7-6, in nonconference baseball action Wednesday. The win marked the first time VMI had beaten UVa in back to back games since the Keydets downed the Cavaliers in both 1958 and 1960.
With the Keydets (7-15) down 6-5 entering the seventh, Will Connerley was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Jacob Jaye followed with a single, and a sacrifice bunt moved up both runners. Malbon, who entered the contest just 3 for his last 23, singled to center to score both runners and give VMI the lead for good.
The drama was not complete, however, as Virginia (19-9) threatened in the bottom half of the inning. Robbie Coman led off with a walk and Ernie Clement had a bunt single. Kevin Doherty followed with a fly out to center field, and Coman, who was trying to advance to third on the play, was gunned down by Malbon for the second out.
That would not be the home team's last threat, as the Cavaliers put the tying and winning runs in scoring position with one out in the ninth against Taylor Edens. The right-hander struck out Coman, however, and after hitting Clement to load the bases, induced Doherty to fly out to center field to end the game.
Edens picked up his second straight save over UVa, and his fourth this season, by firing 2 1/3 scoreless innings to close out the game. The winning pitcher was Kyle Staats (1-1), the fourth of six Keydet hurlers, who allowed one hit in 2/3 of an inning, and Riley Cummins (0-1) took the loss for the home team as both batters he faced in the seventh inning scored.
As mentioned, the win marks the first time since 1958-1960 that the Keydets have won back to back games over Virginia. It also marks just the sixth multi-game win streak for VMI in a series that dates back to 1889.
UVa took the early lead on a Daniel Pinero home run off Matthew Eagle in the first, but VMI countered in the second inning against right-hander Jack Roberts.
Tyler Tharp and Matt Winn started that frame with back to back walks, and Connerley followed with a single to load the bases. Alec Bettinger relieved Roberts, but Jaye drove in a run with an infield out and one out later, Connerley scored on a wild pitch to give the Keydets a 2-1 lead.
The Cavaliers went back in front with single runs in the third and fourth, but VMI took the lead once again with a 3-spot in the fifth.
Malbon led off with a single and David Geary followed with a walk. Malbon was thrown out at third trying to advance on a ball in the dirt for the first out, but Jordan Tarsovich followed with his second home run in as many days to make it 4-3, Keydets. A Connerley sacrifice fly later in the inning made it a 5-3 contest.
Virginia answered with two runs in the fifth, both scoring on a double by left fielder Pavin Smith, to tie the game at 5. An RBI single by Matt Thaiss in the bottom of the sixth gave UVa a 6-5 lead and set the stage for Malbon's go-ahead hit and the late game dramatics.
Neither starter figured in the decision, as both Eagle and Roberts were gone before recording an out in the third inning in a game that was pitched out of the bullpens. Offensively, the Keydets were led by two-hit games from Connerley and Malbon, while Virginia third baseman Kenny Towns went 3-for-4 to lead the home team.
VMI will return to action Friday, as the Keydets resume Southern Conference play in Greenville, S.C., against the Furman Paladins. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.
Samford 8, Alabama A&M 4
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Samford baseball team built an early lead and held off a late Alabama A&M rally to earn an 8-4 win Wednesday night at Joe Lee Griffin Field.
For Samford at the plate, T.J. Dixon went 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs. Heath Quinn went 2-for-5 with a triple and two RBIs. Hunter Swilling, Austin Edens and Alex Lee drove in a run each for the Bulldogs.
Eric Wright (2-2) pitched five innings, giving up one run on four hits to earn the win on the mound for Samford. Wright struck out seven batters, while allowing just one walk. Wyatt Burns, Mark Donham and Andres Gracia also saw time on the mound for Samford.
Alabama A&M was led by Andrew Utterback, who went 3-for-4 with an RBI. Dylan Payne went 1-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs for Alabama A&M. Taylor Knight (0-1) pitched two innings, giving up four runs on five hits to take the loss on the mound.
Alabama A&M struck first with a run in the top of the first inning. Utterback singled up the middle to drive in Brandyn Crutcher for a 1-0 A&M lead.
Samford took the lead for good with two runs in the bottom of the first inning. With one out in the inning, Swilling walked. Quinn then tripled to right field to drive in Swilling to tie the score at 1-1. With two outs, Lee singled to drive in Quinn for a 2-1 Samford lead.
Samford added two more runs in the second inning to push its lead to 4-1. Frankie Navarrete walked to lead off the inning and later scored when Swilling reached base on a fielder's choice for the inning's first run. Edens later singled to drive in Dixon for a three-run Samford lead.
In the third inning, Samford plated two more runs for a 6-1 lead. With two outs in the inning, Navarrete walked. Dixon then homered to right field to give Samford a five-run advantage. The home run was the first of Dixon's Samford career.
Samford scored another run in the sixth inning for a 7-1 advantage. Pinch-hitter Grant Colton was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Colton later scored from third base on a wild pitch for Samford's seventh run of the game.
Alabama A&M came back with three runs in the top of the eighth inning to cut Samford's lead to 7-4. Justen Folger scored the first run of the inning when Julio Nunez grounded out to second base. Payne then hit a two-run home run to bring Alabama A&M to within three runs of Samford.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Samford added one final run to make the final score 8-4. Dixon reached base on an infield single to lead off the inning. Dixon advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt and then stole third base. Quinn then singled up the middle to drive in Dixon for the game's final run.
With the win, Samford improves to 12-15 on the season. Alabama A&M falls to 16-15 with the loss.
Samford will return to action this weekend when the Bulldogs host the UNCG Spartans in a three-game Southern Conference series. The teams are scheduled to play a doubleheader Friday at 3 p.m. CDT and a single game Saturday at 2 p.m. at Joe Lee Griffin Field.
No. 1 Vanderbilt 5, Wofford 3
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – On Wednesday night, the Wofford College baseball team fell 5-3 to top-ranked Vanderbilt at Hawkins field. Solo home runs were the story line of the game, as Wofford had a pair from Matt Ramsay and Mack Nathanson, while Vanderbilt hit three.
Wofford is 23-9 overall, while Vanderbilt is 24-6 overall. Wofford had seven hits in the game, while Vanderbilt had eight hits. The Terriers were led by Ramsay with two hits and two RBIs. The Commodores had two hits from Dansby Swanson and a pair of RBIs from Zander Wiel.
A sacrifice fly by Wiel drove in the first run of the day and a single by Bryan Reynolds added a run for a 2-0 Vanderbilt lead at the end of the first inning.
Wofford led off the third inning with a single up the middle by Derek Hirsch. After a double play, Ramsay put a ball over the scoreboard in left field to make it a 2-1 game. It was the first home run of the season for Ramsay and the seventh of his career.
Vanderbilt got the run back on a solo home run by Swanson, also clearing the scoreboard in left field for a 3-1 lead. After a walk, Jordan Accetta struck out three straight batters to end the third inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, Rhett Wiseman led off with a solo home run into the right-field bleachers for a 4-1 lead. With one out, Wiel added a solo home run to left field to make it 5-1.
Wofford opened the top of the sixth with a walk by Paradowski. James Plaisted singled and an error gave Wofford runners at second and third with one out. Back-to-back strikeouts ended the scoring chance for the Terriers.
Pete Carrier had a pinch-hit single to open the top of the seventh inning. After a sacrifice bunt, Hirsch was hit by a pitch and Paradowski walked to load the bases with two outs. A single by Ramsay drove in a run for a 5-2 score, but a strikeout ended the top half with three runners stranded.
With two outs in the top of the eighth, Mack Nathanson hit a solo home run over the wall in left field to cut the lead to 5-3.
Wofford starting pitcher Jordan Accetta (1-2) threw 4 1/3 innings with five runs allowed on seven hits and three strikeouts.
John Kilichowski (2-0) started for Vanderbilt and went six innings. He gave up one run on four hits and had eight strikeouts. Ben Bowden earned the save by not allowing a hit in the ninth with two strikeouts.
The Commodores are currently ranked No. 1 in the nation and won the 2014 College World Series. Wofford now has a 0-5 record against No. 1 teams, having also played Arizona State twice in 2008 and South Carolina once in 2011. Wofford also fell to Vanderbilt on Tuesday, 6-0.
The Terriers return to Southern Conference action on Friday night at Western Carolina to start a three-game series.