Baseball to Open Season Friday in Wilmington
Courtesy: Tanner Leslie

VMI baseball begins the 2017 season Friday, as the Keydets take part in the Hughes Brothers Challenge, a round robin tournament hosted by UNC Wilmington in Wilmington, N.C. VMI's season begins Friday against Appalachian State at noon, with games Saturday against UNCW (2 p.m.) and App. State (6 p.m.) to follow, and the VMI slate wraps up with a 10 a.m. game against George Mason Sunday. 

How to Follow

Fans can follow along with the weekend's action in a variety of ways. UNCW will provide a video stream of its contest with the Keydets Saturday, as well as live stats for all games throughout the weekend. In addition, fans can follow with in-game updates on the @VMIbaseco Twitter page. All links are provided to the left of this article. 

Probable Starting Pitchers

Friday: VMI RHP Josh Winder vs. ASU RHP Travis Holden
Saturday, Game 1: VMI RHP Matt Eagle vs. #24 UNCW RHP Josh Roberson
Saturday, Game 2: VMI LHP Brandon Barbery vs. ASU LHP Bobby Hampton
Sunday: VMI TBA vs. GMU RHP Zach Mort

First Words - Preview Information

This tournament marks the second time in four years that VMI opens at the Hughes Bros. Challenge in Wilmington. The Keydets went 1-2 at this tournament - against UNCW, then-#1 UVA and Kentucky - in 2014.

VMI is looking to turn around a recent negative trend in season openers. The Keydets have won just one season opener since 2010 - a 3-1 victory over North Florida on Feb. 13, 2015.

Friday's game against Appalachian State will be VMI's first against the Mountaineers since sweeping a series in Boone, N.C. in May of 2003. The two schools were both members of the SoCon prior to that time.

Two Keydets are closing in on career top-10 marks in program history. Collin Fleischer is seven home runs away from tying Elliot Erbe for 10th place on the VMI all-time listing (26), and Jack Gomersall is nine appearances away from equaling J.J. Hollenbeck's 70 career games pitched that also ranks 10th in VMI annals.

Fleischer was voted Second Team Preseason All-SoCon, while Friday’s starter, Josh Winder, was named to Perfect Game’s Preseason All-SoCon listing.

Next Time Out

The Keydets follow up this weekend's action Tuesday, traveling to Charlottesville to take on the Virginia Cavaliers.