LEXINGTON, Va. - The VMI Keydets broke the school record for triples in a game, while Jordan Tarsovich was on base in all five of his plate appearances and Drew Bryan fell a home run shy of the cycle to lead VMI to a 17-4 win over Maryland-Eastern Shore Monday afternoon. The game was the finale of the six-game, three-day round-robin tournament at Gray-Minor Stadium that involved Maryland-Eastern Shore (1-5), Buffalo and VMI.
The Keydets (3-5) had four triples in Monday's contest, all of which came before the sixth inning. That broke the previous VMI best, set in 1997 against Savannah State and equaled last year against Lafayette. Rob Dickinson, Cody Holder, Bryan and Thomas Stallings all had three-baggers to contribute to the record-setting effort.
Tarsovich, who was kept off-base for the first time this season in Sunday's loss to Buffalo, went 3 for 3 with two walks Monday, while Bryan had a single, double and triple in five trips to the plate. It was Bryan's triple that tied the school record for three-baggers, while Stallings broke the mark with one of his own in the fifth.
Every VMI starting position player had at least two hits, save third baseman Ray Lopez, who drew three walks. The total output of 17 runs was VMI's highest-scoring effort since May 21, 2011, when the Keydets also put 17 on the board in a victory over High Point, while the 19-hit attack was VMI's best total since April 15, 2011, when the Keydets pounded out 19 hits against Charleston Southern.
The Keydets jumped ahead quickly Monday, scoring four runs in the first inning. Tarsovich doubled to lead off the game, and one out later, Dickinson tripled to right-center to make it 1-0. Red Dowdell walked, and Brandon Angus plated Dickinson with a sacrifice fly. Holder followed with a RBI double, and Stallings singled to center field to make it 4-0, VMI.
The home team added two more in the second, after starting the inning with three straight walks. Tarsovich scored on an error, and Angus added a RBI single to push the margin to 6-0.
UMES got three runs back in the third, but the Keydets blew it open in the bottom half by batting around for the second time in three innings. A one-out error started the rally, and after a stolen base and two more walks, UMES went to the bullpen. Dickinson greeted reliever Sean Woods with a sacrifice fly. On the play, Lopez, who had walked, was able to move up a base thanks to a throwing error on the relay. That allowed him to score, along with Tarsovich, when Dowdell singled to right to make it 9-3. One batter later, Holder tripled to the right center field gap, scoring two more runs and pushing the lead to eight, 11-3.
Tarsovich drove in a run in the fourth with a RBI single, his fourth time on base in four innings. UMES notched a run in the fifth, as Mike Escanilla scored on a Byron Campbell single to make it a 12-4 contest, but the Keydets would score the final five runs. Five straight two-out hits in the fifth, including RBI hits by Bryan and Tarsovich, led to two runs and a 14-4 lead.
The final runs of the contest came in the sixth, when the first three runners reached base for VMI. Stallings then hit into a double play, scoring Dowdell, and freshman David Geary reached on an error. Bryan followed with a RBI double, scoring Cameron Walter, and Brandon Diamond singled to score Geary and account for the final margin.
On the mound, Campbell Henkel (1-1) earned the win with six innings of work, allowing four runs (two earned) on four hits. He walked two and struck out four. The Keydet bullpen, including freshman Taylor Edens in his collegiate debut, allowed just one hit over the final three innings, striking out seven of the game's final nine batters. Starting pitcher Bernard Parker took the loss, dropping to 1-1 after giving up nine runs, all earned, on six hits and six walks in 2 1/3 innings.
"I was pleased with our offense tonight," said VMI head coach Marlin Ikenberry. "We got ourselves into good hitting counts, and swung the bats well. It was good to stake Campbell to a lead and let him pitch through the sixth. I was glad to see so many of our players come off the bench and play well tonight, and at the end of the game, our bullpen was outstanding. Overall, I was happy with how we competed. Before the game, we talked about winning every inning, and today, we accomplished that."
Earlier in the day, Buffalo rallied for a 6-3 win over UMES to conclude its participation in the three days of action.
VMI baseball is back in action Wednesday, playing host to VMI Hall of Famer Chris Finwood 88's Old Dominion Monarchs at Gray-Minor Stadium. Game time is set for 4 p.m.