LEXINGTON, Va. – The High Point Panthers scored the first six runs of the game and went on to defeat the VMI Keydets, 6-2, in Big South baseball action Friday evening at Gray-Minor Stadium. The game featured a 2 for 4 effort from Rob Dickinson in the first game he had started since April 28, a performance that gave him a .402 batting average with one game left in the season. The contest was also shown on ESPN3.com, and was the first VMI home game shown on the ESPN family of networks in Gray-Minor Stadium history.
High Point (28-27, 14-9 BSC) had scored single runs in both the third and fifth innings against Keydet (20-34, 6-17 BSC) starter Reed Garrett, but it was in the sixth where the visitors got separation. With one out, Cody Manzella singled and moved to second on a wild pitch. A RBI single by Kyle Brandenburg made it 3-0, and after another wild pitch, Dane McDermott doubled to right center to make it a 4-0 contest. High Point added two additional runs in the seventh and held on, although VMI was able to get on the board with two runs in the ninth.
Jamie Schultz (1-6) earned the victory for High Point with seven shutout innings, during which he surrendered just three hits and three walks. The Keydets did not get a leadoff man on against Schultz during his strong outing. Garrett took the loss to drop to 3-8 after surrendering four runs – three earned – in 5 2/3 frames.
HPU took the lead in the third, when Ryan Retz had a sacrifice fly to drive in the game’s opening run. Retz also drove in the contest’s second run, doing so in the fifth. Willie Medina led off that inning by reaching on an error, and promptly stole second. One out later, Retz singled to left to make it 2-0, HPU. The Panthers then added two in the sixth as Schultz continued to throw well, and HPU pulled away in the seventh.
Devin Bujnovsky led off with a single and Retz followed with one of his own. Spencer Angelis then bunted down the third base line. Ray Lopez charged and threw wildly to first on a play that was ruled a single and a throwing error, as Bujnovsky scored to push the margin to five. Adam Barry then hit into a double play, scoring Retz to end the HPU tallies for the evening.
The Keydets got on the board in the ninth. With two outs in the inning, Brandon Angus singled. He then moved to second when catcher Angelis tried to pick him off first and threw wildly. Eric Mayers followed with a walk, on which ball four bounced away from the HPU catcher to allow Angus to reach third. A balk scored Angus, and Berkley Hawkins followed with a single to plate Mayers and cut the margin to 6-2. Reliever Mike Krumm, however, struck out pinch-hitter Cody Holder to end the game.
Offensively, Dickinson was one of two Keydets with multiple hits (Angus) and, on Saturday, will bid to become the first Keydet since Greg Weddle in 1986 to hit .400 in a single season (minimum 150 at-bats). Retz went 3 for 4 with two RBI to lead High Point.
VMI baseball will conclude its 2013 season Saturday, as the Keydets and High Point wrap up their three-game series. Game time is set for 2 p.m., and shortly before the first pitch, VMI’s five seniors will be honored in an on-field ceremony.