LEXINGTON, Va. – Ray Lopez went 3 for 4 with four RBI’s, pacing an offensive attack that saw eight of nine starters notch at least one hit as the VMI Keydets defeated the Lafayette Leopards, 10-3, in non-conference baseball action Saturday at Gray-Minor Stadium in Lexington, Va.
One night after Reed Garrett no-hit Lafayette (0-2), the game was tied 1-1 headed to the bottom of the third inning when VMI’s (3-2) offense exploded. The Keydets put three on the board in the third, four in the fourth and two more in the sixth, scoring nine unanswered runs to break the game open. Lopez had the afternoon’s big blow, a two-run triple to straightaway center field in the fifth, and also added RBI singles in the second and third innings. It was the fifth career three-hit game for the shortstop, while his four RBI were a career best.
On the mound, Connor Bach (1-1) battled through five innings to notch his first win of the year. He did not allow an earned run in those five frames, walking six and striking out seven. Alex Farina (0-1), the Lafayette starter, was tagged for seven runs, six earned, in 4 2/3 innings.
The visitors had the game’s first hit, as a Tim Lazor double in the second broke up a string of 10 2/3 no-hit innings by the VMI pitching staff. Lazor was left stranded, however, and the Keydets pushed across a run in the bottom half on a two-out single by Lopez, scoring Brandon Angus for a 1-0 VMI lead.
The Leopards tied it in the third, doing so on a passed ball, but VMI took the lead for good in the bottom half. Jordan Tarsovich led off with a double and David Geary followed with a bunt single. Red Dowdell walked to load the bases, and Angus delivered a two-run single through the right side, making it 3-1. Two batters later, Lopez singled up the middle to add a run for a 4-1 Keydet advantage.
The home team added on once again in the fifth. Dowdell led off with a single, and one batter later, Matt Winn walked. Eric Mayers flew out, but Lopez hammered a long drive over the head of center fielder Andrew Santomauro for his first triple of the year. The two-run three-bagger made it 6-1, and gave the sophomore four two-out RBI’s. The next batter, Cameron Walter, drove home Lopez with a double, and Walter would score later in the inning via a balk as well.
VMI scored its final runs in the sixth, when Geary was hit by a pitch to start the frame. Dowdell then walked, and after an Angus sacrifice bunt, Winn singled Geary home for an eight-run Keydet lead. Mayers then capped the Keydet scoring with a sacrifice fly.
Alex Woinski had a two-run, pinch-hit home run in the ninth inning for Lafayette, accounting for the final margin.
In addition to Lopez, Dowdell had a strong day for the VMI offense, going 1 for 2 with two walks and three runs scored, while Angus had two RBI’s and Geary scored twice. Lafayette was led by Lazor’s 2 for 4 day.
VMI baseball will go for the series sweep, its first of a three-game series since March 23-25, 2012, in the series finale Sunday. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.