Cowgill and Offense Lead VMI to Rout of CSU, 11-0
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N. CHARLESTON, S.C. – Coby Cowgill allowed just two hits over 8 1/3 innings, and Sam Roberts and Jacob Morley had four hits apiece to lead a 19-hit barrage as the VMI Keydets routed the Charleston Southern Buccaneers, 11-0, in Big South baseball action Friday afternoon in North Charleston, S.C.

The Keydets (17-16-1, 6-7 Big South) posted a season-high in hits for VMI, and in an odd occurrence, the Keydets had no extra base hits among the 19. VMI stole eight bases, the most since a 2006 game against Richmond, and were not caught stealing on the day. Finally, the two hits allowed were the fewest the Keydet pitching staff had surrendered in a nine-inning game since April 1, 2007, when VMI allowed two hits to Savannah State.

Cowgill (4-0) earned the victory, scattering five walks over his 8 1/3 scoreless frames, while Andrew Deal recorded the final two outs, extending his string of consecutive scoreless outings to six. Stew Brase (4-4) took the loss for CSU (20-18, 7-6 Big South), allowing three earned runs in 5 2/3 innings.

Offensively, Roberts had his fifth straight multi-hit game by going 4 for 4 with four RBI and a career-high three stolen bases, while Morley had his first career four-hit game, as he went 4 for 5 with three runs scored.

Chase Worthington and Justin Hess had three hits apiece as well, with Hess’ performance raising his batting average in league play to a stunning .489. The bottom three hitters in the VMI order – Morley, Worthington and Hess – went a combined 10 for 17 with four RBI.

Neither team could score in the opening three innings, but not due to lack of opportunities. Roberts singled to lead off the game and promptly stole second, but Brase retired the next three Keydets in order. Charleston Southern put runners on the corners with one out in the first, including one of their two hits off Cowgill, but Derek Smith bounced into a double play to retire the side.

As Cowgill set down CSU in order in both the second and the third, VMI put two runners on in each inning, but could not score. The Keydets finally broke through in the fourth, when Rob Dickinson led off by reaching via error. He then stole second, and one out later, advanced to third on a Worthington hit. After a bunt by Hess put Worthington on second, Roberts delivered both runners with a single up the middle, putting VMI up 2-0.

VMI added to that lead in the sixth, when Morley singled and stole second with one out. After Worthington was retired on a fly ball, Hess started a run of three consecutive singles. His hit brought home Morley, and Roberts followed with a hit of his own. Graham Sullivan then drove home Hess with an RBI single, knocking out Brase and pushing the Keydet lead to four. Roberts then scored on a wild pitch, making it 5-0, VMI.

After another three up, three down frame by Cowgill, Alex Haitsuka started a seventh-inning rally with a base hit to left field. The single extended his hitting streak to 16 games, and Justin Topping bunted him to second. Dickinson singled to put runners at the corners, and Morley followed with an RBI single. Worthington then had an infield hit to drive in another run, and a single for Hess loaded the bases. Roberts then plated the inning’s final tally, as Morley scored on a sacrifice fly to make the Keydet lead 8-0.

VMI scored its final three runs in the ninth, as the visitors had five straight hits to open the innings. Singles by Worthington and Roberts drove in runs, and Sullivan had a sacrifice fly to plate the game’s final tally. CSU had a brief rally in the ninth, loading the bases against Cowgill, but Deal came on and retired the final two hitters without incident, preserving the third Keydet shutout of the season.

VMI and Charleston Southern will resume their three-game weekend series Saturday, with the first pitch set for 2 p.m.

VMI 11, Charleston Southern 0 (April 15, 2011 at N. Charleston, S.C.)
VMI              000 203 303  - 11  19  1     (17-16-1, 6-7 Big South)
CSU             000 000 000  - 0    2   1     (20-18, 7-6 Big South)
VMI – Cowgill; Deal (9) and Haitsuka.
CSU  – Brase; Deighan (6); Dorsett (7); Hagaman (9); Schaefer (9); Hunt and Buckley (9).
W- Cowgill (4-0) L – Brase (4-4) T-2:50 A-218