Late Long Balls Send VMI to Second Straight Win
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LEXINGTON, Va. – George Piccirilli tied the game with an eighth-inning home run, and moments later, Jacob Morley hit one of his own to give the VMI Keydets a lead they would not relinquish, en route to a 5-4 win over the Presbyterian College Blue Hose in Big South baseball action Saturday.

The Blue Hose (9-16, 0-5 Big South) took a 4-1 lead into the seventh, where VMI (8-14, 2-3) struck for two runs to pull within one. Piccirilli then led off the eighth with a home run, his second of the year, off Nick Ferguson, knotting the score at 4. That brought on Buck Mosteller out of the PC bullpen, and after a groundout, Morley launched his fifth home run of the season to give VMI a 5-4 lead, and account for the final run of the game. The blast was the fifth of the year for the senior, giving him a new career high.

The remainder of the game was not without drama, however, as the Blue Hose rallied in the ninth. Billy Motroni led off with a single, bringing on John Garrett out of the bullpen. One out later, Kenny Bryant singled and both runners moved up on a wild pitch. Tony Micklon then walked, loading the bases with two outs, but Brandon Paul lined out to center fielder Rob Dickinson to end the game.

Morley’s home run made a winner out of freshman Reed Garrett (2-1), who pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings, while Mosteller (0-1) took the loss. John Garrett picked up his second save of the series, and third of the year, by getting the final two outs.

Presbyterian jumped on Keydet starter Campbell Henkel in the third. A RBI double by Andrew Williams opened the scoring, and Brad Zebedis plated him with a RBI single of his own, putting PC up 2-0. One batter later, Henkel uncorked a wild pitch, allowing a third run to score and giving the Blue Hose an early 3-0 lead.

That margin grew to four an inning later, when Brandon Paul led off with a double and stole third. Williams then got him home with a sacrifice fly, giving PC a 4-0 cushion.

The Keydets got a run back in the fifth, as Nick Dwyer singled with one out. After a fly out, he then stole second and scored on a two-out single by Matt Winn, making it 4-1, PC.

VMI added two more in the seventh, as Berkley Hawkins led off with a single. Dwyer then followed with a single of this own, bringing up pinch-hitter Brandon Diamond. Diamond delivered a pinch-hit, two-run triple, scoring Dwyer and Hawkins to make it a one-run game, 4-3, and set the stage for the late-game efforts.

In the dramatic win, just the second VMI victory this year when down after seven innings, Dwyer had a 3 for 3 night to pace the VMI offense, while four players had two hits for PC. Neither starter figured in the decision, as Henkel went six innings, allowing four runs on nine hits. Chandler Knox was on the hill for the Blue Hose, allowing three runs on eight hits.

VMI baseball will return to action Sunday, wrapping up the series with the Blue Hose at Gray-Minor Stadium. Game time is set for 1 p.m.

VMI 5, Presbyterian College 4 (March 24, 2012 at Lexington, Va.)
PC             003 100 000  -  4 13 0     (9-16, 0-5 Big South)
VMI            000 010 220  -  5  10 0     (8-14, 2-3 Big South)
PC – Knox; Ferguson (7); Mosteller (8) and Zebedis.
VMI – Henkel; R. Garrett (7); J. Garrett (9) and Winn.
W- R. Garrett (2-1) S – J. Garrett (3) L – Mosteller (0-1) T-2:33 A-300
HR – Piccirilli (2), Morley (5)