After VMI jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, PC battled back and tied the game with three runs in the fifth. The Keydets took the lead for good in the bottom half, however, as Rob Dickinson beat out an infield hit, and Piccirilli hit a towering home run to left field, his second in as many days and third of the season. That gave VMI a 6-4 edge, and the Keydets would go on to add four unearned runs in the seventh as they moved to 9-4 at home on the year.
Andrew Deal (1-1), the second of three Keydet pitchers, earned the victory with two shutout innings, allowing just one hit. It was the first career win for the senior reliever, while PC’s starter, Beau Dees (1-4), took the loss. Dees allowed seven runs (six earned) over 6 1/3 innings. Michael Devine recorded his third save, throwing 2 2/3 innings and surrendering three ninth-inning runs.
After delaying the game’s first pitch for three hours, 19 minutes due to rain, the teams finally got underway at 4:19 p.m. and the Keydets got on the board first. Morley started the second inning with a single, and Gary LeClair bunted him into scoring position. Morley moved to third on a fly out, and Nick Dwyer drove him home with a two-out RBI single, putting VMI up, 1-0.
That lead grew to 4-0 in the third, thanks to a two-out rally. Piccirilli got it started with an opposite field single, and Cameron Walter followed with a hit of his own. Morley then blasted Dees’ first pitch over the scoreboard in left-center for a three-run home run, his sixth of the year, giving VMI a 4-0 advantage.
PC struck back in the fourth, as Brandon Paul hit a solo shot off VMI starter Jeremy Brown, and the Blue Hose got three runs in the fifth. Brad Zebedis capped a nine-pitch at-bat by drawing a walk, and Kenny Bryant was hit by a pitch. Paul then doubled home Zebedis, and Robby Swab singled home Bryant and Paul to account for the three runs, and end Brown’s day after 4 1/3 innings. The right-hander was charged with four runs, all earned, and surrendered six hits.
Deal came on, ended the inning without further damage and VMI re-took the lead in the bottom half. With one out, Dickinson hit a chopper to the right of first baseman Kenny Bryant. Bryant handled the ball, but Dickinson was able to beat Dees to the bag for an infield hit. Piccirilli then followed with his third home run of the year, giving the Keydets a 6-4 advantage.
That remained the score until the Keydet seventh, when Andrew Montague reached on an error to open the inning. Dickinson bunted pinch-runner Brandon Angus to second base, and Piccirilli followed with a walk against PC reliever Ryan Morris. One out later, Morley singled up the middle to score Angus, making it 7-4, VMI.
A LeClair single then scored Piccirilli, and brought a new reliever out of the Blue Hose bullpen, but he was greeted by a RBI single off the bat of Berkley Hawkins to push the margin to 9-4, Keydets. It was Hawkins’ seventh hit in 10 at-bats in the series, all coming after he moved into the starting lineup for Friday’s series opener. A second Presbyterian error allowed the final VMI run to score, making it a 10-4 game.
Devine, meanwhile, had entered the game in the seventh, and got through the eighth unscathed. The Blue Hose, however, rallied in the ninth, as Billy Motroni led off the inning with a single. One out later, Bryant singled and Paul followed with a two-run double, making it a 10-6 contest. Swab followed with an RBI single of his own, but after a visit to the mound, Devine struck out Tony Micklon and Jay Lizanich to end the contest.
Morley went 3 for 4 with four RBI to lead the Keydet attack, while Piccirilli added a 2 for 3, three runs scored day. Paul paced Presbyterian with three hits in five trips to the plate, as well as four RBI.
VMI baseball will return to action Tuesday, as the Keydets play host to the Old Dominion Monarchs at Gray-Minor Stadium. Game time is set for 5 p.m.