LEXINGTON, Va. – Jordan Tarsovich, Rob Dickinson and Matt Winn all had three hits, and the VMI bullpen allowed just one hit over the final three innings as the VMI Keydets defeated the Richmond Spiders, 9-5, in non-conference baseball action Wednesday at Gray-Minor Stadium.
The Keydets (9-14) trailed 4-0 after the first two frames, but struck back with seven total runs over the third and fourth innings. VMI took advantage of a wind-aided, bloop double by Drew Bryan in the third, a play that saw the Richmond first and second basemen collide, to start the seven-run uprising that included two-run doubles by both Dickinson and Tarsovich. The Keydets then took an 8-4 lead to the seventh, and saw Andrew Montague, Reed Garrett and John Garrett combine to allow just a ninth-inning single as VMI won its third straight midweek game for the first time since April of 2010.
On the mound, T.J. Lighton (2-2) was the victor, going five innings and giving up four runs (two earned). He struck out five and walked only one. Peter Bayer dropped to 2-1 in taking the loss for UR, as he gave up four fourth-inning runs.
Richmond (14-6) jumped ahead on the breezy, cool day in Lexington, taking a 2-0 lead in the first. Chris Bell reached on an error, and two outs later, scored on an Adam Forrer triple to straightaway center field. Forrer then scored on a Lighton wild pitch to put UR up, 2-0, just five batters into the game.
That margin doubled in the second, when Cory Moheit led off with a double, and one out later, scored on a Tyler Beckwith two-bagger. Mike Small then plated Beckwith with an infield hit, on which the UR third baseman scored from second base on a hustle play, making it a 4-0 game.
The Keydets cut into that margin in the third, as with one out, Bryan hit a high, arcing pop-up into short right field. UR first baseman Doug Kraeger and second baseman Bell angled toward the line for it, but they collided approximately 20 feet behind the first base bag, allowing the ball to roll away and Bryan to hustle into second for a double. One out later, Will Connerley was hit by a pitch and Dickinson laced a double down the right field line, scoring both runners to cut the margin to 4-2. Nick Dwyer followed with a RBI single, making it a 4-3 game.
Lighton executed the shutdown inning in the fourth, retiring the Spiders in order, and VMI took the lead in the bottom half. Brandon Angus had a one-out double, and Ray Lopez followed with a single. Bryan then drove home Angus with a single, and after both runners advanced on a wild pitch, Tarsovich drove a 2-0 pitch down the right field line to plate Bryan and Lopez, giving VMI its first lead at 6-4. One batter later, Dickinson’s second double of the game scored Tarsovich and made it a 7-4 contest.
The Keydets added on in the sixth, when Lopez led off with a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Bryan bunted him to third, and Tarsovich delivered his third RBI of the game, a sacrifice fly to center to make it 8-4, VMI.
The visitors then threatened in the seventh, when Kraeger led off with a single against Taylor Edens. Beckwith followed with a single as well, and Montague relieved Edens. After a sacrifice bunt, Kraeger scored on a wild pitch to cut the margin to 8-5, Keydets. That was all UR would get, however, as Montague struck out Bell and got Tanner Stanley to fly out to end the inning.
Meanwhile, a Winn sacrifice fly in the seventh would prove to be the game’s final run, as Richmond managed just a hit and a walk over the final two innings against Reed and John Garrett.
“In the first two innings, I felt bad for T.J. Lighton,” said VMI head coach Marlin Ikenberry. “Early on today, I felt our focus was very poor, as was made obvious by the first play of the game being an error. T.J., however, did a good job of competing and really did well after we took the lead. I was happy to see our offense both come back, and extend the lead multiple times late. The bullpen was exceptional tonight, and Rob Dickinson and Jordan Tarsovich both had big at-bats and delivered three RBI each. We turned the lineup over when we needed to, which is important in a second mid-week game. It’s always good to get an in-state win during mid-week play and get guys work at the same time. We were able to do both this week.”
VMI baseball will return to action Friday, returning to Big South play by taking on the Longwood Lancers. Game time is set for 5 p.m.