CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Taylor Edens and Campbell Henkel combined on a six-hitter and Brandon Angus had the eventual game-winning RBI with a two-out single in the eighth, leading VMI to a 3-2 upset of the top-ranked Virginia Cavaliers at Charlottesville’s Davenport Field Tuesday night. The win was VMI athletics’ first over a top-ranked opponent since April 14, 2010, when the Keydets defeated UVA (6-2) at Gray-Minor Stadium and was the Keydets’ first win over the Cavaliers in Charlottesville since March 6, 1990.
After VMI (5-2) had taken a 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth, Henkel (1-0) retired the side in order in the bottom half. Edens then emerged from the bullpen and the teams matched zeros until the eighth, when Jordan Tarsovich led off with a single up the middle. David Geary bunted him to second and Tarsovich stole third. After Red Dowdell struck out, Angus lined the first pitch up the middle to score Tarsovich and make it 3-1, Keydets.
VMI stuck with Edens in the ninth and Mike Papi led off with a single. An infield out moved him to second, and an error put runners at the corners with one out and the cleanup hitter, Brandon Downes, coming up. Downes bounced out to freshman shortstop Tanner Dofflemyer, scoring Papi and moving the potential tying run into scoring position. Edens induced a first-pitch fly out to left field from Derek Fisher, however, ending the game and allowing the Keydets to storm the field.
Henkel was credited with the victory via pre-arrangement inning limitations and went to 1-0 on the year, surrendering just a third inning home run to Papi. He gave up four hits and struck out one. Edens picked up the save with five sparkling innings of two-hit baseball, giving up only the ninth-inning unearned run, while Whit Mayberry took the loss. Mayberry, pressed into service just before the game, allowed two runs in 3 2/3 innings. Interestingly, Mayberry was also the starter in VMI’s 2010 win over #1 UVA.
Offensively, Angus led the way for VMI with a 3 for 4 game, while Papi was 2 for 3 with two runs scored out of the leadoff spot for the home team.
The contest got off to a bizarre start, as scheduled UVA starter Artie Lewicki was injured in warm-ups. Mayberry replaced him and the teams agreed to a 20-minute delay. When the game did get underway, neither team scored until the third, when Papi launched a one-out home run to right, putting the Cavaliers up, 1-0.
Branden Cogswell followed with a single, but Joe McCarthy bounced into a 4-6-3 double play and UVA did not have another hit until the seventh inning.
Meanwhile, the Keydets came right back in the fourth as Dowdell singled with one out. Angus followed with a hard ground ball just inside the third base line that went for a double, putting runners at second and third, and a Matt Winn squeeze bunt scored Dowdell to tie the score. The next batter, Will Connerley, hit a slow roller to third that appeared to be the final out of the inning, but the throw to first was muffed by Papi for an error, allowing Angus to score and the Keydets to take a 2-1 lead.
The Keydets threatened in the sixth, putting two on with two out, but Connor Jones retired Connerley to end the inning.
Edens set down the first seven batters he faced until Fisher’s one-out single in the seventh, but Winn immediately quelled any hopes for a UVA rally by throwing Fisher out stealing and the Keydets took the one-run lead to the eighth, setting the stage for the late inning drama.
To put the time since VMI had last won at Virginia in perspective, starting shortstop Dofflemyer was nearly five years from being born when the last Keydet victory at UVA occurred.
VMI baseball will return to action Friday, beginning a three-day tournament involving Buffalo and Maryland Eastern-Shore. Action between Buffalo and UMES gets underway at 12:30 p.m.
Quotes – VMI Head Coach Marlin Ikenberry
"Well, obviously this was a great win for us. Our guys took the lead in the fourth and held it all game. I was proud of how we stayed composed and competed, and I was so pleased with Campbell Henkel and Taylor Edens pitching the way they did against perhaps the best lineup in the country."
"Connor Jones had been throwing first-pitch breaking balls in pressure situations all day. Brandon went up there looking for it, hit it and hit it hard. He's been swinging a hot bat."
"Taylor Edens sinks it, slides it and keeps hitters off-balance. They just could not get good swings off him all night. He did a nice job of changing speeds, and that is Taylor Edens' MO."
"Matt Winn is one of the best catch and throw guys I've ever coached. It's so impressive the way he shuts down a running game. He's still a little weak coming off mono, but he's done a great job with our pitching staff."