Keydets Rally for 11-5 Win on Opening Day
Courtesy: Brad Salois

WILMINGTON, N.C. - The VMI Keydets scored the final ten runs of the game, sparked by big days from the top of their lineup, and Josh Winder settled down after a rocky second inning as VMI downed Appalachian State, 11-5, in the opening game of the Hughes Bros. Challenge in Wilmington, N.C. The game was the season opener for both clubs.

Appalachian State (0-1) jumped out to an early 5-1 lead thanks to a five-spot in the second inning, but that was all the Mountaineers would muster against Winder and Mason Adamson.

Tyler Tharp launched a three-run homer in the second to start the comeback and then tied the game on a double in the fourth, setting up the decisive sixth. Sean Mason relieved starter Travis Holden and allowed five of the first six hitters, including a RBI bases loaded walk by Tharp, to reach and a Collin Fleischer two-run single highlighted the uprising.

Matt Pita added a two-run double later in the inning and a Jake Huggins RBI walk capped the scoring, while Adamson allowed just three baserunners over the final three frames to pick up the save.

VMI's offense was led by Tharp, who went 3 for 4 with two runs scored and five RBI, as well as Matt Dunlevy, who led off for the first time in his career and did so with a solo home run to right field. Dunlevy finished 2 for 3 with three runs scored, and Matt Pita chipped in three hits and two RBI as well.

No Mountaineer player finished with more than one hit.

Winder picked up the victory in large part due to allowing only an infield single over his final four innings of work. For the day, he allowed five runs on five hits with nine strikeouts and one walk. He also hit a batter in his six innings.

Mason took the loss, as he was charged with five runs, four earned, in just 1/3 of an inning, and Adamson picked up the save.

VMI baseball will return to action Saturday, when the Keydets take on #24 UNC Wilmington at 2 p.m. and then play Appalachian State at 6 p.m.