LEXINGTON, Va. - In a contest that fell just one minute short of the longest nine-inning game in VMI baseball history, Jacob Jaye and Collin Fleischer hit two home runs apiece to lead the Keydets past the Old Dominion Monarchs, 17-14, Wednesday in Lexington, Va.
VMI led from the second batter of the game on, as Fleischer hit the first of his two homers off a light standard in left center field to give the Keydets an early 2-0 lead. The home team went on to lead by as many as nine runs and held on despite ODU (22-8) scoring the last eight runs of the game.
Wednesday's game went four hours, 36 minutes, one minute shy of last year's 4:37 affair with George Mason on March 16 that set the record for the longest nine-inning game in school history.
The Keydets (15-15) moved to the .500 mark with the win, the latest VMI baseball has been .500 since 2014.
Offensively, the Keydets set season highs in virtually every category as Jaye and Fleischer led the way from the top of the lineup. Jaye's two homers marked the first multi-homer game of his career and he now has four home runs in VMI's last seven games, after hitting five long balls in the first 107 contests of his career.
Fleischer, hitting second for the first time in his career, had a triple and two home runs in his first three at-bats to help fuel the VMI attack as well.
Ryan Hatten chipped in three hits as well, and the top five hitters in VMI's lineup combined to drive in 13 runs.
After a four-run first inning gave the Keydets the lead, ODU got a run back in the second but VMI scored three more in the third, helped by Jaye's first home run, and led 7-1 after two. It was quickly 7-4 headed to the bottom of the third, but Fleischer got two runs back with one swing, a massive blast off an electric pole at the top of the hill in left center field.
That made it 9-4, and the Keydets added six more in the fourth and took a 15-6 lead into the fifth. That was when Jaye homered off the roof of the batting cages down the right field line, giving the Keydets a double-digit lead at 17-6.
The Monarchs scored four in the sixth and another in the seventh, but Brandon Barbery - VMI's Sunday starter - entered after Culver Lamb had hit a solo home run to make it 17-11. He pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out three of the five hitters he faced, to restore order.
The visitors scored three runs in the ninth off Mason Adamson but could get no closer, as VMI moved to 5-1 in their last six midweek games. The Keydets also moved over .500 (5-4) this year against in-state opponents.
Oddly, in the marathon game, the starters got the decisions. Jon Clines (2-0) pitched two innings and gave up one run on three hits, while Jake Josephs (1-1) was tagged for five runs - all earned - in just 1 1/3 innings.
VMI baseball will return to action Friday, when the Keydets take on Wofford in Spartanburg, S.C. First pitch of the three-game SoCon series is set for 6 p.m.