Power Surge Sends the Keydets Past The Citadel, 12-3
Courtesy: SportsPhotoGuy.com for VMI

LEXINGTON, Va. - Nathan Eaton and Matt Pita hit back to back homers to start VMI's first at-bat, part of a six-homer barrage that led the Keydets past The Citadel Bulldogs, 12-3, in the middle game of a three-game SoCon series contested Saturday at Gray-Minor Stadium.

Eaton got things started well for the Keydets (11-13, 2-3 SoCon) with a long homer to left-center on just the second pitch from Alex Bialakis, and Pita followed with his first of two homers, a drive to straightaway left on the first pitch. Jacob Jaye then gave Zak Kent some breathing room with a three-run shot in the fourth, and Matt Dunlevy and Jake Huggins added long balls later in the game as the Keydets hit their most home runs in a game since March of 2016.

Kent was the beneficiary of the power display, as he allowed just two runs over 6 2/3 innings to even his record at 3-3. Bialakis dropped to 2-3 after giving up six runs in four innings for the Bulldogs (12-13, 3-2).

The Keydets took a 3-0 lead into the fourth, but Jonathan Sabo led off the frame with a homer off Kent. Ben Peden and Taylor Cothran singled, and after a bunt, Ryan McCarthy walked to load the bases. Brooks O'Brien lined into a double play, however, and from then on, it was all VMI.

Jaye hit a three-run shot in the bottom of the inning to make it 6-1, and after a two-spot in the fifth made it an 8-1 contest, Pita homered for the second time to make it an eight-run advantage, 9-1.

The Bulldogs scratched across single runs in the seventh and eighth, but Dunlevy and Huggins went back to back in the bottom of the eighth to account for the final margin.

The Keydets' six homers were the most the team had hit since blasting seven against UMES on March 11, 2016. Pita led the VMI attack by going 2 for 3 with three RBI and three runs scored, while Will Malbon chipped in a 3 for 5, two runs scored afternoon. Sabo and Cothran had two hits apiece to lead The Citadel.

The rubber game of the series between The Citadel and VMI is set for 1 p.m. Sunday.

VMI 12, The Citadel 3 (March 31, 2018 at Lexington, Va.)
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CIT 000 100 110 - 3 8 0 (12-13, 3-2 SoCon)
VMI 210 321 03X - 12 13 1 (11-13, 2-3 SoCon)
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CIT - Bialakis; Beckley (5); Barbee (6); Taglieri (7); Foggo (8); Leasure and Buffington.
VMI - Kent; Tremblay (7); Barbery (8) and Maddox.
W - Kent (3-3) L - Bialakis (2-3)
HR CIT - Sabo (2)
HR VMI - Eaton (5); Pita 2 (7); Jaye (5); Dunlevy (3); Huggins (1)
T - 3:01 A - 323