Keydets Drop Doubleheader to ETSU
Courtesy: Robert Kell - Creative Story Visuals

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - The VMI Keydets led both games early, but the ETSU Bucs pulled away in the middle innings of each contest and swept a doubleheader, 6-4 and 7-3, in SoCon baseball action Sunday in Johnson City, Tenn.

By winning both games, ETSU moves to 17-11 overall and 4-5 in conference action. The Keydets drop to 14-16 and 4-5 in SoCon play.

GAME 1

In game one, it was a four-run sixth inning that turned the game around. VMI led 4-1 early behind three RBI from Noah Cook, coming on a two-run single in the second and a RBI single in the fourth, but ETSU tallied four runs in the sixth to take the lead for good. A two-run single by Hunter Parker with two outs in the frame was the key blow.

ETSU added a single run in the seventh, and the Bucs needed it due to a VMI rally in the ninth. Nate Eaton and Matt Pita walked with one out, and with two down, executed a double steal to put the tying runs in scoring position. Aaron Maher induced Peyton Maddox to fly out to end the game, however.

Maher pitched the final two innings to earn his fourth save, while Ryan Simpler was the winning pitcher behind a seven-inning, four-run effort. Derek Tremblay (1-2) took the loss.

Offensively, Pita and Jake Huggins had two hits apiece to lead VMI, while Chris Cook and Caleb Longley did so for ETSU.

GAME 2

In game two, the Keydets jumped ahead in the second, when Huggins doubled home a run and Will Malbon's sacrifice fly staked Kyle Staats to a 2-0 lead. ETSU tied it in the fourth, however, and a Maher homer in the fifth gave the Bucs the lead for good.

The game was close until the eighth, when a two-run homer by Jackson Greer gave the Bucs a five-run lead late. VMI scored in the ninth on a RBI double by Jacob Jaye, but could get no closer and dropped a 7-3 decision.

Staats (3-2) was knocked out in the fifth inning and took the loss after giving up four runs - three earned - in 4 1/3 frames. Russell Koesters (2-0) was the winner, as he limited the Keydets to just two runs in six innings, and James Giambalvo gave up one run in 2 2/3 frames to get his fourth save.

Maher and Sean Kearney led ETSU with two hits apiece, while Huggins, Collin Fleischer and Jacob Jaye had two hit games for the visitors.

VMI baseball will return to action Tuesday, when the Keydets play host to Longwood at Gray-Minor Stadium. First pitch is set for 6 p.m., and the game can be seen on ESPN3.

ETSU 6, VMI 4 (April 8, 2018 at Johnson City, Tenn.) - Game 1
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VMI 021 100 000 - 4 8 1 (14-15, 4-4)
ETSU 100 004 10X - 6 7 2 (16-11, 3-5)
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VMI - Kent; Tremblay (6) and Maddox.
ETSU - Simpler; Maher (8) and Jackson.
W - Simpler (3-3) S - Maher (4) L - Tremblay (1-2)
T - 2:51 A - 363

ETSU 7, VMI 3 (April 8, 2018 at Johnson City, Tenn.) - Game 2
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VMI 020 000 001 - 3 8 2 (14-16, 4-5)
ETSU 000 221 02X - 7 10 0 (17-11, 4-5)
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VMI - Staats; Johnston (5); Eagle (7) and Smoot.
ETSU - Koesters; Linton (7); Giambalvo (7) and Greer.
W - Koesters (2-0) S - Giambalvo (4) L - Staats (3-2)
HR ETSU - Maher (5); Greer (3)
T - 3:05 A - 363