Bullpen Sparks VMI to Road Win, 6-2
Courtesy: VMIKeydets.com
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FARMVILLE, Va. - The Longwood Lancers scored in the first inning, but the VMI Keydets answered with four runs in the second and the Keydet bullpen allowed just one hit over the final seven innings of the game, propelling VMI to a 6-2 road win over Longwood Tuesday night in Farmville, Va.

With Longwood (21-18) leading 1-0, Nick Dwyer led off the VMI (14-26) second by reaching on an error. After Thomas Stallings walked, Brandon Angus laid down a bunt in front of the plate. First baseman Zach Mihalko fielded the ball, but threw wildly to first, allowing a run to score. One out later, Matt Winn hit a ground ball to short. The throw came home, but Stallings, running aggressively, beat the ball to the plate to put VMI ahead, 2-0. Rob Dickinson then followed with a sacrifice fly, scoring Angus on the pop to shallow center, and George Piccrilli capped the scoring with a RBI single, the lone hit of the inning, to give the Keydets a 4-1 margin that they would not relinquish.

Andrew Deal (2-1) picked up the win with a career-long outing, as he went five sensational innings, allowing just one hit. Brandon Vick took the loss to fall to 5-2 for Longwood, as he surrendered four unearned runs over two-plus frames.

Reed Garrett and John Garrett closed out the game with a hitless inning apiece, combining to strike out five of the six hitters they faced, as the Keydets ended a 20-game road losing skid. All told, the Keydet bullpen surrendered just one hit and one walk over the final seven innings of the contest.

"I was proud of the way we pitched and played defense tonight," said VMI head coach Marlin Ikenberry. "George Piccirilli helped get us going with a two-out hit in the second. Our bullpen was great today, from Andrew Deal on down. We had some chances in the middle innings to extend the lead, and couldn't, so it was good to see the ninth inning rally. Matt Winn had a good at-bat to start it, and Rob Dickinson got us the RBI single to extend the lead. Finally, congratulations to Jacob Morley on moving into the program's all-time top-10 list in hits."

After Scott Burkett's first inning home run off Keydet starter Miles McQuaig and VMI's four-run response, Longwood answered back in the third. Matt Dickason walked, and Burkett followed with a single. Justin Lacy singled to score Dickason, and make it a 4-2 game. That brought Deal out of the VMI bullpen, and he immediately struck out cleanup hitter Robby Newman and induced a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.

Neither team scored in the fourth, but Longwood put two on to start the fifth. Deal then induced another 6-4-3 double play, and ended the inning by getting Newman to ground out to first baseman Cameron Walter, maintaining VMI's 4-2 lead.

Angus led off the sixth with a double, but after a Drew Bryan sacrifice moved him to third base, the Keydets could not get him home. An infield out and a strikeout ended the threat. Deal then allowed just one baserunner over his final two innings, leaving after a sparkling 47-pitch effort, and Reed Garrett came on for the eighth. He struck out Lacy and Newman before inducing a groundout to end the inning, and the Keydets added on in the ninth.

Winn led off the inning with a single up the middle, and moved to second on a passed ball. Dickinson then ripped a single to right-center, scoring the Keydet catcher to make it a 5-2 contest. Piccirilli then reached on a Longwood error, the fifth Lancer error of the night, and one out later, LU hurler Ryan Schubert uncorked a wild pitch.

The ball hit directly in front of the plate and hopped well into the air, going over Burkett and to the screen. Dickinson, running hard, came around third and tried to score on the play. Burkett's peg to Schubert appeared to be in time, but Dickinson's dive for the plate knocked the ball out of Schubert's glove, allowing the VMI runner to score and account for the final margin, 6-2. John Garrett struck out the side in the ninth to cap the victory.

No Keydet player had more than one hit, but Jacob Morley's 1 for 4 effort gave him 200 career hits, making him the 10th Keydet player all-time to achieve that milestone.

VMI baseball will return to action Wednesday, playing host to James Madison at Gray-Minor Stadium. Game time is set for 6 p.m.