With a wind advisory in full effect, the baseballs were flying high this evening as JMU played the VMI Keydets. VMI led most of the game, but the Dukes fought and ended with a walk-off RBI to win 4-3.
The Keydets got on the board first, with a sacrifice fly to right field that scored a run in the first inning. The Dukes looked to rally as senior outfielder Adam Sisk stole second with one out in the bottom of the first, but they couldn’t get the run in.
In the top of the third, freshman first baseman Michael Morgan got an unassisted double play to end the top of the inning and prevent any runs from scoring. However, in the top of the fourth an error in left field scored a run for the Keydets with a runner on third, who then scored on a balk.
“Early in the game we had an error that gave them an early lead which kind of puts you down, but no one ever sulked,” sophomore outfielder Davonn Griffin said.” Everyone stayed up beat and on the fence, we all wanted that chance to hit or pitch and strike that person out.”
In the bottom of the fifth, Griffin shot a solo home run over the right field fence to get the Dukes on the board. Trailing from behind, this run gave the Dukes what they needed to begin their rally.
“I wasn’t trying to do too much up there,” Griffin said. “I just tried to get my team amped up, it was kind of slow at the beginning, but I tried to stay within myself and I believe it worked.”
In the top of the sixth, VMI had a runner on third after stealing a base and a wild pitch. The runner then tried to steal home but he was thrown out at the plate by sophomore catcher Kyle Hayes to end the top of the sixth.
The Dukes struggled to get the bats going early in the game. However, freshman outfield/designated hitter, Conor Hartigan, made a play and scored a run off of a ground-ball hit by Morgan in the bottom of the seventh.
Head coach Marlin Ikenberry stressed the frustrations of the amount of players that were walked. JMU walked 10 batters throughout the game.
“We walked too many guys on the mound,” Ikenberry. “But I thought our guys played with a lot of energy today. I was really impressed with the way they competed.”
Griffin hit a triple down the right field line and sophomore first baseman/catcher Harry Brown drew a walk in the bottom of the eighth. A sacrifice bunt by Sisk moves the pinch runner to second with Griffin still on third. Then Griffin scored on of a passed ball to tie the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth.
In the bottom of the ninth, freshman outfielder/left-handed pitcher, Anthony Piccolino, II hit a walk off RBI into left-field to end the game. The Dukes came away from the walk-off 4-3 win.
“The whole day is just a huge team win,” Piccolino II said. “But hitting a walk-off is probably one of the greatest feelings you can have on a baseball field, and I’m just thankful my teammates put me in a situation to do it.”
The Dukes will be back in action this weekend when they play a series at the College of Charleston. The first pitch will be Friday at 6 p.m.
Contact Mandy Bartholomew at email@example.com. For more baseball coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.