The Citadel drops series opener to VMI

The Citadel drops series opener to VMI
(Source: The Citadel Athletics)

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Citadel tried to mount a later rally, but it was VMI that scored late to hand the Bulldogs a 9-5 loss in the Southern Conference opener Friday night at Joe Riley Park.

Game Information

Score: VMI 9, The Citadel 5

Records: VMI (5-16, 1-0 SoCon), The Citadel (7-15, 0-1 SoCon)

Series: VMI leads 1-0

Location: Charleston, South Carolina (Riley Park)

Key Plays

  • The Keydets took advantage of six walks in the final three innings to score five runs.

How it Happened

  • The Keydets jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the third when Josh Hollifield singled to center to score two runs.
  • VMI added two more runs in the fourth on a RBI double from Cody Warner and a run-scoring single from Callen Nuccio.
  • The Bulldogs came back with three runs in the fifth inning as Ryan McCarthy started the inning with a single up the middle. After a one-out walk to Will Bastian, Tile Skole delivered a RBI double into the left-field corner.
  • Lane Botkin drove in Bastian with a sacrifice fly and J.D. Davis came through with a RBI single to right center.
  • A one-out walk in the seventh helped VMI push the lead to two as Hollifield delivered a sacrifice fly to right.
  • VMI added two more runs in the eighth on a Ryan Hatten two-run homer.
  • The Citadel answered back in the bottom of the inning as Jeffery Brown beat out an infield single and moved to second on a fielding error.
  • McCarthy drove in a run with a single to left center, and when the throw rolled towards the VMI dugout, Tyler Corbitt hustled home to slide under the tag.
  • The Keydets added some insurance in the ninth with two more runs for the final margin.

Inside the Box Score

  • Jordan Merritt (2-4) took the loss after allowing four runs on seven hits and six strikeouts over six innings.
  • Jacob Menders (2-1) allowed five runs, three earned, on seven hits and five strikeouts to earn the complete-game victory.
  • Ryan McCarthy went 2-for-4 and drove in a run.
  • The bottom three hitters in the lineup, Tilo Skole, Lane Botkin and J.D. Davis, each collected a hit and drove in a run.

On Deck

The two teams return to action Saturday afternoon. First pitch from Riley Park is set for 2 p.m.

Postgame Quotes

Head Coach Tony Skole

“It was a tough night. All the credit in the world goes to VMI and Jacob Menders. Their hitters came out swinging and got a lead on us. The young man pitched a great game and we just couldn’t get anything going against him.

“I am extremely disappointed in our performance tonight. We don’t have a lot of toughness in our dugout right now and that falls on me and I have to take responsibility for that. We are just not playing clean baseball right now. When you do that, you can’t expect to win.”