After Campbell (32-9, 9-5 Big South) had taken a 2-1 lead in the top of the eighth, George Piccirilli led off the VMI (12-26, 5-12) half with a single to right. Morley then worked the count full and drilled a 3-2 pitch over the center field wall, his second home run of the day and ninth of the year, giving the Keydets a one-run lead. John Garrett then pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to secure the 3-2 victory.
Garrett (1-2) earned the win, as after surrendering the tie in the eighth, he was charged with one run over two innings. He struck out four of the six batters he retired. Reliever Matt Marksberry (4-2) took the loss for CU, as he was charged with the two runs that scored on the Morley long ball.
“I was really proud of the way we competed in both games tonight,” said VMI head coach Marlin Ikenberry. “Going to class all day and then coming out and playing 18 innings of baseball isn't easy, and we did a good job. In game two, I was happy with the way Jeremy Brown battled and competed on the mound. He did exactly what we needed, and got us deep into the game. It was good to see Adam Lopez get an inning after missing almost a month, and I was very pleased with our two seniors, George Piccirilli and Jacob Morley, getting the big hits in the eighth inning. John Garrett then did exactly what he needed to do in the ninth, and we secured the win.”
The Keydets drew first blood in game two, much as they did in game one. After Brown set Campbell down in order in the first, Rob Dickinson launched a solo home run to right center to open the VMI first and put the Keydets up, 1-0.
Brown then pitched around a CU threat in the third, striking out the side after the first two hitters had singled, and VMI maintained its 1-0 cushion. Drew Bryan singled to start the Keydet third, but was left stranded at second, and the Camels would tie the game in the fifth.
Bryan Grady led off the inning with an inside-out single to right, and advanced to third after two infield outs. Brown threw three straight balls to start off the next hitter, Jimmy Brenneman, but battled back to work the count full. On the seventh pitch of the at-bat, Brenneman looped a single to left-center, scoring Grady and tying the game, 1-1.
In each of the next two innings, the Keydets left a runner stranded at second base, and Lopez relieved Brown to start the Campbell seventh. Blake Boyce greeted him with a single, and moved up on a sacrifice bunt. Brenneman struck out for the second out, and after a walk, CU pulled off a double steal to put two men in scoring position. Lopez escaped, however, getting Michael Felton to fly to right to end the inning.
Garrett then came in for the eighth, and with one out, David Olson pulled a fastball over the left field wall for a go-ahead home run, putting the Camels up, 2-1. CU then got a runner to third base with only one out, looking for an insurance run, but Garrett struck out Grady and Michael DeLucia to end the inning. Those strikeouts would prove to be huge, as they set the stage for Morley’s go-ahead home run.
Neither starter figured in the decision, as Brown was charged with one run over six innings, striking out six and walking just one. Over his last two outings, Brown has allowed just two earned runs in 13 innings, striking out 14 and walking only two. Frank Zier gave up one run in six innings for Campbell.
Dickinson and Morley each hit two home runs during the doubleheader, including one apiece in the finale, while Bryan was the lone Keydet with a pair of hits in game two. Three Camel hitters had two hits apiece for the visitors.
VMI and Campbell will conclude their series at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Gray-Minor Stadium.