Friday, April 20, 2018

VMI rolls over Paladins in series opener

After beating two of the best pitchers in the Southern Conference each of the previous two Fridays in Mercer's Robert Broom and Wofford's Adam Scott, Furman couldn't scratch against VMI's Josh Widner Friday in Lexington, Va. Widner fired 7 1/3 shutout innings as the Keydets won 12-1 in the opener of a three-game series.

Widner entered Friday with an ERA of 5.68 this season and opposing batters were hitting .309 against him. But Furman (18-20, 3-7) didn't get its first hit until Landon Kay's one-out double in the fifth. Ben Anderson's one-out double an inning later accounted for the Paladins' lone other hit. Widner (3-4) had three walks and six strikeouts.

Furman starter Nik Verbeke (4-3) matched Widner for the first three innings before VMI got on the board in the fourth. During a stretch of five Keydets batters, four had singles to give VMI a 2-0 lead.

In winning its sixth consecutive game, VMI (20-17, 8-5) turned a tight contest into a blowout in in the sixth. The Keydets sent 14 batters to the plate and nine of them came around to score, highlighted by Peyton Maddox's two-run home run.

Every VMI starter had at least one hit as the Keydets piled up 15. No. 9 batter Callen Nuccio went 3-for-5 to lead the way. VMI played error-free defensively, while Furman committed four errors.

Game two is scheduled for Saturday at 2 p.m.

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