HAWK OFFENSE STRUGGLES AS UMES IS SHUT OUT BY VMI, 21-0
March 10, 2007
LEXINGTON, Va. - VMI Sophomore Michael Bowman faced only one batter over the minimum in seven innings and got all the offensive help he could dream of as VMI took game two of the weekend series by a 21-0 count against Maryland-Eastern Shore on Saturday afternoon at Gray-Minor Stadium. The Keydets' sixth straight win improves the team's overall record to 11-3, while the Hawks fall to 2-12 on the season.
Bowman surrendered only a one-out single through the right-side of the infield in the fifth inning to Kevin Hillenburg, as the right-hander struck out seven to improve to 3-0 on the season. His team-leading ERA now stands at 1.32, as he has allowed only four earned runs in 27.1 innings, striking out 30 while walking only six, as opponents are hitting a meager .188 against him. Freshman Josh McPherson loaded the bases before escaping harm in the eighth inning, while redshirt freshman Daniel Wood worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning to preserve the team's first shutout since May 13, 2006 against North Carolina A&T.
Meanwhile, the Keydet offense collected their highest run output in over a year, matching the 21 runs they put up on Feb. 17, 2006 against Coppin State. On this day, the Keydets took advantage of five errors, nine walks and four hit batters while pounding out a season-best 16 hits. No Keydet had more than two hits on the day, as 20 players saw the field for Coach Marlin Ikenberry's troops. Thomas Hayden's 2-for-3 performance drove in team-best three RBI, with a double and a home run doing the damage.
"Early on, I thought our guys were tentative early in the count and their left-hander (Mike Roberts) kept spinning breaking balls in advantage counts," said Ikenberry. "In the fourth inning, we put some pressure on their defense and took advantage when they threw the ball down the line and scored two runs. All of a sudden, we turned it loose. We've been playing good offense. Most of the games we've been playing have been fairly close. It was good to get some guys some work and get a lot of guys in there that haven't been in there traditionally. I was really impressed - our young guys came off the bench and really swung the bats well and really got after it. I can't speak highly enough of our pitching staff. Michael Bowman just dominated today. He has a dominating pitch with the slider but he really pitched to contact today and we played defense behind him, which is good to see. McPherson got his second appearance and D-Wood recording the first inning of his career. Those are the games where you want to see guys get work in and challenge our team to see how far in-depth we are with our players. It was a good all around effort by us and I was proud of how hard we played all game long."
Roberts (0-4) took the loss for the visitors as he ran into trouble in the middle innings. After retiring nine of the first ten batters that he faced, he led off the fourth inning by hitting Thane Smith and A.J. Yoder. Two batters later, Roberts could not pick up Hayden's infield chopper in time to throw out the designated hitter, then threw the ball down the rightfield-line, allowing both runners to score unearned runs.
The Keydets took command of the game in the fifth, sending 11 batters to the plate, collecting six runs. Smith's two-run triple advanced the score to 4-0, before Eddie Van Es plated a run with his sacrifice fly to centerfield. Hayden's double down the rightfield-line plated another, while Jacoby Fields' two-run two-bagger to the left-centerfield gap chased Roberts from the game trailing 8-0. On the afternoon, the sophomore lefty threw 4.2 innings, allowing six earned runs on five hits, hitting three batters while walking three. He gave way to Michael Willey, who escaped the inning without further damage.
It was more of the same in the sixth, as the Keydets tacked on two runs on throwing errors early in the inning before a centerfield blast by Hayden plated two more. That home run, Hayden's first career four-bagger, advanced the score to 12-0 through six innings.
Coach Ikenberry made wholesale changes from there, as eight new position players entered the game in the seventh inning. Each of those eight reached base over the final two innings, as the youngsters tacked on six runs in the eighth and three in the ninth. Highlights included Jordan Ballard, Brian Sandridge and Robert Lamas each collecting their first career hits, while Justin Hess collected his first extra-base hits with an eighth-inning triple and a ninth-inning double, as the freshman went 2-for-2 with two runs scored and two RBI while playing only two-and-a-half innings.
The Keydets and Hawks go at it again on Sunday afternoon as first pitch is slated for 1 p.m. at Gray-Minor Stadium.
The above release appears compliments of VMI's Media Relations Office.