Will Malbon busts out of slump, drives in winning runs to upset No. 9 Virginia


CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Will Malbon singled home the tying and go-ahead runs in the top of the seventh inning, had a crucial outfield assist in the bottom half and VMI held on to defeat No. 9 Virginia 7-6. The win marked the first time VMI had beaten UVA in back to back games since the Keydets downed the Cavaliers in both 1958 and 1960.

With the Keydets (7-15) down 6-5 entering the seventh, Will Connerley was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Jacob Jaye followed with a single and a sacrifice bunt moved up both runners. Malbon, who entered the contest just 3 for his last 23, singled to center to score both runners and give VMI the lead for good.

The drama was not complete, however, as Virginia (19-9) threatened in the bottom half of the inning. Robbie Coman led off with a walk and Ernie Clement had a bunt single. Kevin Doherty followed with a fly out to center field, and Coman, who was trying to advance to third on the play, was gunned down by Malbon for the second out.

That would not be the home team’s last threat, as the Cavaliers put the tying and winning runs in scoring position with one out in the ninth against Taylor Edens. The right-hander struck out Coman, however, and after hitting Clement to load the bases, forced Doherty to fly out to center field to end the game.

Edens picked up his second consecutive save against UVA, and his fourth this season, by firing 2 1/3 scoreless innings to close out the game. The winning pitcher was Kyle Staats (1-1), the fourth of six Keydet hurlers, who allowed one hit in 2/3 of an inning, and Riley Cummins (0-1) took the loss for the home team as both batters he faced in the seventh inning scored.

As mentioned, the win marks the first time since 1958-1960 that the Keydets have won back to back games against Virginia. It also marks just the sixth multi-game win streak for VMI in a series that dates back to 1889.

Scott Harrigan
Your #1 source for community and amateur sports related news on Vancouver Island, British Columbia and beyond! Send stories to scottharriganisn@gmail.com