Volpicelli, McKoon highlight W&L's doubleheader sweep of Lynchburg

Jason Volpicelli

LEXINGTON, Va. – Six hits from sophomore third baseman Jason Volpicelli (Great Falls, Va./Paul VI Catholic), as well as strong pitching performances, led the Washington and Lee baseball team to a doubleheader sweep of Lynchburg, 7-5 and 12-2, on Sunday.

After first-year catcher Luke Czepiel (Devon, Pa./Conestoga) reached on a fielder's choice in the bottom of the second of game one, junior right fielder Ryan Monson (Frisco, Texas/Wakeland) singled to center and moved up a base on a fielding error, allowing Czepiel to advance to third. Junior designated hitter Bryce Burnette (Hurt, Va./Gretna) then grounded into a fielder's choice, eliminating Czepiel from the base paths, before sophomore center fielder Matt Whitely (Salem, Va./Hidden Valley) lined a pitch up the middle to bring Monson in to score for the game's first run.

With two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Burnette drew a walk after a lengthy at-bat and moved up to second base when Whitely was hit by the first pitch he saw. First-year second baseman Jackson Gazin (Reisterstown, Md./The Boy's Latin School of Md.) then kept the inning alive with a line-drive single to right field to score Burnette and put W&L up 2-0.

A pair of singles to begin the top of the fifth inning, along with a wild pitch and stolen base, put runners on second and third with no outs for the Hornets. W&L junior starting pitcher Carson McKoon (Chattanooga, Tenn./McCallie School) held his ground and struck out the next three batters, however, to get out of the inning and keep Lynchburg (4-7, 0-2 ODAC) off the board.

The Generals (8-6, 2-2 ODAC) tacked on another run in the bottom of the fifth to lead 3-0 when Volpicelli launched his second home run of the season over the left-field fence.

Senior shortstop Chadwick Feeley (Jacksonville, Fla./Episcopal School) led off the bottom of the seventh with a single to left and raced around to third when senior left fielder Matthew Jones (Henrico, Va./Mills E. Godwin) singled to right center. Volpicelli then added to his RBI total when he looped a pitch down the left-field line, landing fair by inches, to bring Feeley across home plate.

Senior first baseman Zach Loewenberg (Baltimore, Md./Friends School of Baltimore) followed with a bunt single down the third base line to load the bases with no outs, before sophomore catcher Jack Giardino (Charlotte, N.C./Providence Day School) hit a sacrifice fly to center field, bringing Jones in from third, to put W&L up 5-0. 

Two batters later, Burnette lined a pitch through the right side to bring Volpicelli in to score. On the play, the first Hornets' first baseman threw to third attempting to get Loewenberg out, but the ball sailed wide and allowed Loewenberg to score, giving the Generals a 7-0 lead.

The Hornets started a rally in the top of the eighth by loading the bases with one out. Their first run of the game came across when McKoon hit sophomore second baseman Parker Shaffer with a pitch, ending McKoon's day at 7.1 innings. Sophomore reliever Chase Fleming (Pennington, N.J./Princeton Day School) entered the game and limited the damage in the inning to a sac fly from senior right fielder Kinston Carson, before striking out first-year third baseman Garrett Jackson to end the threat.

Fleming got the first two hitters of the top of the ninth out, but ran into trouble when first-year catcher Holden Fiedler walked and junior designated hitter Tanner Cummins doubled. First-year center fielder Carrson Atkins followed with a double down the left-field line, scoring Fiedler, before Cummins scored on a wild pitch during the next at-bat.

The final Lynchburg run came in to score on an RBI single from Shaffer, before W&L senior reliever Kevin McHugh (Forest Hill, Md./McDonogh School) got Carson to pop out to short to end the game.

The Hornets struck first in game two on an RBI double down the left-field line from sophomore first baseman Austin Combs, followed by a bases loaded walk to first-year shortstop Brian Sheeder in the top of the first.

With one out in the bottom of the first, Jones walked and advanced to second on an infield single to short from Volpicelli. Loewenberg followed with a deep drive to center field that landed at the base of the wall, allowing Jones to score the first W&L run.

In the second inning, Whitely reached and then advanced to second on a throwing error by the shortstop. After Gazin walked, Feeley singled to shortstop, but a fielding error by the shortstop allowed Whitely, who moved to third on the single, to score on the play and tie the game.

The Generals took the final lead of the game in the bottom of the fourth when they loaded the bases on a walk and two batters hit by a pitch. A balk forced a run in and left runners on second and third for Volpicelli, who blasted a two-run double into left center field to put W&L up 5-2.

In the bottom of the sixth, Jones led off with a single behind the second base bag and then went around to third on a single through the right side from Volpicelli. After a pitching change for the Hornets, Loewenberg lifted a fly ball into deep right field for a sacrifice fly, allowing Jones to score and give the Generals a 6-2 advantage.

The final runs of the game came across in the bottom of the eighth inning on another RBI knock from Volpicelli, a three-run double to right from Giardino, a run-scoring triple to center by Whitely and an RBI infield single off the bat of Gazin.

Volpicelli paced the W&L offense on the day with six hits between the two games, including four in game two. He totaled a double, his second home run of the season, five RBI and scored three times, while Jones and Feeley had two hits in both games. Jones finished the day 4-for-9 at the plate with a walk, four runs and a stolen base and Feeley went 4-for-10 and scored two runs.

McKoon (3-1) earned the win in game one after allowing just two earned runs in 7.1 innings on four hits with two walks and a career-high nine strikeouts. He retired each of the first 10 batters of the game and faced the minimum 12 batters through four innings.

Fleming finished game one with 1.1 innings of work and gave up three runs on two hits, before McHugh took over and nailed down his first career save.

Junior Tom Kellogg (San Antonio, Texas/Saint Mary's Hall) got a no decision as the starting pitcher of game two after lasting just 1.2 innings and surrendering two runs on four hits with five walks. Junior reliever Chris Cotton (Charlotte, N.C./Covenant Day School) got the Generals out of the second inning, before senior Danny Devereux (Mount Prospect, Ill./Prospect) (1-0) covered the next 5.0 innings to earn the win. Sophomore reliever Nate Cohen (Atlanta, Ga./North Springs) pitched the final two innings and did not allow a baserunner while striking out four batters, including three in the ninth.

In all, the W&L bullpen combined for 7.1 scoreless innings in game two and allowed just three hits with eight strikeouts.

Combs tallied three hits across the two games for the Hornets with a double and an RBI. Atkins produced a 2-for-4 effort in game one, scoring twice and driving in another.

Junior starter Hunter Campbell (0-3) took the loss in game one after allowing three runs in six innings of work on six hits with one walk and five strikeouts. Sophomore Michael Reiskind followed Campbell, but failed to record an out. Before being relieved, Reiskind allowed three runs (two earned) on three hits. The Hornets used three pitchers to cover the final two innings, as the trio gave up one unearned run on three hits.

First-year Brandon Pond got the start in game two for the Hornets and went three innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits with three walks. Sophomore reliever Grayson Thurman (0-2) took the loss after surrendering three runs in the fourth, before the next three pitchers combined for two innings and one run allowed.

The Generals did a majority of their damage against Carson in the bottom of the eighth, tagging the senior for five runs on four hits with a walk in his 1.2 innings on the mound. Junior Noah Winslow got the final out of the eighth, but not before giving up one run on three hits and a walk.

W&L will return to the diamond on Wednesday when Eastern Mennonite comes to Cap'n Dick Smith Field for a 4:00 pm ODAC showdown.

-- www.generalssports.com--