LEXINGTON, Va. -- Reed Garrett pitched the first regular season no-hitter in Gray-Minor Stadium history and struck out 13 Lafayette Leopards to propel his VMI Keydets to a 3-0 victory in non-conference baseball action Friday night in Lexington. Garrett allowed only one baserunner, a fifth-inning walk to Lafayette first baseman Campbell Lipe, and had the most strikeouts by a VMI pitcher in nearly eight years.
The Keydets (2-2) got a run in the first and two more in the fourth, but the story of the night was Garrett.
He retired the first 13 hitters as VMI jumped out to its 3-0 lead, throwing no more than five pitches to any of those players. He then started Lipe with three balls before working the count full and eventually walking Lipe, a play that would prove to be Lafayette’s only baserunner of the night.
Garrett then struck out nine of the final 14 hitters, including five of the final six, to close out the first no-hitter at VMI’s home facility since a Big South Tournament effort by former Coastal Carolina right-hander Anthony Meo in 2011. In ringing up 13 punchouts, he posted the highest strikeout total by a Keydet hurler since May 17, 2006, when current Oakland A’s minor leaguer Trey Barham whiffed 12 batters.
On this night, the junior right-hander threw 117 pitches, 84 for strikes, and went to just three three-ball counts all night. Lafayette hit just four balls out of the infield during the dominating performance.
The Keydets jumped ahead early for Garrett, as Jordan Tarsovich led off the Keydet first with a single. He moved to third on two wild pitches, and one batter later, Red Dowdell drove him home with a groundout to make it 1-0 VMI.
Garrett, meanwhile, cruised through the first eight hitters before ninth-place hitter Nick Murray laid a bunt down the third base line. David Geary charged, fielded and threw in time to get Murray by multiple steps, on a play that would be the closest LC would come to a hit all night. VMI then added on in the fourth. Cameron Walter walked with two out and Sheldon Shifflett followed with an infield hit. Tarsovich then laced a double down the right field line, scoring both runners and pushing the Keydet lead to 3-0.
That would be all Garrett would need, as after the fifth inning walk, he struck out the final two hitters of the inning to get through five frames unscathed. Two groundouts were in the line for the sixth, and an Andrew Santomauro bunt down the first base line in the seventh provided the last Lafayette threat, as Garrett bounced off the mound and somewhat awkwardly flipped to first baseman Walter covering.
The Leopards put the ball in play only twice the rest of the game, doing so on two fly balls to right fielder Will Connerley.
After a long bottom of the eighth, Garrett emerged and struck out Brett Thompson on three pitches. He then fell behind pinch-hitter Zach Gross before striking him out as well, and he fanned Andrew Landolfi on a 1-2 slider away to set off the celebration.
"The story of the night was Reed Garrett," VMI head coach Marlin Ikenberry said. "It takes a lot of things to throw a no-hitter -- Reed, Matt Winn and Coach Beazley were all ont he same page tonight. What a special night here for the home opener. Give a lot of credit to Lafayette's two lefties, they did a good job. They threw strikes and pitched well. It was a big hit by Jordan Tarsovich in the fourth to give us the three-run lead. Offensively, I thought our guys had great at-bats, you just tip your hat to their guys, making good pitches when they had to. Bottom line - Reed Garrett was special tonight."