7/28/2007 – Daily News Record
Tolliver Strong In 7-3 Victory WINCHESTER — Ashur Tolliver got going with his legs, and then he did what he usually does after the first couple of innings. He got going in a serious way with his arm. The Harrisonburg pitcher allowed just two runs on six hits – one of which came on three hits in the seventh inning – struck out nine batters, and walked none in a masterful performance Friday night at Bridgeforth Field, leading the Turks to a 7-3 Valley Baseball League victory over Winchester. Tolliver certainly had plenty of help. David Dennis went 3-for-4 with two runs, two doubles, and a two-run home run that put Harrisonburg up 4-1 in the third. Garrett Parker extended his streak of scoreless innings to 18 pitching 1 2/3 innings for the save. He preserved a 4-3 lead in the eighth by getting league batting and slugging leader Luke Greinke to hit into an inning-ending double play with runners on first and second. The Turks (28-14) have already clinched a second-place regular-season finish heading into next week’s VBL playoffs. Despite the loss, Winchester (23-19) remained in fourth by itself heading into the regular season’s final weekend because of Staunton’s 4-3 loss to Front Royal Friday. The Braves are 22-20. Tolliver (4-0) struggled in the second, giving up back-to-back singles and forcing in a run with a wild pitch to cut Harrisonburg’s lead to 2-1 before he had had recorded an out. But back-to-back pop-ups — the second one recorded after he made an impressive sprint to nab it just in front of the Harrisonburg dugout steps — and a strikeout got Tolliver on a roll that didn’t stop until the seventh. Tolliver retired 15 in a row from the second through sixth innings, but even though it was the league’s top-hitting team he was shutting down, he said the thing that stood out the most was yet another two-run performance. "It seems like every outing, I give up two runs," Tolliver said. "It’s never three runs, it’s never one. Always two." Tolliver said it’s usually the second or third inning when he gets going, a trend which couldn’t have served him better for Friday. "Usually after the second or third, I kick it into another gear and cruise until the sixth or seventh," Tolliver said. Harrisonburg manager Bob Wease said he’d take Tolliver in any inning. "He battles all the time," Wease said. "If you notice how fast he [works], he just wants the ball and wants to throw it again. He’s a pretty good pitcher. In fact, he’s one of the better pitchers in the league." Harrisonburg was also led by Brett Stewart (3-for-5 with a run and RBI), Andrew Franco (2-for-3 with an RBI), and Ryan Wood (2-for-4).