06/03/2011 – Turks Tidbits
Written By Nathaniel Stoltz James Madison University Harrisonburg, VA – The Turks opened their season on a positive note Friday night with a 5-1 win over the New Market Rebels.
The game was defined largely by excellent pitching. The two teams combined for a mere eleven hits – seven for Harrisonburg and four for New Market. Nine of those hits were singles, with the lone extra-base hits being doubles by New Market first baseman John Sgromolo (in the top of the fourth) and Harrisonburg designated hitter Brian Ritz (in the bottom of the eighth, scoring the game’s final run) Turks starting pitcher Eric Meyerchick picked up the win with seven strong innings, allowing just three hits and one earned run. Meyerchick got first-pitch strikes on fifteen of the twenty-six batters he faced, striking out six batters and walking just two. His opponent, New Market starter Cameron Ward, stuck around for six innings but didn’t fare as well, allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits while walking four and striking out three.
While the pitching was the story of the game, both Turks and Rebels pitchers had their sloppy moments. Meyerchick struggled to rein in his moving fastball early in the game, as it tended to run inside on righthanded batters. That led to the righthander hitting Rebels third baseman Jared Sustar with a pitch in the first inning, and several other early Meyerchick pitches ran well inside off the plate. The one New Market run scored on a Meyerchick wild pitch in the top of the fifth inning, and Ward threw three wild pitches of his own, two of which played big parts in Turks runs in the fifth and sixth. Rebels reliever Brantley Hattrich also threw a wild pitch, although the sidearming reliever also struck out five Turks in his two innings of work.
Justin Van Grouw picked up a two-inning save after relieving Meyerchick to start to the eighth. The 6’7″ reliever used his height, electric fastball, and sharp curveball to throw two scoreless innings. Van Grouw struck out three batters, including the final two of the game.
The Turks travel to Woodstock tomorrow night before hosting Luray on Sunday. Hopefully the excellent pitching will keep up as the season rolls on!