06/05/2011 – Turks Tidbits
Written By Nathaniel Stoltz James Madison University Harrisonburg, VA – Left fielder Dodson McPherson’s two-homer outburst fueled a dramatic Turks rally as Harrisonburg defeated Luray 10-8 Sunday night to stay unbeaten at 3-0. McPherson, the reigning NCBWA Player of the Year, and a Tino Martinez Award finalist, is now 8-for-13 with the Turks after hitting .400 with 17 home runs for Wingate University in his junior season. He also singled in tonight’s game as part of his 3-for-5, 5 RBI effort.
The Turks fell behind early, as starting pitcher Justin Somers battled his control and exited with one out in the third inning after walking five batters. Somers allowed four runs, but incredibly, all seven of his outs were strikeouts. Somers was also victimized by two double-steals by the opposing Wranglers, one of which resulted in a run on a double-steal of second and home.
Somers’ opponent was Luray righthander Kevin Chandler. Like Somers, Chandler allowed single runs in his first two innings; however, those were the only runs he’d allow all night. Nevertheless, Chandler was lifted after the fourth inning in favor of lefty John Dechamps.
Dechamps’ big overhand curveball baffled the Harrisonburg lineup (which included seven lefthanded batters) in his first two innings. Meanwhile, the Wranglers continued to widen their lead, as Luray first baseman Orlando Oliveva turned around a curveball from Turks reliever Ryan Chapman and belted it over the left-center field wall to give the Wranglers a 5-2 lead in the fifth.
More trouble came in the top of the seventh, as Turks reliever Dominic Sgroi allowed three more Luray runs to come across the plate, with the big blow a two-run double by Luray designated hitter Lazaro Torres.
But with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, the Turks offense finally hung in against Dechamps’ impressive array of pitches. Center fielder Colby Roberts dribbled a single between the Wranglers’ second baseman and shortstop, and shortstop Casey Goss followed with a line drive to right field before McPherson crushed a Dechamps fastball over the right-center field fence. Right fielder Chris Marconcini and first baseman Brock Green followed with consecutive doubles over the heads of the Wrangler outfielders, and just like that, the seemingly insurmountable 8-2 lead was 8-6.
After ace Turks reliever Pat Christensen mowed down the Wranglers in the top of the eighth, Luray sent righthander Jake Dyer to the mound, who found the going just as rough as his predecessor. Pinch-hitter Jay Gonzalez led off with a walk, and after Dyer struck out third baseman J.J. Loker, a walk to second baseman Robert Perucky put the tying run on base.
Despite the fact that Perucky was the only right-handed batter in the Turks lineup at that point and that the Wranglers had lefthander Taylor Fulk warming up in the bullpen throughout the inning, Luray Coach Mike Bocock elected to stick with the right-handed Dyer against the Turks’ barrage of lefties – a decision that would prove costly. Roberts lined a single to right field to score Gonzalez and send Perucky to third to make it 8-7, and Goss followed with a bouncer up the middle that the Wranglers could only convert into an out at second, scoring Perucky.
Even with the two runs already in and the potent lefty bat of McPherson stepping up, the Wranglers coach allowed Dyer to face the Turks slugger, who promptly lined an inside fastball just over the right field wall into the Wranglers bullpen.
The Wranglers threatened off of Christensen in the ninth, putting runners on first and third with two outs, but Luray catcher Devin Snow was caught stealing to end the game.
Christensen picked up the win, and Dyer took the loss in the game. The Turks remain undefeated at 3-0, while the Wranglers dropped to 0-3 on the season.
The Valley League has the day off on Monday. The Turks will travel back to Woodstock on Tuesday and then return home on Wednesday, June 8th to face the New Market Rebels. Come out and support your Harrisonburg Turks!