07/02/2011 – Turks Tidbits
Written by Nathaniel Stoltz James Madison University Harrisonburg – In a battle of division leaders, the Turks came through with a resounding 8-2 victory over the Front Royal Cardinals on a beautiful Saturday night.
Starting pitcher Eric Meyerchick kept the Cardinals hitters at bay all night, working eight solid innings and allowing just two runs, one earned. Meyerchick (St. Joseph’s) struck out six batters while walking just two. He improved to 5-0 on the season.
Meyerchick’s opponent on the hill, Front Royal starter George Fernandez, didn’t fare nearly as well. He let the Turks on the board quickly, walking center fielder Jay Gonzalez (Auburn) to open the bottom of the first. Gonzalez promptly stole second and scored on a single from second baseman Sam Dove (Georgia Tech).
Front Royal pushed across an unearned run in the third, but the top of the Turks lineup struck again in the bottom of the inning. Gonzalez laid down a perfect bunt for an infield hit to open the inning, and Dove ripped a double to right. Left fielder Dodson McPherson (Wingate) drew a walk, loading the bases for star slugger Mac Williamson (Wake Forest) with nobody out. Fernandez ran the count to 3-1 on Williamson, and, not wanting to walk in a run, he threw a fastball right in the designated hitter’s wheelhouse. Williamson promptly launched it over the left-center field wall for a grand slam to put the Turks up 5-1, and they wouldn’t look back.
In fact, Harrisonburg would get another run the very next inning. Catcher Eric Mason (St. Joseph’s) led off with a double to right, and he moved to third base on another beautiful bunt single, this one from third baseman Casey Goss (JMU). A walk to Gonzalez loaded the bases with nobody out for the second straight inning, ending Fernandez’s outing. Cardinals reliever Matt Young got Dove to hit into a double play, but Mason scored on the play to make it 6-1.
Leading 6-2 in the seventh, the Turks got insurance runs when the first four hitters of the lineup again consecutively got on base. Gonzalez walked to lead off the inning, and consecutive singles by Dove, McPherson, and Williamson pushed across another pair of runs against reliever Mike Kraft.
Needless to say, it’s those first four hitters (along with Meyerchick of course) who headlined the game. Gonzalez was on base four times, via three walks and the bunt single, and also had a steal. Dove had three hits, McPherson had two hits and a walk, and Williamson had a single and the big grand slam.
Reliever Joseph Charest (Fordham) continued his excellent pitching with a scoreless ninth inning, allowing one hit and striking out one batter.
The win pushed Harrisonburg to a Valley League-leading 20-6, and dropped Front Royal to 15-11, half a game ahead of Winchester in the North Division. The Turks still have just one loss all season at Veterans Memorial Park (and even that came in 12 innings!), where they’ll host New Market tomorrow night. It will be the Rebels’ fourth trip to Harrisonburg this season. Righthander Julio Felix (Pima CC) will get the ball for Harrisonburg tomorrow night as he looks to follow up a complete-game shutout in his last outing.