07/19/2011 – Turks Tidbits
Written by Nathaniel Stoltz James Madison University Harrisonburg – The Turks improved to 2-1 on their homestand with a victory against the South Division-leading Covington Lumberjacks with a five-run seventh-inning rally that propelled the Turks to a 6-3 win.
Harrisonburg has had a habit this season of starting slow before rallying late, and this was another game that saw the Turks fall behind early. Turks starter Justin Somers struggled with wildness in a two-run Covington first inning, as he walked two batters and threw a wild pitch that allowed a run to score. In fact, the Lumberjacks nearly got a third run on another pitch that got away from catcher Blake Austin, but Austin was able to get to the ball and flip it to Somers in time to tag out the runner trying to score from third.
Harrisonburg immediately cut the lead in half in the bottom of the first, however, as second baseman Sam Dove (Georgia Tech) grounded a single through the middle with one out. Covington pitcher Troy Barton then uncorked a wild pitch of his own that moved Dove to second, and then left fielder Dodson McPherson (Wingate) ripped a single of his own up the middle to score Dove.
Covington had another close call with a possible third run in the top of the third when catcher Nick Hladek attempted to score from second on a single by left fielder Bryan Dorsey, but Turks center fielder Jay Gonzalez (Auburn) made a great one-hop throw to Austin to cut Hladek down and end the inning.
Somers and Barton then traded zeroes for four straight innings until Covington first baseman Oscar Romero drove Dorsey home with a single to center. After another hit, Somers exited the game with a final line of 5 2/3 innings, six hits, three runs, six walks, and four strikeouts.
Barton would be knocked out in the bottom of the inning as well, but his exit came as a result of getting hit in the leg by a Chris Marconcini line drive. His final line was 5 1/3 innings, six hits, one run, two walks, and four strikeouts. Covington reliever Andrew Kirks came into a bases-loaded, one-out situation in relief of Barton in the bottom of the sixth and got Turks designated hitter Brock Green to pop out before Austin hit a hard liner right to Covington center fielder Austin Grisham to end the inning.
Kirks ran into trouble in the next inning, however. He opened the frame by hitting third baseman Casey Goss (JMU) with a pitch, and then walked center fielder Jay Gonzalez (Auburn). Dove followed with a liner to left to score Goss and cut the score to 3-2, and McPherson followed with an RBI single of his own to score Gonzalez, tying the game and chasing Kirks in favor of righthander Alex Adami.
Right fielder Mac Williamson (Wake Forest) worked a full count off Adami before ball four got away from the Lumberjacks’ catcher, allowing Dove to race home with the go-ahead run. A Marconcini grounder then snuck underneath Covington third baseman Sean Hagen’s glove, allowing McPherson to race home from second. Another wild pitch later in the inning allowed Williamson to score and put Harrisonburg up 6-3.
Harrisonburg improved to 27-10 win the win, and Covington fell to 18-17 with the loss. Turks reliever Joe Charest pitched 2 1/3 perfect innings to earn the win in relief and improve to 2-1 on the season. Kirks fell to 0-1 with the less, and Pat Christensen saved his tenth game with a scoreless ninth.