07/23/2011 – Turks Tidbits
Written by Nathaniel Stoltz James Madison University Intern
After a tough loss Friday night, the Turks got back on track in a big way against the rival New Market Rebels on Saturday with a 10-1 win that kept New Market from clinching a playoff berth.
The Turks got off to a quick start against Rebels ace Cameron Ward, as shortstop R.J. Perucki (UTSA) ripped a triple down the right field line with one out and scored on a groundout by second baseman Sam Dove (Georgia Tech), putting Harrisonburg ahead 1-0 in the opening frame.
The Turks continued to come out swinging against Ward, who entered the game having just allowed eleven earned runs all year, in the second inning. First baseman Brock Green (Ouachita Baptist) led off with a single, advanced to third on a ground-rule double by right fielder Chris Marconcini (Duke), and scored on a single by catcher Blake Austin (Auburn). After designated hitter Brian Ritz (Indiana) was hit by a pitch to load the bases, third baseman Casey Goss (JMU) hit into a double play that allowed Marconcini to cross the plate. Center fielder Jay Gonzalez (Auburn) then grounded a single through the left side to score his college teammate Austin and put Harrisonburg up 4-0.
Harrisonburg kept piling it on in the third, as Perucki and Dove drew walks, advanced on a Green groundout, and scored on a Marconcini single, putting Harrisonburg ahead 6-0. Ward was pulled after the inning, allowing six runs on six hits and two walks in three innings, striking out two.
His replacement, Nick Kendrick, got through the fourth unscathed, but allowed a seventh run in the fifth, as Gonzalez singled, left fielder Dodson McPherson (Wingate) worked a walk, and Green ripped a double to score Gonzalez.
Meanwhile, Turks starting pitcher Aaron Luchterhand (Arkansas Tech) cruised through the early innings, allowing no runs and just three baserunners (all singles) over the first five innings. He let a run come across on a wild pitch in the sixth after Matt Ford doubled and moved to third on a bunt, but by then, the game was out of reach, as the run only made the score 7-1. Luchterhand ended up working seven innings, allowing one run on just four hits and no walks while striking out four.
Luchterhand improved to 3-1 on the season with the win, while Ward fell to 3-3.
The Turks added insurance runs in the eighth when pinch-hitters Matt Wease (Mary Washington) and Eric Mason (St. Joseph’s) lined singles to right before Ritz crushed a Tony Hearell fastball to deep right-center for his first home run of the season, extending the lead to 10-1.
Ritz, Green, Gonzalez, and Marconcini had two hits apiece for Harrisonburg, as the Turks outhit New Market 14-5.
The Turks improved to 4-2 on their eight-game homestand and 29-11 on the season. New Market fell to 22-18. Harrisonburg has now won all five home contests against the Rebels this year. They face another Central Division rival, the Luray Wranglers tomorrow night as the homestand continues.