07/30/2011 – Turks Tidbits
Turks Win In The 9th, 4-3
Written by Nathaniel Stoltz James Madison University Intern
Harrisonburg – The Turks had a dramatic late-inning comeback against the Front Royal Cardinals to win 4-3 in their first playoff game in a best-of-three series and improve to 33-12 overall.
After the teams traded zeroes for the first two frames, the Cardinals jumped out to a lead in the top of the third on back-to-back RBI doubles by Matt Hendricksen and Ben Thoma. A sacrifice fly by Nick Beall pushed across a third run for Front Royal.
The Cardinals nearly got an extra run in the sixth, but the Turks made two fantastic defensive plays to end the inning. With a runner on first and one out, Tyler Wagner hit a double to left, but Turks left fielder Dodson McPherson (Wingate) made a great throw to shortstop R.J. Perucki (UTSA), who then relayed the ball to catcher Blake Austin (Auburn) just in time to nail the runner trying to score. During the next at-bat, Austin fired the ball to Perucki to pick off Wagner and end the inning.
Apart from his rough third inning, Turks starting pitcher Eric Meyerchick (St. Joseph’s) had a great outing, working six innings, allowing just those three runs. He allowed eight hits and two walks in the game, striking out three.
In the seventh inning, the Turks finally got to Front Royal starter Jonathan Armold. Right fielder Chris Marconcini (Duke) led off the inning with a double off the top of the wall in right center, and Austin got him to third on a single. With one out, third baseman Casey Goss (JMU) ripped a ball into right center field that got past the center fielder. By the time the ball was thrown back into the infield, Marconcini and Austin had crossed the plate and Goss was at third with a triple, just his second extra-base hit of the year. Center fielder Jay Gonzalez (Auburn) then grounded a single up the middle past a drawn-in Front Royal infield, scoring Goss to tie the game at three.
Armold worked seven innings, allowing three runs on six hits and a walk while striking out seven.
Reliever Joe Charest came in for Meyerchick in the seventh, and threw three fantastic innings, striking out four batters in a row at one point. He struck out six batters overall.
Facing sidearming reliever Kyle Scallion in the ninth, Austin worked a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a balk. A single from designated hitter Eric Mason (St. Joseph’s) moved Austin to third and chased Scallion in favor of lefty Collin McGowan, who intentionally walked Goss to load the bases for Gonzalez with nobody out. On the first pitch, he ripped the ball over the third baseman’s head to score Austin with a walkoff single.
Charest got the win in the game to improve to 3-2, while Scallion to fall to 2-3.
The Turks will try to win the series tomorrow night at Front Royal. If necessary, Game 3 will be in Harrisonburg on Monday. If the Turks win the series, they will host the first game of the second round.