Turks Comeback Falls Short, Series Tied 1-1

WAYNESBORO, Va., July 30, 2015 – The Waynesboro Generals beat the Harrisonburg Turks 5-4 at Kate Collins Field on Thursday to even the South division first round playoff series at 1-1. Three Generals relievers combined to throw 2.2 scoreless innings grabbing the win and the save in the process.

The Waynesboro offense started the scoring early on. In the first inning, against Turks starter Kale Morton (Arizona), Chris Cook (East Tennessee State) hit a one out double and was brought home by a single by Clayton Taylor (Nebraska Omaha), 1-0 Generals. It was still 1-0 Generals in the third inning when Cook doubled and Kevin Phillips (East Tennessee State) walked to put runners on first and second with one out. Then Taylor lined a single to right center field scoring Cook from second, then a misplay by the Turks right fielder Jesse Baker (Texas–San Antonio) allowed Phillips to score and Taylor to move to second making the score 3-0 Generals. With the bases loaded and one out in the fifth, Turks starter Kale Morton still in the ballgame. The Generals Jeremy Taylor (East Tennessee State) singled to right to make it 4-0 Generals. The Turks rallied to tie it at 4-4 in the top of the seventh, but in that bottom of the seventh with Phillips at third, Jeremy Taylor executed a successful safety squeeze to allow Phillips to score, giving the Generals 5-4 lead. A score they would eventually win by.

The Generals offense banged out seven hits. Clayton and Jeremy Taylor (no relation) combined to go 3-7 with four RBI in the middle of the Generals batting order.

The Generals pitched adequately as starter Brett Sasse (Nebraska Omaha) pitched six shutout innings before running into trouble in the seventh. His final line 6.1 innings, eight hits, four runs (four earned), one walk and four strikeouts. However the Waynesboro bullpen was outstanding. Jamal Wilson (Jackson State) came in after Sasse, getting two outs in that seventh inning to earn the victory in relief. Then Alexander Mauricio (Norfolk State) came into to pitch 1.1 scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out two. Then Generals head coach DJ King brought in Frankie Romano (Stetson), and the right hander retired the final two hitters, including striking out Turks centerfielder Shane Billings on three pitches to record the save.

The Turks offense was dormant for most of the night until erupting in the seventh. The Turks were down 4-0 headed to the seventh, with Generals starter Brett Sasse still on the mound. The Turks Jared Baker (Oklahoma City) and Jesse Baker led off the inning with back-to back singles. Then with runners on first and third, Kameron Esthay (Baylor) stepped in and hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score Jared Baker cutting the deficit to 4-1. A couple of singles later produced a bases loaded situation, and the Generals brought in Wilson (1-0) to face Shane Billings (Wingate) and Billings scorched a two-run double down the third base line to make it 4-3 Generals. Then Steven Mclean grounded out to second to score the runner from third to tie the game at four. However Wilson was able to strike out Lytle with the go-ahead run at third and two outs to end the inning. The Turks would only muster two hits against the Mauricio and Romano duo at the end of the game as the Generals closed out game two.

The Turks offense outhit the Generals 10-7. Billings, Lytle and Jared Baker each had two hits with Billings contributing two RBI.

The Turks pitching staff struggled tonight as starter Kale Morton could not get past the fifth inning. His line 4.2 innings, six hits, four runs (four earned), four walks and three strikeouts. Reliever Tanner Shelton (Georgia Tech) was also touched up allowing a run in 1.2 innings pitched. Patrick Herbelin (Texas-San Antonio) came in to keep the game close pitching 1.1 scoreless innings.

The Turks host the decisive game three of their first round series with Generals on Friday at Veteran’s Memorial Park first pitch scheduled for 7:30 p.m.