Written By Daniel Ware
Turks Staff Writer
HARRISONBURG, Va– The Harrisonburg Turks fought back against the Purcellville Cannons to win 7-5 at Veterans Memorial Park on Tuesday night.
Trailing 4-3 entering the seventh, the Turks (10-5) scored four runs to take the lead for good. Jake Kusz (UNCG), in his Turks debut, drove in Greg Popatak (George Mason) with a single to center field to tie the game. One batter later, Jason Serchay (UTSA) singled to center, prompting the Cannons to take out their starter, right-hander Brandon Caples (Fairmont State).
Caples has been the Cannons’ best pitcher so far this season (1-1 with a 1.69 ERA in two starts) and pitched eight innings off one-run ball in his last start on June 14 against the Strasburg Express.
Tonight, during a stretch from the first inning to the fifth inning, Caples retired 11 Turks batters in a row before giving up a single to Serchay. Caples fell to 1-2 on the season and went 6.1 innings allowing six runs on seven hits with one walk and two strikeouts.
Right-hander Andrew Green (Maryland) came on in relief of Caples with two on and one out, and walked pinch-hitter Ryne Sigmon to load the bases. The next batter, Tripp Shelton, hit a two-run double to make the score 6-4. After striking out Bryan Arias (UTSA) Green plunked outfielder Jonathan Pryor (Wake Forest) to load the bases again. Green walked in a run to make it 7-4 before being relieved by left-hander Daniel Gooden (Emmanuel College).
The bottom of the seventh alone featured three pitchers, two pinch-hitters, three walks and ten batters.
Donte Lindsay (Bethune-Cookman) had an interesting start for the Turks. The lefty allowed four runs on 13 hits, and gave up three home runs—two to Cannons no. 9 hitter Eriq White (Alabama State), who entered the night hitting .148 with zero home runs.
White’s second solo home run to left in the seventh inning gave the Cannons a 4-3 lead, while his first in the third inning put the Cannons on the board. Lindsay was able to limit the damage done when he had guys on base, however, as the Cannons stranded nine runs in the game.
Lindsay picked up his first win of the season (1-0) and has a 3.00 ERA in 12 innings pitched.
JMU left-hander Eric Yankey came on to pitch to begin the eighth inning and got the six-out save, but not before allowing the Cannons to score a run to make it 7-5 in the ninth inning.
The Turks were able to get things going early in the game with a three-run first inning that was punctuated by a two-run by Popatak, his second home run in as many games. After a 1-2, two-RBI night, he’s batting .423 with three homers and eight RBIs this season.
Arias broke out of an 0-11 slump coming into tonight and went 2-4 with a single and a run scored in the first inning. With his home run tonight, Popatak has had at least one hit in 14 of 15 games to start the season, with six multi-hit games.
The Turks are on the road at Staunton and Woodstock on Wednesday and Thursday night before returning home to face the division leading Waynesboro Generals (12-3) at 7:30 on Friday night.