HARRISONBURG, Va—Behind a decisive four-run eighth inning, the Covington Lumberjacks came back to beat the Harrisonburg Turks 8-6 at Veterans Memorial Park on Friday night.
Trailing 6-4 entering the top of the eighth, the top of the Lumberjacks’ order came through in a big way. Four batters after Brandon Vicens (Miami Dade CC) cut the Turks’ lead to 6-5 with an opposite field solo home run, Jose Carrera doubled to left center to tie the game up.
Following a pitching change that saw lefty reliever Eric Yankey (JMU), who picked up the loss, replaced by John McCarren (Wake Forest), Juan Givan (Nicholls State) crushed the first pitch he saw over the fence in right to give Covington the 8-6 lead.
Both starters had their share of troubles in tonight’s game. For the Turks, Corey Childress (Troy) got the start on the mound—his fourth start against the Lumberjacks this season. Whereas he lasted no fewer than seven innings in the first three starts, Childress lasted just five tonight, allowing three runs on seven hits with a walk and three punch-outs in the no decision.
Left-hander Mike Hanchar (Nicholls State) started for Covington and didn’t fare any better than Childress, allowing six runs—five earned—on seven hits with two walks and five strikeouts in five innings. Hanchar also picked up the no decision, while reliever Dolan Kunkel got the win.
The Turks were able to jump on Hanchar early, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first. Following a leadoff triple by Tripp Shelton (UNCG), Jonathan Pryor (Wake Forest) walked to give the Turks runners on the corners. The Turks then executed a double steal to score Shelton and advance Pryor to second. Pryor was able to advance to third base on a Greg Popatak (George Mason) fly out to right, where he later scored on a throwing error by the catcher.
With the Turks leading 2-0, the Lumberjacks got a run back in the top of the third on an RBI single by Givan to score Jose Carrera (Manhattan College). Givan finished 3-for-5 with a home run and a game-high three RBIs.
The Lumberjacks took a 3-2 lead in the top of the fourth inning after Bruce Strickland (Felician College) plated Brandon Vicens with a single, then scored on a single by Lee Lipinsky (Rider University).
The Turks came right back in the bottom of the fifth, scoring four runs with four hits—all singles. Ryne Sigmon (UNCG) scored on a throwing error by second baseman Jose Carrera, who was trying to complete the double play but airmailed the throw over to first, which allowed Trevor Craport (Georgia Tech) to advance to
second. In the ensuing at-bat, Popatak singled up the middle with two outs to score Craport to give the Turks a 4-3 lead.
After Bryan Arias (UTSA) singled to advance Popatak to third, Jason Serchay (UTSA) singled to clear the bases and extend the Turks lead to 6-3.
Game two of the best-of-three series against Covington is July 30 at 7:00 p.m. at Covington. The Turks must win to stay alive.