Express Power Past Turks Late

By Dave Norman
Broadcast Announcer

STRASBURG–The Express staged a ninth-inning rally over the Turks with a powerful walk-off finish to win 7-5 over the Harrisonburg. Righty Alex Carpenter (Florida State) started for Harrisonburg surrendering 3 runs (2 earned) over 3 innings in a no-decision.

The Express capitalized on 4 Turks errors and powered their way to a comeback win.

The Turks took a 1-0 lead in the first when Caleb Walls (Pasco Hernando) reached on an infield single and advanced to 2nd on a throwing error. Austin Embler (UNC-Greensboro) and Zach Little (Wingate) each grounded out, scoring Little.

The Express tied the game in the 3rd on a double and two singles. The Turks immediately regained the lead 2-1 in the 4th as Emblem hit a lead-off double to left and eventually scored on a Luke Nussman (Shenandoah) ground ball.

The Express immediately answered back with two runs on 1 hit and a Turks error, one of 4 costly errors on the night, to take a 3-2 lead in the see-saw affair.

The Turks countered with an opposite-field homerun by Paul Castillo (Eastern Florida), singles by Brycen Braswell ((UNC-Wilmington) and Walls to retake the lead 4-3.

Turks lefty Kevin Mintz (UNC-Wilmington) was busy pitching 3 1/3 innings allowing one run, striking out 6, but a hit batter and throwing error by Mintz set the stage for the unearned run to score and tie things at 4-4. Jake Lane (Florida Tech) entered to pitch a clean 2/3rds of an inning. The bullpens settled things down in the middle innings.

In the 8th, the Turks grabbed the lead again as Little doubled to left, advanced to third base on a wild pitch and trotted home on a double by Nussman.

Cade Bullinger (Midland Jr. College) threw a scoreless inning in the 8th and the Turks took a 5-4 lead to the 9th. Harrisonburg was unable to add to that lead against hard-throwing Express lefty Devin Dunn (1-2).

In the bottom of the 9th, Turks closer Rafe Schindler (2-1)(New Orleans) surrendered a first-pitch HR to Anthony Pecora, deep to right center field. After retiring the next two hitters, a ground ball to shortstop resulted in a high throw to first and the Express were still alive. On a 2-0 count, Kieton Rivers collected his only hit of the night, launching a two-run home run to left center to win the game 7-5.

Paul Castillo paced the Turks offense with two hits, including the home run. Walls had 2 hits as well.

The Turks fall to 11-9. Strasburg improves to 6-13. Harrisonburg is back on the road tomorrow in Staunton to take on the Braves. The next home game is Saturday as the Charlottesville Tom Sox come to Veteran’s Memorial Park. Game time is 7:30.