Turks Trust Eden

06/17/2009 – Daily News Record

Written By Dustin Dopirak Daily News Record Sports Desk HARRISONBURG – Even Ryan Eden figured Bob Wease would give him the bunt signal. It seemed like an easy decision. Thanks to a throwing error by Luray shortstop Garrett Wittles, the Harrisonburg Turks had a runner on second base and nobody out in the bottom of the 10th inning. Eden, the Turks center fielder, had been struggling, hitting .214 for the season coming into the game and going 11 at-bats without a hit before a single in the eighth. But Wease, the Turks’ manager, said he never considered having Eden lay one down. "I was letting Ryan hit there all the way," Wease said. "He’s a good ballplayer and he’s a good hitter. … Man’s on second, nobody out, you’ve got three chances instead of two [if you bunt]." It turned out Wease made the right call. Eden, a junior at the University of New Orleans, laced a 1-0 fastball from Luray closer D.J. Hicks down the right field line to bring in second baseman Victor Croglio, giving the Turks a 7-6 win over Luray after blowing a five-run lead. "My last two games I haven’t been hitting too well," Eden said. "So to finally come up when my team needed me the most and deliver a big hit meant a lot. … I thought he was going to have me bunt the guy over to third and have two chances to score him, but I guess the coach has confidence in me." The Turks needed someone to come through after a seemingly sure victory all but slipped away. Right-hander Rayan Gonzales, a Puerto Rico native and a rising sophomore at Bethune Cookman, gave the Turks a strong start, opening the game with four hitless innings and striking out six batters in 6 1/3 innings. He allowed just two runs on four hits before his control started to fail toward the end, when his pitch count reached 114. And Harrisonburg seemed to get all the offense it would need from designated hitter Mike Schwartz, a rising junior at the University of Tampa. After an RBI double in the first inning, Schwartz seemed to have broken the game open in the fifth when he golfed a 1-0 inside fastball from Luray’s D.J. Swatscheno over the left field wall for a grand slam to make it 6-1. Schwartz finished 3-for-5 with a home run, two doubles and five RBIs in the game. "I’ve been seeing a lot of pitchers’ pitches," Schwartz said. "I’ve been taking a lot of walks. So I was really just working on making sure I got a good pitch to hit, and just driving the ball. I got a few good pitches today." But the Turks (4-4) gave the Wranglers (4-2) a few good pitches to hit in the seventh and eighth, and compounded that with four costly errors. Luray second baseman A.J. Wirnsberger (Georgia Southern) singled home a run in the seventh, and then the Wranglers put four runs on Turks reliever Gabriel Grinder (Southeastern) in the eighth, with the game-tying runs coming on a two-run double by Luray left fielder Pablo Bermudez (Florida International). Turks reliever Chris Sorce (Troy) stopped the bleeding, however, with a dominant performance. Grinder left with one out and a runner on second in the eighth, but Sorce struck out the next two batters to end the threat. He then retired the side in both the ninth and tenth, striking out five of the eight batters he faced, giving Wease a chance to gamble on Eden and Eden a chance to prove his manager right. Luray 000 010 140 – 6 9 1 Harrisonburg 100 130 000 – 7 12 4 Rucinski, Swatcheno (5), Truxell (5), Showmar (6), Sanders (8), Hicks (10) and Engrav. Gonzales, Munoz (7), Grinder (8), Sorce (8) and Brunelle, Stehle (10). W-Sorce (1-0). L-Hicks (1-1). HR-H: Schwartz (1).