Nightmare in the Ninth… And Tenth

06/08/2010 – Turks Tidbits

Bullpen Falters, Errors Mount as Turks Fall in Ten

By Thomas Cornwell Boston College Intern

Harrisonburg –

For six innings Tuesday night Harrisonburg Turks (1-3) pitcher Ryan Sorce (Pensacola J. C.) somewhat resembled another pitcher who was making his major league debut about two and a half hours to our north as he allowed a mere three hits while striking out six. Sorce’s strong outing coupled with key plays and strange errors allowed the Turks to build a 3-0 lead over the Waynesboro Generals (2-1) heading into the top of the ninth. Unfortunately for the Turks, the nightmare was just beginning as the Generals scored three runs in the top of the ninth to force extras, ultimately prevailing 7-3 in ten innings.

After a quiet first inning, the Turks took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second on a J. J. Loker (USC-Aiken) single, scoring Patrick Savage (Auburn) from third. Sorce fought through back-to-back Waynesboro singles in the bottom of the third by striking out Generals shortstop Jon Clinard (Austin Peay) and inducing third basemen Zephan Guyear (Tennessee Tech) into a groundout to end the inning and the threat. The next few innings were relatively quiet as Sorce and Generals pitcher Taylor Sandefur (Western Carolina) displayed their pitching genius, preventing either team from gaining momentum or scoring.

The bottom of the sixth inning brought forth an interesting series of events which allowed the Turks to build a 3-0 lead. Following a Tyler Carpenter (UT-San Antonio) walk, Emilio Pagan (Gardner Webb) doubled to left field. As Carpenter advanced, Cody Hudson (Austin Peay) threw errantly to third, allowing Carpenter to score on the error. After retrieving the ball, the Generals third basemen threw home. Generals catcher Matt Maloy (West Virginia) in turn lost the ball, allowing Pagan to score on the play’s second error.

Stephen Styck (St. Joe’s), in relief of Ryan Sorce, entered the game for the Turks in the top of the seventh and put together two strong innings of work, aligning himself for the nine out save. In the top of the ninth, however, the scene at Eagle Field began resembling something out of a horror movie as Styck walked four of five batters, giving up a single to the fifth, making the score 3-2 with no outs. The Turks then went to the bullpen, bringing in James Madison pitcher James Weiner. Cody Hudson immediately hit a sacrifice fly to straightaway center which brought another Waynesboro run across the plate, knotting the score at three. The Turks had a chance in the home half of the inning as Austin Erb was walked to lead off, but nothing materialized and the game moved into the tenth.

Things went from bad to worse for the Turks in the top of the tenth as the Generals lead off batter singled then took second on a passed ball. The lead off runner took third on fielder’s choice. In turn, Generals right fielder Kenny Fleming (Shelton State) singled, plating another run which gave Waynesboro their first lead of the night at 4-3. Catcher Matthew Maloy then doubled to right, advancing Fleming to third. Again the Turks found themselves looking for answers from the bullpen as they called upon Joseph Hollowell (Yavapai C. C.). Hollowell walked the first batter he faced to load the bases. Two pitches into the next at bat Fleming scored on a Hollowell wild pitch. During the same sequence Maloy scored on a throwing error by catcher Brett Armour (Young Harris). The final piece of misery was put into place on a Cody Hudson grounder to third which was mishandled by J. J. Loker, allowing the seventh run to score. Little materialized in the bottom of the tenth as Andrew Blackwell (Western Carolina) closed out the win for the Generals. In a game of great performances and eventual complete disaster the Turks are left to wonder what might have been while the Generals are thankful that baseball is a nine inning game with errors and walks playing integral roles.

The Turks now find themselves two games under five-hundred in this still young season and look to rebound Thursday when they visit Front Royal. The Turks play their next home game Friday against the Covington Lumberjacks at 7:30pm.