Turks Bank Royals

7/28/10 – Daily News Record

By Matthew Stoss Daily News Record

HARRISONBURG – Kurt Wunderlich throws 3 pitches. He has a low-90s fastball, a slow 12-to-6 curveball, a hard slider and a split-fingered changeup – the half pitch. The Harrisonburg Turks’ right-hander said it works only half the time because it’s a feel pitch and he doesn’t throw it enough to keep the feel familiar.

He didn’t need it Tuesday.

On Tuesday night, the 6-foot-1, 210-pounder from Michigan State rode his three reliable bullets and fell an out shy of a complete game shutout. Wunderlich struck out eight while the Turks managed just enough offense to squeak by the second-place Winchester Royals 2-0 in a Valley League game that lasted just 2 hours, 8 minutes at Eagle Field.

“Basically, everything but the changeup,” Wunderlich said of what was working Tuesday. “The changeup was kind of not there, but it’s not usually there, so it’s OK. But a lot of two-seam fastballs were working – and the sliders were working, and the curveballs were working, so that’s good enough.”

Wunderlich cruised through 8 2/3 innings, giving up just four hits and no runs. But he ran into trouble in the ninth. With two outs, third baseman Scott Dalrymple – who drove in the Turks’ second run on a long single in the eighth – made a throwing error.

The Royals (22-16) subsequently loaded the bases, and Turks manager Bob Wease yanked an admittedly gassed Wunderlich. But Harrisonburg’s often shaky bullpen held, with Stephen Styck inducing a groundout to earn his sixth save.

Wunderlich picked up his first win of the season, improving to 1-4. The fourth-place Turks improved to 21-17.

“His curveball was his best pitch tonight,” Wease said. “His fastball had a little giddy-up tonight. It’s the best game Kurt’s thrown all year. It’s his first win, but I think three of the other games he lost, he had the lead after seven, and we ended up blowing it.”

On Tuesday, Wunderlich out-dueled Royals starter Jon Jones (2-4), who pitched eight innings and struck out six. The left-hander struggled in the eighth, though.

Turks first baseman Patrick Savage broke the scoreless tie with a bloop single to right field, which scored shortstop Connor Winn from second base (he got there on a botched pickoff play). Dalrymple followed a batter later with his single to make it 2-0.

“He’d been working me away most of the game, so I was looking to hit something that way,” said Savage, a 6-2, 215-pounder from Auburn. “He threw me a fastball outside, and luckily, I got enough of the bat on it and it fell.”

Winchester 000 000 000 – 0 4 1

Harrisonburg 000 000 02x – 2 7 1

Jones and Neeb; Wunderlich, Styck (9) and Armour. W – Wunderlich (1-4). L – Jones (2-4). Sv – Styck (6).