07/22/2011 – Turks Tidbits
Written by Nathaniel Stoltz James Madison University Intern Harrisonburg – The Turks fell to 3-2 on their eight-game homestand with a 7-6 loss to the Woodstock River Bandits. In a game that didn’t end until after midnight, Harrisonburg fell to 28-11 and Woodstock improved to 17-22.
After a ninety-minute lightning delay, the game started shortly after 9 pm. Turks starter Eric Meyerchick struggled to lock into his rhythm after the long layoff, and the River Bandits took advantage. Meyerchick walked two batters and hit another in the first inning. An infield hit from Bret Lopez made it 1-0, and then, with the bases loaded, a double from River Bandits catcher Josh Huffman drove in three to make it 4-0 before the Turks even came up to bat.
Meyerchick’s opponent, Vince Voiro, also was uncharacteristically off in the first, walking Turks center fielder Jay Gonzalez (Auburn) to open the inning. Gonzalez stole second, advanced to third on a passed ball, and scored on a double from second baseman Sam Dove (Georgia Tech). With one out, right fielder Mac Williamson (Wake Forest) ripped a double to score Dove, and just like that, the River Bandits’ lead was cut in half.
The pitchers seemed to settle in a bit after that, but Voiro ran into trouble the next time the Turks’ top of the order came up. To open the third, Gonzalez and Dove walked, and left fielder Dodson McPherson (Wingate) lined a single to load the bases. Williamson then walked – Voiro’s fifth free pass in just 2+ innings – to cut the lead to 4-3. One batter later, designated hitter Brock Green (Ouachita Baptist) ripped a single to left to score two and put the Turks ahead 5-4.
The lead didn’t last long, however, as Meyerchick allowed a Scott Liske double and a Huffman single, tying the game at five apiece in the top of the fourth.
Aside from that quick blip and the first-inning struggles, however, Meyerchick (St. Joseph’s) pitched well, throwing six innings and allowing five runs, all earned, on just five hits. The righthander walked three and struck out two in the game. His opponent, Voiro, had a very similar line: six innings, six hits, five runs (all earned), five walks, and four strikeouts.
Reliever Julio Felix (Pima CC) worked his way out of jams in the seventh and eighth, stranding five runners, including four in scoring position. With runners on second and third and two outs in the top of the eighth, Williamson made a full-extension diving catch of a fly ball to keep the score tied at 5.
And the cleanup hitter wasn’t done. Leading off the bottom of the eighth, he lofted a fly ball to deep right-center field. River Bandits outfielders Tanner Leighton and Scott Liske collided while pursuing it, allowing Williamson to race around the bases for an inside-the-park home run, his league-leading tenth homer of the year, putting Harrisonburg ahead 6-5.
But Turks closer Pat Christensen (La Salle), entering the game with a league-leading ten saves, gave up a double and two walks in the the ninth. With one out and the bases loaded, Liske hit a slow grounder to short, and Turks shortstop R.J. Perucki could only get the out at first. A third walk re-loaded the bases for Woodstock’s Kalei Hanawahine, but Christensen rallied to strike him out.
In the tenth, Woodstock broke through with two walks and two singles, highlighted by an RBI base hit from Michael Vinson, going up 7-6.
Joe Charest took the loss for Harrisonburg, falling to 2-2. Sam Lewis got the win for Woodstock, improving to 2-0. Kyle Kennett picked up his third save for the River Bandits, pitching a scoreless bottom of the tenth.
Williamson led the Turks with a double, homer, and walk. Dove contributed two hits, and Gonzalez had two walks and two steals.
The Turks continue their homestand tomorrow night against New Market.