Jared Baker, Turks Come Back To Beat ‘Jacks

WP: Hartman (5-1)- 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K
LP: Polaski (1-1)- 5.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
S: Datoc (2)

COVINGTON, Va., July 21, 2015 – The Turks fell behind early, but came back on the strength of Jared Baker’s long ball to defeat the Covington Lumberjacks 9-3 on Tuesday night at Casey Field.

Down 2-0, Turks first baseman Joe Lytle dug in to start the 6th. The Oklahoma City sophomore smacked an 0-1 pitch for a double and was followed by a Jesse Baker single two batters later. Jared Baker made the most of his opportunity in the very next at-bat with a 3-run home run to give the Turks a 3-2 lead. The Lumberjacks were never able to regain the lead.

With the win, the Turks move to 27-11 on the season and retain their 2.5 game lead over the Staunton Braves. The Lumberjacks fall to 16-21.

Despite a slow start, Harrisonburg’s offense came alive for nine runs on 15 hits including five extra-base hits. Every hitter in the lineup, even Eric Garcia who subbed in for Trevor Denton, recorded at least one hit in the rout. Steve McLean (3-for-5, 1 run scored, 1 RBI) led the way in hits while Jared Baker (2-for-5, 1 run scored, 3 RBI), Joe Lytle (2-for-4, 1 run scored, 2 RBI) and Tyler Straub (1-for-5, 2 RBI) propelled most of the scoring.

The Lumberjacks took the lead on the very first pitch they saw. Jose Carrera, the 5’3” infielder who proves that big things come in small packages, launched Matt Hartman’s first pitch of the game over the left field fence to give Covington a 1-0. They then doubled that lead in the fourth thanks to a passed ball with a runner on third.

Covington starting pitcher Kyle Polaski was unable to hold on to that lead. The Jupiter, Florida native allowed three runs (all earned) on eight hits and two walks while striking out two. Reliever Justin Thigpen didn’t fair any better, giving up four runs (all earned) on four hits in only 1.1 innings. Seth Bradley was also touched for two runs in an inning of work while Tanner Muovich managed a scoreless frame in the ninth.

On the other hand, Harrisonburg starting pitcher Matt Hartman bounced back from a shaky start to throw a gem on the day the Daily News Record published an article about his successes. The Arizona Wildcat allowed two runs on only three hits over six solid innings. Jarod Datoc earned a save thanks to three innings of relief in which he limited the Jacks to one run.

The Turks put the game out of reach with three runs in the seventh inning and four runs in the eighth to bring the team to its final nine-run total.

Each game becomes more and more important as the season winds down. There are only four games remaining including tomorrow night’s showdown with New Market, scheduled for 7:30 at Veterans Memorial Stadium!