Turks Defeat Braves 6-5 in Walk-off Fashion

Written by Daniel Ware
Turks Staff Writer

HARRISONBURG, Va.—Bryan Arias’ effort and speed to first prevented an inning-ending double play in the ninth and allowed the winning run to score as the Turks defeated the Staunton Braves 6-5 at Veterans Memorial Park on Sunday night.

With the score tied 5-5 in the bottom of the ninth and one out, the Turks loaded the bases on three-straight walks after Jordan Silverman (Rider) replaced Matt Clark (injury) on the mound for the Braves.

2016 Bryan Arias2016 Tanner DofflemyerArias (UTSA) hit a chopper to Braves shortstop Andrew Kowalo (Liberty), who threw Andrew Moritz (UNCG) out at second, but second baseman Romy Gonzalez (Miami FL) was unable to get Arias in time at first. Tanner Dofflemyer (JMU), who was 1-for-3 with a triple, scored the winning run from third.2016 Malik JonesTurks starting pitcher Malik Jones (Georgia Gwinnett) got knocked around in the first inning, allowing four hits and three runs. Keegan Maronpot (Wake Forest) brought the first run in on a single to left field, then Gonzalez drove in two more with a double to right field. After the first inning, however, Jones settled into the game and allowed just three hits and two runs (one earned) in the next five innings.

Jones pitched 6.2 innings with seven hits, five runs allowed—four earned—with five walks and seven strikeouts in the no decision. Even with the four earned runs, Jones’ ERA is a superb 1.90 in 23.2 innings of work this season.

It was a back-and-forth game, and the Turks clawed themselves out of the early three-run deficit beginning in the bottom of the second. With runners on the corners and two out, the Turks executed a double steal and Greg Popatak (George Mason) scored from third. Popatak appeared to injure his left arm or shoulder on the slide but toughed it out and stayed in the game.

2016 Jonathan Pryor2016 Trevor CraportIn the following inning, Jonathan Pryor (Wake Forest) tied the game at 3-3 with a two-run triple to left field. The Turks then took a 4-3 lead when Pryor scored on a groundout by Trevor Craport (Georgia Tech).

The Braves tied the game at 4-4 in the top of the fourth on a sacrifice fly from left fielder Connor Crile (Tampa). Crile went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI and reached base three of his four at-bats on the night.

2016 Jason Serchay

2016 Ty ComerBack-and-forth the teams went, with the Turks regaining the lead in the bottom half of the fourth inning. After Jason Serchay (UTSA) doubled to right, Ty Comer (Ferrum) singled to center two batters later to bring Serchay around and give the Turks a 5-4 lead.

Staunton’s Adam Sisk (JMU) tied things up again with a solo home run to left field in the top of the seventh off of Jones. It was Sisk’s fifth home run of the season.

2016 Eric YankeyPicking up the win was Eric Yankey, who came on in relief with runners on the corners and two outs in the top of the seventh inning. The left-hander from JMU pitched 2.1 scoreless innings and allowed just one base runner.

The Turks (23-11) move into a first place tie with the Waynesboro Generals with one week left in the regular season.

Up next for the Turks: two road games at Waynesboro and Staunton on Monday and Tuesday night, respectively, before returning home to face Front Royal on July 20.