Turks Hold on to Beat Braves

By Jen Kulju
Turks Staff Writer


Despite a two-run rally in the ninth inning by the Staunton Braves, the Harrisonburg Turks held on to win by a score of 5-4 on Tuesday. Turks starting pitcher Conner Roberts (University of California, Santa Barbara) did not allow a run before the two in the fourth inning, and Cade Bullinger (Midland College) pitched 4.2 scoreless innings in relief to give the Turks back-to-back wins at home.

The Turks jumped out to an early lead, scoring three runs in the first. Braves starting pitcher Justin Showalter (James Madison University) hit Kyle Johnson (Rider) with a pitch to start the bottom of the inning. Johnson advanced to second and third on wild pitches and scored on a single to right by Grant Van Scoy (Illinois). Elian Merejo (Georgia State) reached first on an error by third baseman Dean Hermanson. Cam Irvine (Virginia Tech) singled to left, scoring Van Scoy. Merejo scored on a ground ball by Luke Nussman (Shenandoah University).

The Turks added another run in the third to go up 4-0. Brett Whelton (McNeese State) led off with a base hit up the middle. Merejo followed with a single. Whelton advanced to third on a fly out to center by Irvine and scored on a fielder’s choice play.

Roberts started to go downhill in the fourth inning, giving up three walks in a row to Brandon Hernandez, Nick Fugh and Bryson Parks. Hernandez scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Reagan Wright, and Fugh scored when Van Scoy booted a grounder at short. Bullinger came in for the Turks to get the final two outs of the inning.

Up 4-2, the Turks put one more on the board in the fourth. Bryce Braswell singled to right center, stole second, and scored on a base hit up the middle by Van Scoy.

Bullinger, who got the win, shut down the Braves through the eighth, pitching impressively. He allowed only two hits and struck out five. Showalter got the loss, and Josh Karklin (Wingate), who pitched the ninth, got the save.

Karklin was not flawless at the end, allowing two runs on singles by Eric Conner, Brandon Hernandez, Brycen Thomas and Bryson Parks—but did enough to secure the win.

Braswell and Van Scoy led the Turks with two hits each. Van Scoy and Nussman each had two RBI.

Both teams were down some of their top talent as the Braves had three and the Turks had five players selected to compete for the Valley Baseball League (VBL) in the Southern Collegiate Showcase in Kannapolis, N.C., which ended with a 6-4 victory by the VBL over the Sunbelt League on Tuesday evening. Braves head coach Nolan Neiman and Turks head coach Bob Wease served as coaches for the VBL traveling All-Star team. Turks players on the roster included second baseman Austin Embler (UNC Greensboro), utility player Zach Little (Wingate), and pitchers Kyle Arjona (University of New Orleans), Jake Brace (Georgia Tech) and Rafe Schindler (University of New Orleans).

The Turks are now 16-19. They travel to Covington on Wednesday and return home against the Winchester Royals on Thursday.