The final out of the game landing in the glove of Patrick McColl felt like a fitting end to Thursday night’s Charlottesville Tom Sox victory. McColl’s standout performance, from solid defensive plays at first base to two RBI doubles, was instrumental in helping the Tom Sox (4-1) shut out the Strasburg Express (0-3), 6-0.
Until a fumbled bunt got an Express runner on base in the top of the seventh inning— the ball rolled to a slow stop on the third-base line, faking out Tom Sox infielders that thought it would be called a foul ball— Charlottesville had been pitching a no-hitter, as Nick Roth and Hunter Gregory combined to throw six clean innings. This pitching contingent was so efficient in eliminating batters, with Roth and Gregory each recording four strikeouts on the night, that the game was one of the quickest in Tom Sox history at just under two hours.
Roth’s pitching, as well as stellar defensive plays from Strasburg infielders Colton Schultz and Austin Thompson, kept the scoreboard clean in the early stages of the outing. But after four and a half three-batter innings, the game opened up in the bottom of the fourth. Scoring started with a hit from Zac Ching that bounced through the opposing pitcher’s feet, getting Ching to first base. A hit-and-run from Lazar put runners on first and second base. Then, as Patrick McColl stepped up to bat, Ching made a break towards third. Ching, who went seven for eight in stolen base attempts this spring at VCU, was able to dive to safety.
Ching would be the first player of the night to record a run, as McColl’s initial RBI double of the night sent Ching home and placed runners on second and third base. A walk by Dom D’Alessandro then added one more runner to first. With zero outs on the board and the bases loaded, the Tom Sox racked up three more runs on a caught out and a two-RBI single from Jack Morris before the Express were finally able to end the inning, putting the home team up 4-0 going into the fifth.
The hits kept coming for the Tom Sox. McColl’s second scoring double of the game, as well as a hit from D’Alessandro that took a nasty bounce out of a Strasburg outfielder’s glove, made the game 6-0 in the bottom of the fifth.
The strong pitching performance from the Tom Sox continued into the late innings, including when reliever Antonio Menendez closed out the game in the top of the ninth. Combined, Roth, Gregory and Menendez threw 80 strikes on just 114 pitches, handing out 10 strikeouts and only allowing two hits over nine innings. Solid performances on the mound, as well as errorless defense and a flurry hits from the top of the batting order, led Tom Sox to a 6-0 victory.
With Thursday night’s shutout, the Tom Sox improve to 4-1 on the season. The team has won four games in a row, and McColl’s two RBI doubles stretch his hitting streak to five games. With a win against the Waynesboro Generals tomorrow, Charlottesville would begin the season 5-1 for the second year in a row. They’ll look to match that achievement tomorrow at C-VILLE Weekly Ballpark.