Belyeu’s Two Home Runs Lead Tom Sox to First Win

After a season-opening loss on the road, the Tom Sox redeemed themselves against the Culpeper Cavaliers at home on Saturday evening with a dominant 10-3 win. The Tom Sox looked comfortable on their home field as they bounced back from Friday night’s loss in Staunton.
Team Linescore
123456789R H E
CULP Culpeper 0200100003 5 2
Winner CHL Charlottesville 11020510X10 8 5
W:
Brett Gastman (1-0)
L:
Carter Rasmussen (0-1)

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – After a season-opening loss on the road, the Tom Sox redeemed themselves against the Culpeper Cavaliers at home on Saturday evening with a dominant 10-3 win. In front of an energetic home-opening crowd on a beautiful night at Willie T. Barnett stadium, the Tom Sox looked comfortable on their home field as they bounced back from Friday night’s loss in Staunton.

Trever Booton (Auburn) — who allowed two earned runs on three hits while striking out four in three solid innings of work — started on the mound for the Tom Sox and allowed no hits in the top of the first inning. Cade Belyeu (Auburn) kept the strong start going in the bottom of the frame, blasting a home run over the center field fence to give Charlottesville the early 1-0 lead.

Culpeper quickly responded in the top of the second, sending John Howard and Ryan Storey home to briefly take a 2-1 lead.

The Cavaliers’ lead was short-lived, however, as the Tom Sox tied things up on a Jack McMullen (Liberty) single in the bottom of the third and retook the lead in the fourth after Tommy Roldan (Virginia) smacked a hit into the right-center field gap that plated Ethan Gibson (Virginia Tech) and Cale Stricklin (Auburn).

Brett Gastman (Charleston Southern) was lights out for Charlottesville after taking over on the hill for Booton in the fourth. He allowed just one unearned run in three hitless innings of middle relief while punching out three Cavaliers.

After the Cavaliers cut the Tom Sox lead to 4-3 in the top of the fifth, Charlottesville exploded for five runs in a marathon bottom of the sixth that forced two Cavalier pitching changes. A Landon Bruce (San Jacinto) walk and stolen base got things started in the frame before Johnnie Lopez (Seminole State) delivered with an RBI single into right field. Belyeu walked to keep the rally going, and following the first pitching change, Robbie Lavey (George Washington) drove him in with an RBI single of his own. Culpeper hurler Connor Kolarov then walked three consecutive Tom Sox batters, plating two, before McMullen drove in the final run of the inning on a sacrifice fly to right field. The lengthy sixth inning ended with Charlottesville leading 9-3.

Thomas Whelan (Davidson) finished things off with three scoreless innings on the mound for the Tom Sox, walking four and striking out two while allowing just two hits. The Charlottesville pitching staff held Culpeper to just three runs on five hits while striking out nine Cavaliers in an excellent bounce-back performance after getting knocked around in the opener on Friday.

Charlottesville added some extra insurance in the bottom of the seventh as Belyeu made himself known once again with his second home run of the night. With three home runs in his first two games as a member of the Tom Sox, Belyeu continues to do damage at the plate. Dating back to college, he’s now hit six home runs in his last six ballgames.

With the win, the Tom Sox improved to 1-1 on the season and will be back at Charlottesville High School tomorrow to face the Waynesboro Generals. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. on Scout Day at the ballpark.

Additional Notes

  • Ethan Gibson tied a team record with four walks. Charlottesville’s 13 walks as a team tied for the second-most all-time.
  • Belyeu is the first Tom Sox player to hit a home run in consecutive games to begin the season.

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