Tom Sox Hold Braves Scoreless for Eight Innings to Claim 8-2 Victory
Two home runs and strong pitching from five different hurlers pushed the Charlottesville Tom Sox ahead on Thursday night as the Tom Sox (24-16) took down the Staunton Braves (19-21) in their last home game of the regular season, 8-2.
Patrick McColl got the ball rolling for the Tom Sox in the bottom of the first, sinking a three-run homer past the right-field fence to give the home team an immediate 3-0 lead. The Braves answered back immediately, however, as Trey Jacobs plated two runs on a single to cut the Tom Sox lead to 3-2.
What at first looked like it might be a close game started to inch away from Staunton as Charlottesville pitching tightened up. After that two-run top of the second, the Braves were held without another hit through the next seven innings as Charlottesville slowly extended their lead. An RBI single from Zac Ching in the bottom of the second and a solo home run off the bat of Brett Centracchio made the score 5-2 heading into the fourth frame.
There, the game started to fall apart for the Braves. A costly two-run error in the bottom of the fourth extended the Tom Sox lead to 7-2, before Alex Mardiney added one more with a single that scored McColl in the fifth. The Braves finally forced the Tom Sox to go an inning without scoring in the sixth when they struck out the side, but the damage was already done: the Tom Sox would hold onto their 8-2 lead through the top of the ninth for a walk-off win.
After Hunter McMullen started out on the mound, he was followed by Jared Gaer, Hunter Gregory, Kirby McMullen and Antonio Menendez. After four hits by Staunton in the first two frames, the rotation held the Braves without a hit for the rest of the ballgame, throwing a combined nine strikeouts through nine innings and allowing just two walks and two runs.
The Tom Sox continue their fight for home advantage in the 2018 playoffs as the Valley Baseball League regular season comes to an end in a 12:30pm game on Friday in New Market against the Rebels.