COVINGTON, Va. – Following an electric come-from-behind victory against Staunton Monday night, the Charlottesville Tom Sox were itching to keep the bats hot as they hopped on Interstate 64 and headed to Covington for a matchup with the first-place Lumberjacks. The ‘Sox were able to put together a solid performance to topple the Lumberjacks to the tune of a 5-2 victory, thanks to elite plate discipline and a series of confident bullpen arms.
Following a slow first inning, Garrett Spikes (Georgia) reached on an error and Kyle Joye (Wake Forest) singled to put two on with one out in the second inning. Tristan Bissetta (Clemson) then walked after being down 0-2 to load the bases with two outs. With the pressure on Covington early, 9-hole hitter Tanner Kim (Kentucky) ripped a single that plated Spikes and Joye, giving the Tom Sox an early 2-0 lead.
The ‘Jacks responded quickly, as Nate Stocum stepped up to torch a solo home run in the bottom of the second, giving starting RHP Drew Bryan his first earned run of the season. The University of Chicago pitcher proceeded to give up a single but got some help from his defense with a flawlessly executed double play followed by a strikeout to end the inning.
Covington was able to tie the game on a series of infield hits and a fielder’s choice, but Bryan remained calm and limited the damage to just one run.
He remained on the bump for Charlottesville to start the fourth after the ‘Sox offense hit a lull, giving up another hit while recording two outs before being pulled for reliever Mike Eggert (Wofford). Eggert set the tone for the bullpen and for the rest of the game, striking out the first batter he faced.
As the seventh inning started, the ‘Sox really started to see the ball well, and thanks to some errant pitches and lackadaisical fielding on the part of the Lumberjacks, the Tom Sox were able to put up three runs in the top of the seventh. Bissetta walked to open the inning and was able to steal second on a Tanner Kim strikeout. A groundout from Kyle Edwards (Old Dominion) moved Bissetta to third, and a wild pitch soon after from struggling Lumberjack pitcher Mason Millett allowed him to score and give the Tom Sox the lead back. Successive walks to Gavin Abrams (Clemson) and Satchell Norman (Florida Southwestern) – two of the ‘Sox’s fastest players – then gave them an opportunity to expand their lead. An errant throw from Covington catcher Cole Ketzner on a double steal was able to bring both runners home, giving the Tom Sox a 5-2 lead that they would not relinquish.
The ‘Sox hope to keep their winning streak going and get to .500 with a showdown against Waynesboro Friday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7 P.M., and admission is free courtesy of Carter Bank and Trust.
The Tom Sox bullpen allowed only four batters to reach base over the final 5⅓ innings (one hit, two walks, one ROE).
Charlottesville’s six strikeouts at the plate are a season low.
Kyle Edwards did not reach base for the first time this season, ending his team-high 4-game hit streak. Both Gavin Abrams and Satchell Norman stretched their on-base streaks to five games.
Tristan Bissetta reached base in all four plate appearances, walking three times and hitting a double. He follows his college teammate Gavin Abrams, who reached base in all five of his plate appearances on Monday.
Garrett Spikes went 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored in his season debut.
The Tom Sox won despite being out-hit 7-4 by the Lumberjacks.
Tyler McLoughlin earned the Tom Sox’s first save of the season with his scoreless ninth inning.