HARRISONBURG, Va. – The Charlottesville Tom Sox opened the 2022 season on the road against the Harrisonburg Turks Friday night. The skies were sunny and the bats were cracking at Eagle Field. However, the Tom Sox were unable to clinch a win, falling 4-3 in a close game with the Turks that ultimately came down to the final at bat.
The first three innings were scoreless for both the Tom Sox and Turks. The Tom Sox batted for three hits and the Turks for none.
Despite the mellow start, both teams cranked up the heat by the fourth inning. ‘Sox pitcher Bobby Olsen (Brown) held the Turks to no hits, while the Tom Sox swung three hits from Menelik Israel (Duke), Gavin Abrams (Clemson) and Tanner Kim (Kentucky).
With a runner on second, Jaylon Lee of the Turks hit a double in the bottom of the fourth, giving Christian Ficca the moves to score the first run of the game. The Tom Sox then relieved Olsen and brought in right-handed pitcher Lance Tate (Hampden-Sydney) from the bullpen.
With Tate on the mound, the Turks hit for an RBI, but the two innings that followed were scoreless as well.
In the top of the seventh, with runners on first and third, Charles Crawford (Georgia) hit a single allowing Julian Rojas (Radford) to score. Israel then hit a ground ball to shortstop, forcing an error, and giving Kyle Edwards (Old Dominion) the advantage to score.
The Tom Sox took a lead when Tristan Bissetta (Clemson) hit a home run to right field at the top of the 8th.
After Bisseta’s rocket out of the park, the Turks’ Casey Smith moved to third base after an error. Taylor Montiel (Mississippi State) relieved Tate in the bottom of the 8th. Following, a wild pitch gave away a stolen base to home, forcing the score to 3-3.
As the ‘Sox’s luck ran low with one out in the bottom of the 9th, Smith hit a single to short right field and Ficca scored the walk-off run for the Turks.
The Tom Sox are back in action tomorrow night at Charlottesville High School for their first home game of the season against the Covington Lumberjacks at 7 p.m. Admission and parking are free courtesy of Carter Bank & Trust.
The Turks also defeated the Tom Sox at Veterans Memorial Park on opening night in 2019. Tom Sox Head Coach Ramon Garza batted leadoff in that game, going 0-for-3 with a walk.
The Tom Sox fall to 2-5 all-time in season openers, and lost their third season opener in the last four seasons.
Eight of the nine Tom Sox batters reached base at least once in the contest. Tyler McLoughlin (Emory) was the lone ‘Sox batter to go home emptyhanded.
Tristan Bissetta’s home run marked the first of his collegiate career.
Gavin Abrams led the team reaching base three times, two via walk and the other via a double.
Both Bissetta and Menelik Israel collected their first collegiate RBIs.
Lance Tate’s four innings matched his season-high from the past college season. He previously went four complete against Moravian (2/19/22) and Lynchburg (3/29).