After a rainy day in Charlottesville ruined a Tom Sox doubleheader versus Front Royal Sunday afternoon, the Sox were back in action Monday night in Staunton. An explosive first inning of five runs gave the Tom Sox all needed to secure their fifth straight victory, winning, 9-2, and improving to 6-1 on the season.
On the offensive side, Trevor Candelaria (Davidson College) launched a three-run home run over the left-center fence to get the scoring going in the first, and Wyatt Langford (Florida) and Cole Foster (Auburn) tacked on a pair of RBI singles in that same inning. The Braves responded in the home-half of the inning when Cole Ragone (William & Mary) lined a two-run homer to center.
However, the Braves pitchers settled in after a rough first and the Tom Sox bats became ice cold. Jalen Long (Samford) retired the last 13 Tom Sox batters he faced and notched five strikeouts. The Braves pitching set down 19 consecutive hitters before Logan Amiss (VCU) drew a walk to lead off the ninth. That base on balls was all the spark the Charlottesville offense needed to get back on track, as it bookended the game with a four-run ninth inning. Foster knocked in another two runs on a two-RBI double to blow the game wide open and take his total for the night to three RBIs.
The Sox were slinging on the mound throughout the entire game, trotting out four pitchers. Jake Haney (William & Mary) started on the bump for the Tom Sox and bounced back after giving up a home run to his college teammate to hurl four solid innings while tallying six punchouts, including striking out the side in the second. Stephen Restuccio (Northwest Florida State) was the first bullpen arm to see action Monday, firing two scoreless innings for the Tom Sox out of the pen with two strikeouts. Brady Kirtner (Virginia Tech) came in next to toe the rubber and after a solid first inning of work, the Braves threatened in the bottom of the eighth. The young righty showed poise on the mound, stranding runners on second and third en route to two shutout innings with three strikeouts, including two with runners on second and third, before giving way to Cole McMillan (San Jancito College) in the ninth. McMillan slammed the door for the Tom Sox, firing a one-two-three bottom of the ninth with one strikeout to close out the 9-2 win. Restuccio picked up the win for the Tom Sox with Long suffering the loss for the Braves after Staunton could not bounce back from the first-inning onslaught.
The Tom Sox will look to extend their winning streak to six as they head to Covington Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. for a divisional matchup with the Lumberjacks. Last time these two teams squared off, the Tom Sox walked away victorious 9-5 on opening night.