CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – When the Valley Baseball League instituted the brand new 10-run rule on all-star weekend, they probably didn’t expect it to be used on 2-straight nights, nonetheless by the same team.. The Charlottesville Tom Sox defied expectations, however, securing their second-straight run-rule victory 11-1 over Harrisonburg.
Garrett Payne (NC State) took the ball to start for Charlottesville and dazzled from the beginning. Payne tossed three no-hit innings to kickstart the pitching staff’s performance, allowing only one of his 11 batters to reach base.
Charlottesville began their balanced scoring in the second inning. Payne’s Wolfpack teammate Eddie Eisert got the ‘Sox started, reaching second base on a grounder that made its way past the second baseman. Wyatt Langford (Florida) hit a single of his own to move Eisert to third. Langford extended his on-base streak to 12 games with the hit, the longest of any Charlottesville hitter this season.
Harrisonburg followed the two singles up with two walks, the second of which scored Charlottesville’s first run. Three more runs were soon added, one via a double play, an error by the shortstop, and a double from hot-hitting Logan Amiss (VCU).
Chase Centala (Florida) took the mound for Charlottesville in the fourth. A four-pitch walk and long double posed a threat for Harrisonburg, but a clutch double play and grounder to the pitcher allowed Centala to emerge unscathed.
Charlottesville scored quickly in the fourth, as leadoff batter Brayland Skinner (Mississippi State) showed off his speed with a triple to left. A sacrifice fly by Pierce Bennett (Wake Forest) allowed Skinner to easily score and stretch Charlottesville’s advantage to 5-0.
The Turks fired back with a run of their own in the sixth. Facing new Tom Sox pitcher Noah Overton (UNCW), McNeely hit a leadoff home run to center to shrink the ‘Sox’s advantage to four runs. The Turks then threatened with a first-pitch double by Conor Hartigan and a walk, but another Charlottesville double play allowed Overton to get out of the jam.
It was all Tom Sox from the seventh, as the offense scored three runs in each of the next two innings. To start off the seventh, Victor Castillo (FAU) hit a bloop single to first base and quickly stole second. Eisert then hit a long single to left field, which allowed Castillo to score and bring the advantage back to five runs. Eisert was thrown out on the play trying to stretch the hit into a double.
After pinch-hitter Garrett Spikes (Georgia) hit a double, reigning ‘Sox hitter of the day RJ Ochoa (UTRGV) delivered a 2-run, no-doubt blast to left field. The home run was Ochoa’s second in two nights.
Charlottesville delivered what was their final blow in the eighth. After Mississippi State’s Parker Stinnett struck out the side, his college teammate Skinner delivered his second hit of the night to left-center. After successful steals of second & third by Skinner and three-straight free passes from the Turks, Adam Cecere (Wake Forest) reached base for the third time on the night with a single to left. The single allowed Skinner to score, making it 10-1 with the chance for an eighth inning walk-off.
With the bases loaded and nobody out in the inning, Eisert was hit on the foot by Turks pitcher Brett Whiteman. Charlottesville scored their 11th run of the ballgame to make it a ten-run advantage, all they needed to secure their second-straight run-rule victory and the VBL’s first walk-off to secure such.
The Tom Sox will have the weekend off before hosting Front Royal in a make-up doubleheader. Game one will begin at 3 P.M. with free admission sponsored by Carter Bank & Trust.
RJ Ochoa is the third player this season (Garrett Spikes, Adam Cecere) to hit a home run in 2-straight games.
Charlottesville scored double-digit runs for the sixth time in the last eight games.
After stealing just one base in their previous five games, the Tom Sox stole four tonight.