WAYNESBORO, Va. – The Charlottesville Tom Sox (29-16, 3-0 Playoffs) used two big innings and multiple clutch pitching performances to down the Waynesboro Generals (28-18, 2-2 Playoffs) 5-4 on Friday. The game was moved from Charlottesville to Waynesboro due to field conditions at Charlottesville High School, but it proved no difference to the Tom Sox as they move one win away from a Valley League Championship appearance.
Cole Wagner (Georgia) tied a record that seemed unreachable at the start of the season with his 35th straight game on base, tying the record set by Michael Wielansky in 2017. He tied the record with an RBI double in the third which started the scoring for the Tom Sox.
While walks were an issue for the ‘Sox staff, they were able to lock it down after some early hiccups from starter Wyatt Lunsford-Shenkman (East Carolina). Lunsford-Shenkman tossed two innings for Charlottesville, allowing four hits, four runs, one walk, and one strikeout. The two relievers behind him, Emmett Bice (Charleston) and Chandler Marsh (Georgia) combined to allow no hits, no runs, and walk and strike out ten batters in seven combined innings of work.
Charlottesville stranded 13 Generals on base, tied for the third most on the season. Only one of the 14 Generals who reached on free passes (11 walks, three HBP) scored a run. Charlottesville’s defense was also clutch, as multiple diving catches and stretches helped leave runners on.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Waynesboro started the scoring in the top of the first. After Caleb Cali reached on a single, TJ Clarkson blasted a no-doubter to right to put the first two runs on the board. Lunsford-Shenkman was able to get the next two batters out on a flyout and strikeout to end the frame.
The Generals added two more, which proved to be their final two runs of the game, in the second. After the first two batters of the inning flew out, a walk, single, and stolen base put two in scoring position. Waynesboro’s leading hitter Joseph Sullivan capitalized, hitting a 2-run single to right to make it 4-0.
After a solid first two innings by Generals starter Henry Hardie, the Tom Sox got to him in the third. Back-to-back singles put two on for Wagner, who tied the on-base streak record with a deep double to right that scored Christian Martin (Virginia Tech). A wild pitch during the next at-bat allowed Charlottesville’s second run to score, and they made it a 1-run game after Wagner scored on an error by shortstop Jalen Vasquez.
The Tom Sox took the lead in the fourth. Nic Ericsson (VCU) and Gavin Abrams (Clemson) each reached on singles, and they were both brought home on a double by the leadoff batter Martin. The two runs proved to be the final runs for either side.
The final five innings were all pitching for both sides, as Chandler Marsh and Riley Huge duked it out. Marsh finished his day with a save after tossing four hitless innings with four walks and seven strikeouts. He was matched in the K column by Huge, who allowed only three baserunners through the final four innings of the game and struck out seven.
FROM HEAD COACH RAMON GARZA
“Once again Mother Nature has put these guys in an unfamiliar situation where we had to play a home game on the road, but very proud of the way they handled business tonight. The job obviously isn’t finished, but I’m very proud of the way these men competed.”
UP NEXT: The Tom Sox and Generals will face off in game two of the series on Saturday (July 30) in Waynesboro. Charlottesville will advance to the VBL Championship with a win, and Waynesboro can force a game three if they even it up.
The 11 walks surrendered by Tom Sox pitching are tied for the most in a game in team history.
Charlottesville moves to 5-1 all-time in the VBL semifinals and 3-0 against Waynesboro in the round.