CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Charlottesville Tom Sox (18-8) split their doubleheader with the Winchester Royals (16-12) Sunday. In game one, the Royals were able to capitalize on the ‘Sox pitching woes in a 5-0 victory. Then in the second game, the ‘Sox bounced back with a 4-2 walk-off win.
The Royals put one on the board in the third inning after Chris Schoeller hit a double, then two batters later, Jack Hay laced a sac-fly to the left field, which brought home Schoeller.
In the fourth inning, the Tom Sox starting pitcher Darien Smith (Southeastern) allowed the Royals to load the bases. Smith walked two runners home before Jeremy Goins (Tampa) entered the game. With the bases still loaded, Goins walked home one more, resulting in the ‘Sox being down 4-0.
There wasn’t much action until the final seventh inning when the Royals added the game’s last point. After Goins recorded two outs in the inning, he walked Nickolas Gnardellis and allowed a single to Danny Baez. The big blow in the inning came when former Tom Sock Jake Bennett hit an RBI double, which scored Gnardellis.
The Royals starting pitcher Clayton Poliey pitched five out of seven innings. In those innings, he only allowed just two hits; both by Brice Martinez (Wofford) in the first and fourth innings. Cameron Kenny and Nick Mattfield each pitched a scoreless frame to close out the win. The outstanding performance by the trio of arms earned the Royals a shutout victory in the first game of the doubleheader.
The loss marked the end of Charlottesville’s eight-game winning streak, but it looked to turn things around in the second contest.
After a short break, Braden Halladay (High Point) took the mound for game two. In the first inning, Winchester put runners on first and third with just one out, but Halladay managed to get out of the jam by striking out Chandler Ballenger and Gnardellis.
The ‘Sox batters came out ready for revenge in the opening frame as Kyle Edwards (Old Dominion) was walked to begin the inning, and he quickly stole second, putting him in scoring position for Nathan Fink (Florida Southwestern). Fink notched his first RBI as a Tom Sox when he singled into center field.
Charlottesville’s lead didn’t last long as the Royals tied the game in the third when Jancarlos Colon blooped a single into left field, scoring Evan Smith. Winchester took the lead an inning later as Baez notched an RBI single, plating Gnardellis, who led off the inning with a double.
As the rain began to fall at CHO Airport Field, the ‘Sox were looking to mount a fifth-inning rally and regain their lead.
Chris Arroyo (Florida) led off the inning with a walk, and he was replaced on the basepaths by Sergio Rivera (Florida Southwestern), who swiped second base during the next at-bat.
Head coach Lyndon Coleman went to his bench once again, pinch-hitting Kalvin Alexander (Georgia Southwestern) for Salvy Alvarez (Florida). Alexander worked a walk, putting runners on first and second.
Coleman used another pinch hitter in the fifth as Garrett Spikes (Georgia) entered the game for David Wiley (Wofford). Spikes laid a beautiful bunt down the third baseman for an infield single, and it loaded the bases for Edwards.
Edwards also dropped a bunt down, which scored Rivera from third to tie the contest as two. Charlottesville took the lead after Martinez worked a walk that scored Alexander. The Tom Sox tacked on another run as Spikes scored on a wild pitch. The game was called in the middle of the fifth with the bases loaded and no outs while Derek Williams was batting, resulting in a Charlottesville victory.
The ‘Sox are back in action on Monday when they travel to Harrisonburg to square off against the Turks. The first pitch is set for 7:30 p.m.