By: Scoop Carter
LURAY- Fauquier was down to its last out when Ian Dike (Creighton) came to the plate in the top of the ninth inning Thursady night at Bulldog Field. Greg Desantis had walked with one out but reliever Andrew Salgueiro (South Florida) struck out Daniel Petitti to put Luray (28-11) on the brink of clinching the Northern Division regular season crown.
Dike had struck out in his only previous at-bat on the night after entering the game for Jarred Frazier but he would have better fortune this time around. The Lincoln, Nebraska native turned on a pitch and sent a two run home run over the fence in left center field to put the visitors ahead 3-2. The score would become the final one but not before Luray threatened to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Austin Markel (West Virginia) laced a sinking line drive to right center to lead of the Wrangler ninth. Right fielder Brian McDonough made a diving attempt at the ball but could not make the play. Markel rounded second base but center fielder Craig Brisson recovered the ball and fired the first of two strikes to the cut off man. The cut off relay and Markel arrived in bang-bang timing but the Wrangler was called out at third base. Jon Luke Jacobs (Auburn) retired the final two batters to earn the victory for Fauquier (24-15).
Despite the loss to their closet challenger, Luray remains four games ahead of the Gators with 5 games left to play. Luray will be back at it tomorrow night at Woodstock while Fauquier is at home to host Haymarket.
The game started out as a pitchers duel waiting to happen and both staff aces produced for their teams. Luray's Travis Smink (5-0,1.71 ERA) pitched 5.2 innings and allowed just 1 run on 5 hits but left the game tied 1-1 as Rob Whitley (4-0, 2.95) proved to be equally effective. Whitley went 6 innings and allowed just 1 run on 5 hits.
Both of the runs allowed came by way of solo home runs in the third and the fifth inning. Jarred Frazier (Tennessee) led off the top of the third with his first home run of the season. The home run was also the first one allowed by Smink. Adam McClain (Memphis) tied the score in the bottom of the fifth when he connected off Whitley for his 7TH home run of the season.
Kyle Cichy (Virginia Tech) retired Chad Pierce with an inherited runner from Smink on third base to keep the score 1-1 in the sixth inning. The defensive was spectacular at times from both teams as Frazier made a running catch as he crashed into the fence on a shot off the bat of Gus Miller. Ryan Schimpf (LSU) made a back to the infield catch on a ball hit by Scott Lambert with runners on first and second in the fourth inning.
Luray pushed across the lead run in the bottom of the eighth inning when McClain walked and came around to score with the assistance of both Gator errors for the night. McClain made it 2-1 and the score appeared ready to stand up until Dike went deep in the ninth inning for the visitors.
Gators 3, Wranglers 2
WP- Jon Luke Jacobs (4-1)
LP-Andrew Salgueiro (4-2)
Top Third : Gators
- Frazier home run to right center field
Bottom Fifth: Wranglers
-McClain home run to left center field
Bottom Eighth: Wranglers
-Jefferson reaches on fielders choice, McClain scores
Top Ninth: Gators
- Dike home run to left center, DeSantis scores
Around The Valley- Out of Town Scoreboard:
@Haymarket 5 Front Royal 3
@Winchester 9 Woodstock 4
@Covington 5 New Market 1
@Harrisonburg 9 Waynesboro 2
Quick look at the battle for 7TH & 8TH (4 days left in regular season)
7. Harrisonburg 17-23
8. Haymarket 17-24
*** Both the Turks and the Senators are assured of a at least a one game playoff
9.Woodstock 14-26 (2& 1/2 back) * Needs help from others
10.New Market 13-27 (3& 1/2 back) * Must win out & hope
11.Front Royal 12-28(4& 1/2 back)