Colonials Continue To Roll Behind Murdock's Play
By David Breidenbach, Correspondent
Apr 18, 2014, 13:20
Noah Murdock unleashes a fastball which was clocked at a consistent 86 mph in the first inning against Monacan.
COLONIAL HEIGHTS—Baseball in its purest form comes down to pitching, hitting, and fielding. In Thursday night’s 14-2 dismantling of Monacan at the Colonial Heights Spring Break Invitational at Shepherd Stadium, the Colonials got all of that and more from one player—Noah Murdock.
The victory was Murdock’s fourth with no losses on the year, and boosted his team’s record to 6-2. Monacan slumped to 0-8. Historically the Colonials have struggled on the mound, but that does not seem to be the case this year as they have been in every game, with both losses coming in one-run affairs. Seth Markins has the other two wins for the Colonials.
After giving up a single run in the top of the first inning, Murdock got a chance to even things up when he advanced to the plate to lead off the bottom of the second. Sitting on a 2-1 count he was looking fastball. As the pitch came in, Murdock turned and drove the offering over the left field fence to tie the game at one run each.
“I’ve been struggling at the plate lately. I had worked the count to 2-1, so I was looking for a fastball. Zach (Stewart) told me his fastball tailed inside, so I backed off the plate a little bit and managed to hit it out,” Murdock said.
Murdock’s home run was merely the beginning of the end for the Chiefs. The Colonials sent 17 batters to the plate in the inning, four fewer than the Chiefs sent to the plate in all five innings. Monacan managed to get two outs on the Colonials before Jackson Cox singled for the second hit in the inning. The game fell apart for Chief’s starter Bradley Langford as the Colonials collected four more hits and four walks. The resulting 12-1 lead was all the Colonials needed to earn their fifth-straight win.
“I’m doing everything I can to win. If I struggle pitching and give up a few runs, I know my team will come back and score some runs for me like they did in the 12-run inning,” Murdock said.
Every Colonial in the batting order scored at least once in the inning, and when Murdock came to the plate with runners on second and third, the Chiefs intentionally walked him to load the bases and set up a force at every base.
The strategy backfired when Matt Young doubled, and Nick Meyer and Drew Mehfoud followed with back-to-back singles. Seth Markins’ single up the middle drove in the Colonials 12th run before Monacan fanned the 17th batter to get out of the jam.
“It did seem like everyone was hitting. The key to that inning was we really made him (Langford) work. We took a lot of pitchers. We made him throw strikes and when he did throw strikes we were ready for them,” Colonials Coach Gerald Carsley said.
At the same time, the Colonials played good defense to back up Murdock’s effort on the mound. Every time it looked like Monacan was about to make a charge, the Colonials came up with a play. In the third inning, Langford reached on an error, and Murdock got the next batter to hit a comebacker to the mound for the out at first base. Murdock opened the fourth inning by hitting Monacan’s Aaron Robinson with an errant pitch.
Daniel Buckley took Murdock’s next offering and hit a high chopper just off the mound. Most pitchers would only be able to watch the ball go overhead, but Murdock leaped and stretched his 6-6 frame to collect the ball. From there, it was a simple turn to start the short-to-first double play. Murdock also picked up five strikeouts on the night.
Noah Murdock follows through on his lead-off home run in the bottom of the second to tie the game at 1 run apiece and ignite a 12-run scalping of the Chiefs.
“My fastball is usually overpowering; most teams can’t catch up to it. When I get my other pitches going and move the fast ball in they have almost no chance to catch up to it,” Murdock said.
That did seem to be the case Thursday as the sophomore’s fast ball was clocked consistently at 86 miles per hour and flirted with 88 at least once. But his pitching coach commented that his best pitch was the slider, and when the Colonial started to throw it in the later innings it was a perfect setup for the fastball.
The Colonials added two insurance runs in the bottom of the fourth. Patrick Lawrence was hit by a pitch to start the inning, and Jared Morgan singled to start the rally. Two outs later, Markins reached on a walk, and Reed Raikes followed with a single to end the scoring.
Josh Barber scored in the top of the fifth inning for the Chiefs, but his run didn’t mean anything as Murdock got the final two outs on fly balls to center field.
“In his last two outings he (Murdock) just couldn’t get in a groove in the first inning. But by the second and third he was able to compose himself,” Carsley said.