PURCELLVILLE, VIRGINIA-- The Purcellville Cannons dropped to 1-3 on the young season after a 12-3 loss to the defending VBL-champion Strasburg Express on Tuesday night at Fireman's Field.
After a 2-day break from action due to a rain out and a scheduled off day on Monday, Purcellville stayed at home for their third straight game. However, the visiting Strasburg Express made sure to bring their bats, collecting 12 runs on 17 hits in a 9-run defeat of the hometown Cannons.
Purcellville starter Carter Bair was the first target of the hard-hitting offensive attack of the Express. The product of Volunteer State Community College lasted just 1 2/3 innings, allowing five earned runs. Express first baseman Dylan Ingram (Auburn University) had a great day at the plate, tallying run-scoring singles in the first two innings off Bair, part of an early rally that put the Express ahead 6-1 at the end of two. Ingram totaled a team-high four hits on Tuesday, bringing his average up to .500 (10 for 20) throught five games, good enough for fifth overall in the league.
Leadoff batter Donovan May had another memorable hitting performance to his credit on Tuesday. The Villanova University-product began a two-out rally in the second inning off Bair with a double down to right field. Following May's double, Strasburg went on to score four runs, all charged to Bair with two outs, with the biggest knock coming on a 2-run single to center field by Ingram. Bair would be relieved of his pitching duties following a bases-loaded walk to Kyle Casserly.
First out of the bullpen was right-hander Matt Copley, who ate up some middle-relieve innings for the well-rested Cannons' pitchers. Copley threw well in relieve of Bair, allowing two earned runs over four innings of work, but did allow a solo home run to May to leadoff the sixth inning that pushed the Express lead to 7-2.
On the mound for the Express was right-hander Peyton Plumlee, who came into Tuesday's affair with Purcellville with two wins already under his belt. Plumlee, a native of Olive Branch, Mississippi, allowed two earned runs while striking out eight over five innings of work, good enough for his league-leading third win of the season thanks to plenty of run support behind him.
Offensively for the Cannons it was a relatively quiet night with the exception of first baseman PJ Harris. From the cleanup spot, Harris knocked run-scoring hits off Plumlee in his first two trips to the plate, a 2-out RBI double to score Onassis Matos in the first and an RBI single to score DeAires Moses in the third. Harris added a leadoff single in the eighth inning to boost his batting avergae to .333 on the season. Shortstop Raul Cabrera reached base three times on Tuesday with a pair of hits and a walk, while third baseman Sage Bruhl tallied bases on balls in each of his four plate appearances.
In four games this season, Bruhl has just six official at bats, but leads the league in walks with nine. Unfortunately for Bruhl, he was charged with both errors on the night for Purcellville, the second one, off the bat of Express third baseman Joseph Fernando, allowed two runs to score and helped put the game out reach in Strasburg's 3-run 7th inning.
Purcellville will try to shake off back-to-back losses when the Harrisonburg Turks pay a visit to Fireman's Field on Wednesday night. Greg Paprocki (La Salle University) is expected to start for the Turks, while RHP Brandon Caples (Alabama St. University) is the probable pitcher for the Cannons.
Caples, 21, was 3-1 with a 3.76 ERA last season for Alabama State, helping lead the Hornets to their second straight SWAC title.
Harrisonburg comes into Wednesday night's matchup sporting a 1-2 record.
First pitch is scheduled for 7 pm (ET) with gates opening at 5:30.