Mike Turner gets first professional hit, RBI
Former Skipjack helps Tempe Angels post 4-0 win over Cubs affiliate
MESA, Ariz. Former Chesapeake College standout Mike Turner had the first hit and drove in the first run of his professional baseball career Wednesday night, helping the Tempe Angels to a 4-0 Arizona League victory over the Mesa Cubs.
Turner, hitless in his first 11 at bats, reached on an eighth-inning bunt single that loaded the bases with no outs in a scoreless game. Cubs pitcher Jadel Mendez got out of the jam as Eduardo Soto struck out and Steven Irvine grounded into an inning-ending double play.
The Angels made good on their next threat, scoring four runs in the top of the ninth to earn the win, and Turner was also right in the middle of that rally. His squeeze bunt with runners on second and third scored Jerod Yakubik with the final run of the game.
Chesapeake College head coach Frank Szymanski, who has been communicating with Turner by text since he went to Arizona, was pleased about Turner’s first hit.
"I was telling Mike to hang in there, stay focused and keep working on his game. Once that first hit comes, things get a little easier," said Szymanski.
"I’m glad I got it (his first professional) out of the way," Turner said Thursday afternoon by phone.
While Turner was a power hitter for the Skipjacks batting .313 with a team-high nine home runs and a second-best 37 RBI this past spring Szymanski said he wasn’t surprised to hear Turner’s first hit came on a bunt.
"Mike has always been an excellent bunter. He could bunt for a base hit or lay down a sacrifice to move runners up," said Szymanski. "That’s definitely part of his game."
Turner said he wasn’t surprised when Tempe’s third-base coach flashed the "squeeze" sign in the ninth inning.
"They had brought in a new pitcher and we’d been over that," Turner said.
Tempe (3-5) used the win to move into sole possession of third place in the Arizona League’s Eastern Division behind the pace-setting Scottsdale Giants (5-3) and second-place Phoenix Athletics (4-4). The league features a 56-game regular season followed by two rounds of playoffs.
Turner, a shortstop at Chesapeake who has been converted to the outfield, was selected by the Angels in the 44th round of last month’s amateur draft and assigned to Tempe after signing his professional contract. He has 12 at bats while playing in four of Tempe’s first eight games.
Turner helped the Skipjacks put together a 37-15 record this spring that included a runner-up finish in the Region XX tournament.
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