'Birds Win Wild One over West Virginia
SALISBURY, MD - In a marathon slugfest, the Delmarva Shorebirds outlasted the West Virginia Power 10-9 on Tuesday night at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium.
Trailing 9-8 going into the bottom of the seventh inning, the Shorebirds (32-18, 80-39) surged ahead for good on a couple extra-base hits. Nick Horvath began the inning with a bang, belting a solo homer to left, his sixth of the season, to tie the game at 9-9. Later in the inning with two outs, Jean Carlos Encarnacion jump started a rally with an infield single. Johnny Rizer then brought Encarnacion home from first by scorching a triple to right center, giving the Shorebirds a 10-9 lead that they would not relinquish.
Juan Echevarria (3-0) received the win in relief for Delmarva after tossing 2.1 scoreless innings, allowing just a hit and two walks without striking out a hitter. Elias Espino (2-3) was hung with the loss for the Power (25-26, 62-59). Espino allowed two runs in two innings on three hits and a walk while striking out one. Felix Bautista set down the side in order in the ninth, striking out one batter, to earn his third save of the year for the Shorebirds.
West Virginia got on the board right away in the first. Ryan Ramiz singled to open the game and Matt Sanders followed with another base hit. A wild pitch then moved both runners into scoring position. After a strikeout, Austin Shenton bounced out to second, scoring Ramiz to put the Power ahead 1-0.
Delmarva responded in the bottom half thanks to a flurry of free passes. The first three batters reached on walks before Ryne Ogren drew a fourth to force home a run and tie the game. Doran Turchin then bounced into a double play to plate another run and put the Shorebirds up 2-1. Seamus Curran capped the frame by lacing an RBI double to right center, pushing the Delmarva lead to 3-1.
A two-out flurry gave West Virginia the lead back in the top of the second. Mike Salvatore walked to lead off the frame and moved to second on a wild pitch. After back-to-back strikeouts, Manny Pazos drew a walk to extend the inning. Ramiz followed with an RBI single to get the Power back to within one at 3-2. Sanders then worked a free pass to load the bases for Julio Rodriguez. Rodriguez made good on the situation, belting the first pitch he saw over the wall in left center for a grand slam, his 10th homer of the year, and putting the Power on top 6-3.
Not to be outdone, the Shorebirds rallied to take the lead in the bottom of the second. Edison Lantigua and Encarnacion knocked base hits to begin the frame and start the rally. After a flyout, Adam Hall lined a single up the middle to load the bases. Ogren followed by rapping a single up the middle, scoring two, putting Delmarva down by just one, 6-5. A groundout moved Hall to third and Ogren to second and, Curran brought them around to score as he blasted another double to right, giving the Shorebirds the lead again at 7-6.
Delmarva extended their lead to two in the bottom of the fifth. Nick Horvath walked to begin the inning and moved to second on a wild pitch. Ben Breazeale then slashed a single to left that scored Horvath and put the Shorebirds up 8-6.
A rally in the sixth saw West Virginia jump back in front. Charlie McConnell drew a walk to start the frame and after a strikeout Ramiz walked to put two on. An error on a groundball of the bat of Sanders at shortstop allowed him to reach and let McConnell score to pull the Power to within one. Rodriguez then ripped a two-run double to left putting West Virginia back in front 9-8, only to see that lead dissipate in the seventh on the fifth lead change of the night.
Eight of the nine players in the Delmarva lineup collected at least one hit. Hall was never retired, going 1-for-1 with a run scored, three walks, and a hit by pitch. Ogren and Curran each drove in three runs apiece; Ogren finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a walk while Curran was 2-for-5 with a double. In addition to swatting a homer for the second straight game, Horvath scored twice and walked twice. Encarnacion was effective out of the leadoff spot, going 3-for-4 with three runs and a walk plus a stolen base.
West Virginia was almost entirely powered by Rodriguez. The No. 2 Mariners prospect went 3-for-5 with a grand slam, a double, a run scored, and six RBIs. The six runs driven in represent the most for any Shorebirds opponent this season. Ramiz pitched in as well, finishing 2-for-3 with an RBI, three runs, and two walks.
Dallas Litscher started for the Shorebirds but did not factor into the decision. Litscher went five innings, allowing six runs on six hits and four walks while striking out a career-high nine.
Ryne Inman went just two-thirds of an inning in his start for the Power, allowing three runs on one hits and five walks.
With their 80th win, the Shorebirds joined elite company, reaching that plateau for just the third time in franchise history and the first since 1998. Delmarva joins High-A Down East (TEX) and the major-league New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers and the first times in pro baseball to reach 80 wins this year.
The Shorebirds and Power will now engage in a rubber game on Wednesday night. Gray Fenter (6-2, 1.88) gets the call for Delmarva while West Virginia turns to Devin Sweet (7-4, 2.98). First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. with gates opening at 6:00. Wednesday night at Perdue Stadium is a Silver Sluggers game presented by Peninsula Home Care with the first 1,000 fans getting to play baseball bingo. Pregame coverage on Fox Sports 960 AM and the MiLB First Pitch App begins at 6:50 with Will DeBoer and Sam Jellinek on the call.
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