Charleston Wheelers: Game Notes (June 29)
Donning their throwback uniforms tonight, the Charleston Wheelers will clash with the Kannapolis Intimidators Saturday evening at Appalachian Power Park, with first pitch set for 6:05 p.m. RHP Clay Chandler (7-4, 3.87 ERA) will toe the slab for Charleston, while Kannapolis sends LHP Sam Long (3-1, 3.79 ERA) to the bump.
FOUR-RUN SIXTH DOWNS POWER: Julio Rodriguez hit his third home run of the season and Elias Espino hurled 3.1 perfect innings of relief, but Kannapolis used a four-run sixth frame to overcome West Virginia, 7-4, Friday night at Appalachian Power Park. The Intimidators wasted no time getting to Deivy Florido, as Ian Dawkins smacked the second pitch he saw from the right-hander over the left-field wall for a 1-0 Kannapolis lead. The Power responded in the bottom of the frame, however, as Ryan Ramiz led off with a double to left and, three batters later, Bobby Honeyman brought him in with his own two-bagger to tie the game at one. Onil Pena followed later in the frame with a sacrifice fly to give West Virginia a 2-1 edge. The Intimidators tied it up in the second, as Michael Hickman brought in a run on a groundout to first, but Julio's homer in the third that sailed 413 feet off the scoreboard vaulted the Power ahead again. Hickman answered with his own solo bomb in the fourth, knotting up the game at three. Florido spun his way through the fifth unscathed before ceding way to Josias De Los Santos, who could not escape the sixth. The righty allowed four runs on three hits and three walks while recording just two outs before being lifted for Espino. Espino set down all 10 batters he faced in order, but West Virginia's offense could only muster one more run, as Joseph Rosa came around to score on a Johan Dominguez wild pitch in the sixth. Kevin Folman and Austin Conway combined to put away all 10 Power batters they encountered as well, with Conway securing his fourth save in as many tries.
WELCOME BACK, JULIO: In his 16 games back since his return from the injured list June 10, Julio has surged back onto the scene with the Power. The Mariners' fourth-best prospect per Baseball America (sixth per MLB.com) is averaging .305 (18-for-59) over this 16-game span, the highest mark on the team. Since June 10, Julio has posted three homers, nine RBI, 10 runs scored and a .906 OPS, and has recorded a hit in 12 of those 16 contests. J-Rod left the yard for the first time since the first game of the second half (June 20 at Lakewood). The outfielder's first home blast at Appalachian Power Park also marked his eighth career long ball.
CHI, CHI, CHI, CHIA: Jake Anchia extended his hitting streak to seven games last night with a third-inning single to center. The Power backstop's seven-game stretch dates back to the start of the second half (June 20), during which he is averaging .286 (8-for-28) with two homers and seven RBI.
THE LONG BALL: With Julio's homer Friday, West Virginia has hit 67 home runs as a team, third-most in the league (Greensboro, 77 and Hickory, 85). Conversely, the pitching staff has given up the second-most homers in the South Atlantic League (64). Greensboro leads the way with 66 jacks surrendered. West Virginia has cranked 37 of its 67 long balls across 37 games at Appalachian Power Park this season, the fourth-highest home total in the league (Hickory, 56). The Power has now homered in five straight games, going back to June 24 at Greensboro.
ESPINO TWIRLS GEM: Despite the loss, Espino excelled out of the West Virginia bullpen, tying his season-high with five strikeouts over his 3.1 sterling frames. The right-hander had not spun more than three innings since his first appearance of the season, when he posted four frames of two-run ball April 7 at Greenville. Espino has never recorded a longer perfect relief outing over his three-year tenure in the Minor Leagues.
WHEELERS WEEKEND: The Power will don their throwback Charleston Wheelers uniforms this evening for the second time this season, honoring their old moniker from 1987-1994 that holds claim to the only league title in franchise history (1990, South Atlantic League). West Virginia last wore these retro uniforms April 24 vs. Columbia, when Damon Casetta-Stubbs tossed five no-hit innings and the Power edged the Fireflies, 2-1, en route to a three-game sweep of their Southern Division foes. Throughout their eight-year stint, the Charleston Wheelers went 562-554, finishing above .500 in four straight seasons (1990-1993), which included a remarkable 92-50 league-best record in 1991. The Wheelers made the SAL Championship Series in three straight years, but could not defend their 1990 crown, falling to the Columbia Mets in three games in 1991 before getting swept by the Myrtle Beach Hurricanes in 1992. The team has only made the League Championship Series twice since then (2007 and 2008) and has been broomed both times.
WHEELERS WIDGETS: West Virginia went 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position Friday evening, stranding seven men on base... The Power posted their 32nd game without a miscue this season, and is tied with the Greenville Drive for the league's third-best fielding percentage (.974)... After allowing one earned run or less in six of his first seven starts, Saturday starter Clay Chandler has conceded more than three earned runs in five of his last eight outings. He has never faced Kannapolis... Ramiz's 40 walks are tied for fourth-best in the South Atlantic League with Delmarva's Cadyn Grenier.
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South Atlantic League Stories from June 29, 2019
- Drive Fall to Braves on Saturday - Greenville Drive
- Two-Out Woes Sting Wheelers in 6-4 Loss - West Virginia Power
- Early Barrage Enough as Dogs Take Series Lead - Charleston RiverDogs
- Suns Snap Skid with 2-1 Win - Hagerstown Suns
- Montano Breaks out in Loss to RiverDogs - Asheville Tourists
- Destino's Big Day Gives Kannapolis Second Straight Victory - Kannapolis Intimidators
- Suns Sneak By, Snap 'Birds Streak - Delmarva Shorebirds
- Fireflies' Shut-Out Streak Snapped in Battle against Crawdads - Columbia Fireflies
- Early Offense Fuels 4-1 GreenJackets Win - Augusta GreenJackets
- Fireflies Roster Move and Game Notes: June 29 vs. Hickory (Game 76) - Columbia Fireflies
- Charleston Wheelers: Game Notes (June 29) - West Virginia Power
- Hagerstown Suns: Game Notes - Hagerstown Suns
- Shewmake drives in game-winner - Rome Braves
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