Cubilete's Quality Start Spoiled in 3-1 Loss to Columbia
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Sergio Cubilete spun his first quality start of the season and Raul Hernandez went 3-for-4 with three singles, but the Fireflies managed to rally against West Virginia's bullpen to stave off a series sweep with a 3-1 win in the series finale Wednesday evening at Spirit Communications Park.
Cubilete breezed through the first five innings, allowing just one hit and three total baserunners. However, the Fireflies (16-22, 50-55) were able to knot the game at one in the sixth thanks to an RBI groundout from Matt Winaker, who scored Hansel Moreno after he doubled to lead off the frame against Cubilete. He would be relieved after the sixth inning, surrendering that lone run on three hits with three strikeouts and one walk. Cubilete set a season high with his six innings of work, recording his third career quality start and notching a six-inning effort for the fourth time in his MiLB career.
West Virginia (17-21, 54-50) took the lead in the opening stanza. Oneil Cruz led off the first with a single to right against Columbia starter Zac Grotz and quickly moved to second on a wild pitch. After a pair of fly outs from Lolo Sanchez and Robbie Glendinning, Hernandez poked a ground ball to third that Rigoberto Terrazas could not sling over to first in time, allowing Hernandez to reach and Cruz to score, giving the Power an early 1-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Grotz also lasted six innings for Columbia, scattering six hits and ceding just one run and one walk while striking out five.
The Fireflies took the lead for good in the seventh against Samuel Reyes (1-2). After Reyes struck out the first batter he faced in Terrazas, Dionis Paulino snuck a single into center field. Reyes then uncorked a wild pitch that bounced high up on the net behind home plate, moving Paulino to third base. The next batter, Jose Brizuela, lofted a fly ball to center that Sanchez reeled in, but his throw home was off the mark, allowing Paulino to scoot home and put Columbia up 2-1. Oliver Pascual followed that up with a walk before Moreno doubled him in to extend the 'Flies lead to 3-1.
Columbia's two-run seventh snapped a stretch of 18 consecutive scoreless innings from West Virginia's bullpen, dating back to July 27 against Asheville.
Conner O'Neil (5-0) earned the win for the Fireflies after tossing three perfect frames in relief of Grotz, tallying five strikeouts.
West Virginia heads back home to open up a four-game series with the Augusta GreenJackets Thursday evening, with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. at Appalachian Power Park. Both starters for Friday's series opener have yet to be determined. Pregame coverage begins at 6:45 p.m. on The Jock 1300 and 1340 AM, as well as online at www.wvpower.com and via the TuneIn Radio App and MiLB First Pitch App.
The Power's upcoming homestand kicks off with a Thirsty Thursday, presented by Rock 105, with $1.00 12-ounce sodas and drafts as well as $2.00 16-ounce domestic cans available for purchase. College students can receive $2.00 off their ticket purchase with a valid student ID at the box office. This series also includes a postgame fireworks show Friday, presented by BrickStreet Insurance and Electric 102.7, Back-to-School Night with a backpack giveaway courtesy of Todd Judy Ford on Saturday, and a Kidz Sunday Funday. For tickets and more information, call the Power at 304-344-2287 or visit wvpower.com.
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