Furious 'Birds Rally Falls Short at WV
CHARLESTON, WV - Knocked to the mat early and often, the Delmarva Shorebirds kept getting up before seeing their comeback bid fall short in a 12-10 loss to the West Virginia Power on Saturday night at Appalachian Power Park.
Sal Biasi (5-3) scooped up the win in relief for the Power (15-15, 52-48), allowing two runs on three hits in 1.2 innings. Grayson Rodriguez (7-3) suffered through the shortest outing of his career for the Shorebirds (20-10, 68-31), giving up six runs on four hits and two walks in just one-third of an inning. Dayeison Arias held back the Shorebirds late to save it for the Power, his eighth of the year, allowing one run over the final two innings.
The Power lept all over Rodriguez in the bottom of the first. Matt Sanders laced a one-out double down the left field line, then Julio Rodriguez golfed an RBI double to right center to open the scoring. Rodriguez got hung up between second and third on a pickoff attempt but took third on a bad throw, forcing the infield in. Bobby Honeyman then hit a grounder to second. Delmarva's Ryne Ogren threw to the plate but not in time to get Rodriguez, who scored on the RBI fielder's choice to make it 2-0 West Virginia. Austin Shenton doubled the lead two pitches later, clubbing a two-run homer to right to make it 4-0.
Rodriguez's woes contined as he followed up the homer by walking Dean Nevarez, then Onil Pena singled. Mike Salvatore fouled off five two-strike pitches and drew a walk on the 11th offering, loading the bases and sending Rodriguez to the showers. After a foul popup, Ryan Ramiz came up for the second time in the inning and singled to right, scoring Nevarez and Pena to make it 6-0 Power.
The Shorebirds hopped on the comeback trail in the second inning. With the bases loaded and no out, Cody Roberts and Nick Horvath lifted back-to-back sac flies to chase home two runs and make it 6-2. In the third, Will Robertson doubled with one out and scored on a Jean Carlos Encarnacion single two batters later, cutting the deficit to 6-3.
West Virginia got all that back and then some in the bottom of the third. With men on second and third and one out, Charlie McConnell punched a two-run single. Matt Sanders singled two batters later, and Rodriguez pelted another base hit to score McConnell. Honeyman came up next and singled to center. Two runs scored as Nick Horvath couldn't handle the Honeyman hit, and the Power pushed their lead up to 11-3.
From there the Shorebirds scored seven unanswered runs, beginning with a four-spot in the fifth. Adam Hall legged out a one-out infield single, then Robertson doubled him home, eventually scoring on a wild pitch. After walks to Seamus Curran and Encarnacion, Ogren bounced an automatic double over the side wall in right, plating Curran and sending Encarnacion to third. Cody Roberts followed with a run-scoring single to right, getting Delmarva within 11-7.
In the sixth Robert Neustrom crushed a solo home run, his fifth of the year, to make it 11-8. Encarnacion led off the seventh with a double and eventually scored on a Jaylen Ferguson two-out single, cutting it to 11-9. In the top of the eighth, Curran laced a two-out single to right, and Encarnacion dropped a dying quail triple in the perfect spot in shallow right field, bringing Curran around to shave the West Virginia lead down to 11-10.
The Power finally regrouped and put together a momentum-stifling rally in the bottom of the eighth. Nick Rodriguez led off with a single and took second on a Ramiz sac bunt. Sanders then hit a single to move Rodriguez to third, and Julio Rodriguez chopped an RBI groundout to second, nudging the lead to 12-10.
Delmarva still wouldn't go quietly in the ninth. Nick Horvath hit a one-out grounder to third that Honeyman airmailed to first, putting Horvath at second and bringing the tying run to bat. Arias settled down from there, though, striking out Ferguson and getting Neustrom to fly out to shallow left to finally put it to bed.
Encarnacion became the face of the Shorebirds' near-miracle comeback, going 4-for-4 with a double, triple, walk, three runs, and two RBIs. Curran went 1-for-3 with two walks and three runs, while Roberts drove in two runs from the eight-hole. Ferguson and Neustrom had two hits and an RBI each.
Julio Rodriguez provided the bulk of the offense for the Power as the top Mariners prospect went 2-for-5 with a double, two runs, and three RBIs. Sanders chipped three hits and scored twice, while Pena went 2-for-4 with two runs. Ramiz, Honeyman, and Shenton each drove in two runs.
Delmarva reliever Marlon Constante became the unsung hero of the Shorebirds' comeback bid. Making his team debut in the fifth inning, Constante pitched four perfect innings, retiring all 12 batters he faced. The stretch marks the longest streak of batters retired in a row for a Shorebird reliever this season.
West Virginia starter Nate Fisher lasted 4.1 innings in his first start with the Power, allowing six runs on seven hits with three walks and four strikeouts in a no-decision.
The Shorebirds wrap up their series against the Power on Sunday afternoon. SAL Pitcher of the Week Ryan Wilson (5-3, 2.80) returns to West Virginia, who he beat soundly on July 9 to earn the award, to match up against Ryne Inman (7-6, 4.59). First pitch is set for for 2:05 p.m. and pregame coverage on Fox Sports 960 AM and the MiLB First Pitch App begins at 1:50 with Will DeBoer on the call.
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