Game Notes (April 17)
The Power concludes its opening homestand and goes for their first series sweep of 2019 in the finale against the Lakewood BlueClaws this morning at Appalachian Power Park, with first pitch set for 10:35 a.m. RHP Ryne Inman (1-0, 3.60 ERA) toes the rubber.
CHANDLER, KELENIC HEADLINE 7-1 WIN: Clay Chandler turned in his second consecutive quality start and Jarred Kelenic tallied four hits as the Power blasted the Lakewood BlueClaws, 7-1, Tuesday evening at Appalachian Power Park. Chandler worked six innings of shutout baseball, ceding just two hits and walking four batters while striking out three. Meanwhile, West Virginia's offense provided him with plenty of run support, as Onil Pena continued his hot streak at the plate with an RBI double in the third to give the Power a 1-0 lead. The team exploded for four more in the fourth as nine men came to the plate, with Cesar Izturis Jr. and Pena each delivering the big blows. Izturis Jr. blooped a two-run double into shallow left, while Pena sliced a single into the outfield that plated a pair to make it 5-0 West Virginia. Jake Anchia padded the lead with a run-scoring knock in the seventh, while Kelenic capped off his fine evening at the dish with an RBI double in the eighth. Devin Sweet and Dayeison Arias worked the final three innings, ceding two hits while striking out six batters. West Virginia claimed its third win in a row and its second straight series victory.
QUALITY CLAY: Chandler spun the Power's fourth quality start of the season Tuesday evening, as well as his second of the year. During those two quality outings, Chandler has surrendered just one earned run on seven hits over 12 innings of work with eight strikeouts, good enough for a 0.75 ERA. The Paducah, Kentucky, native hurled eight quality starts in 2018 with the Clinton LumberKings, including five in the second half. West Virginia' starters have thrown four quality starts in their last six outings (Ryne Inman, April 11 vs. Augusta and Steven Moyers, April 13 vs. Augusta).
KELENIC STARTING TO KELE-CLICK: Kelenic has busted of his road woes in a major way in the first five games of this homestand against Augusta and Lakewood, averaging .550 (11-for-20) with a home run, four doubles and six RBIs. The Mariners' second-best prospect per MLB.com and Baseball America stroked his first South Atlantic League home run Friday, blasting one 369 feet to right-center field in the fifth inning for his seventh career Minor League homer, and his first since August 23, 2018. He recorded his first two RBI of the season and posted West Virginia's third three-hit game of the year Thursday. Most recently, Kelenic posted his first career four-hit game April 16, going 4-for-4 with two doubles, two runs scored and an RBI. The Wisconsin native has a multi-hit or multi-RBI game in four of these five games, as well as a five-game hitting streak that began April 11. Kelenic's recent surge has pushed his average up 209 points (.289). Prior to this homestand, Kelenic was mired in an 0-for-11 slump after starting the year 2-for-25.
POWERFUL PENA: Pena has been absolutely unstoppable over this homestand. Last night, the Power infielder went 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBI, notching his second three-hit game of the season and first three-RBI affair. Pena is hitting .421 (8-for-19) during the team's opening home stretch with four doubles, six RBI and a run scored.
GOING STREAKING: With last night's 7-1 win, West Virginia has now won three games in a row for the first time in 2019, signaling the beginning of the team's first true winning streak. The Power's longest winning streak of the season in 2018 came during the team's final home stretch, as they strung seven wins together to put themselves in playoff contention until the final day. West Virginia's first win streak of at least three games in 2018 came during the team's first homestand as well, April 8-10, against the Greenville Drive and Lakewood BlueClaws.
PILING UP THE STRIKEOUTS: The Power struck out nine more batters Tuesday evening, updating their season total to 141, which is third-most in the South Atlantic League (Charleston RiverDogs and Delmarva Shorebirds, 143). Three of West Virginia's five starters are amongst the top 15 strikeouts leaders in the league, with Logan Gilbert in third (22) Moyers tied for 10th (17) and today's starter, Inman, tied for 15th (15). West Virginia's arms have compiled 63 strikeouts during the first five games of this homestand.
THAT'S SOME SWEET RELIEF: West Virginia's bullpen has really shined in the first two games of this series. On Monday, four relievers combined to take care of the last six innings and only allowed two hits and one earned run while striking out 11 batters. Last night, Sweet and Arias handled the final three frames and coughed up just two hits while fanning six batters. Overall, the Power's bullpen has posted a 2.15 ERA through the team's first 12 games.
POWER POINTS: Kelenic's 10 walks are tied for second-most in the league with Delmarva's Cadyn Grenier (Kyle Gray, 12, Charleston RiverDogs)... West Virginia went 5-for-13 with runners in scoring position last night, stranding nine men on base... Kelenic swiped his second bag of the year last night, tied with Cesar Trejo for most on the team... Sweet is one of four Power relievers that have still not given up an earned run (Sal Biasi, Nolan Hoffman and Ben Onyshko).
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