Game Notes (April 18)
The Power begins a three-game series against the Asheville Tourists tonight at McCormick Field, with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. LHP Oliver Jaskie (0-0, 10.38 ERA) toes the rubber for West Virginia.
PAIR OF HOMERS LEADS TO SERIES SWEEP: Onil Pena and Bobby Honeyman each homered as the Power offense posted a season-high seven runs for the second consecutive game to defeat the Lakewood BlueClaws, 7-1, and sweep the three-game series Wednesday afternoon at Appalachian Power Park. Pena got the scoring going in the first, blasting his home run 359 feet to the opposite field for a 1-0 West Virginia lead. After Lakewood tied it in the second on a Jimmy Smith single, the Power bounced back with two runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings to put the game away. Pena and Ryan Ramiz sent West Virginia back in front in the third with two RBI singles, while Charlie McConnell hit a two-run double in the fourth and Honeyman stroked his second two-run homer of the season in the fifth. Meanwhile Ryne Inman fired another solid outing, tossing five innings and giving up just three hits and one run while striking out seven and walking one. Elias Espino and David Ellingson kept the scoreboard clean over the final four frames.
QUITE THE STAFF: West Virginia's pitching staff has become one of the most dynamic in all of Minor League Baseball. After holding Lakewood to one run on five hits yesterday, the Power's team ERA dropped down to 2.28, good for fourth-best in all of MiLB. Only the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (1.62, AA, Cincinnati), Hickory Crawdads (1.92, Low A, Texas) and Palm Beach Cardinals (2.01, High A, St. Louis) have lower ERAs than West Virginia this season. The Power has had four quality starts over their last seven games and overall posted a 1.93 ERA in their opening homestand.
BREAK OUT THE BROOMS: The Power completed their first sweep of the season Wednesday afternoon by brooming the BlueClaws in a three-game set. West Virginia had not swept Lakewood since August 7-9, 2017, in Charleston. The Power outscored the BlueClaws by 13 runs overall across the three games. West Virginia had four series sweeps in 2018.
WHAT A TURNAROUND: Jarred Kelenic busted of his road woes in a major way in the team's opening homestand against Augusta and Lakewood, averaging .480 (12-for-25) 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, clobbering 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. 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 is currently riding a six-game hitting streak (April 11-current) and a seven-game on-base streak (April 10-current). Kelenic's recent surge has pushed his average up 200 points (.280). Prior to this homestand, Kelenic was mired in an 0-for-11 slump after starting the year 2-for-25.
POWERFUL PENA: Pena was absolutely unstoppable over this homestand. Yesterday, the Power infielder went 2-for-3 with his first home run and two RBI, picking up his team-leading 10th and 11th RBI of the season. Pena boasted a .455 (10-for-22) average during the team's opening home stretch with four doubles, eight RBI and two runs scored.
GOING STREAKING: With Wednesday's 7-1 win, West Virginia has now won four games in a row for the first time in 2019. 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 four games in 2018 was from April 18-21 at Charleston and versus Asheville.
PILING UP THE STRIKEOUTS: The Power struck out 11 more batters Wednesday, updating their total to 152, which is third-most in the South Atlantic League (Delmarva Shorebirds, 155 and Charleston RiverDogs, 153). Conversely, the Power has the second-lowest strikeout total offensively at 120 (Augusta, 111). Logan Gilbert and Inman are tied for fourth in the league with 22 strikeouts apiece. West Virginia's arms compiled 74 strikeouts during the opening homestand.
THAT'S SOME SWEET RELIEF: West Virginia's bullpen really shined in the three-game brooming of Lakewood. 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. On Tuesday evening, Devin Sweet and Dayeison Arias handled the final three frames and coughed up just two hits while fanning six batters. Yesterday, Espino and Ellingson ceded just two hits and a walk while striking out four in four innings. The relief corps combined to notch a 0.69 ERA (1 ER/13 IP) across the three-game series. Overall, the Power's bullpen has posted a 1.99 ERA through the team's first 13 games.
POWER POINTS: West Virginia went 3-for-9 with runners in scoring position Wednesday, stranding eight men on base... McConnell picked up his first multi-hit and multi-RBI games of the year... Inman has allowed 1 ER in his last 11 IP.
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