Game Notes (April 22)
The Power begins a three-game series against the Columbia Fireflies this evening at Appalachian Power Park, with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. RHP Clay Chandler (1-0, 0.53 ERA) takes the mound.
POWER DROPS GAME ONE 8-5: West Virginia held leads of 2-0 and 5-3, but could not hold on to either lead, as Asheville plated five runs over their final two offensive frames to take game one, 8-5, of Saturday afternoon's doubleheader at McCormick Field. The Power scored two runs in the first inning against Asheville starter Riley Pint, who could only record one out and let five of the first six batters reach before he was lifted. Pint issued walks to Charlie McConnell and Ryan Ramiz, hit Joseph Rosa and Nick Rodriguez with a pitch, allowed a base hit to Onil Pena and uncorked four wild pitches in the first inning to give West Virginia a 2-0 lead. The Tourists got one back in the bottom of the first on a two-out single from Grant Lavigne before taking the lead, 3-2, in the third with a pair of run-scoring singles from Will Golsan and Willie MacIver. The Power stormed back with three runs in the fourth against Frederis Parra, as Dean Nevarez notched his first South Atlantic League hit, while Bobby Honeyman and Ryne Ogren each followed with a single of their own. Ogren's brought in Nevarez, and McConnell scored Honeyman on a fielder's choice ground out, while Jarred Kelenic extended his hitting streak with a base hit to send around McConnell for a 5-3 lead. Steven Moyers was able to maintain that lead through the fourth inning, but Asheville tagged him for two more runs in the fifth to knot the game at five and end his day. Devin Sweet was able to wiggle out of a bases-loaded jam and keep the game tied at five, but the Tourists broke through against the normally-reliable reliever in the sixth, tacking on three runs to vault ahead, 8-5. Nick Kennedy picked up his second win of the year after recording the last two outs of the sixth, while Alexander Martinez tossed a scoreless seventh to secure his third save of the season.
RAIN SUSPENDS GAME TWO IN FOURTH: The Power jumped all over the Asheville Tourists over the first three innings-plus in game two of Saturday's twin bill, but excessive rain and unplayable field conditions in Asheville halted the game in the top of the fourth with West Virginia up 6-0. The Power jumped on the board first in the second inning, as Honeyman laced a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Jake Anchia for a 1-0 lead. West Virginia would add two more runs in the third on back-to-back doubles from Kelenic and Pena and an RBI single by Ogren for a 3-0 edge. Kelenic broke the game open in the fourth with a mammoth three-run home run over the massive wall in right-field to make it 6-0 and end Ryan Feltner's day on the mound, but no more baseball would be played after that as the game was put into a delay and quickly suspended due to rain. Logan Gilbert, meanwhile, walked the first batter he faced in Golsan, but then retired the next nine batters he faced in order with six strikeouts. This game will be resumed in the top of the fourth with nobody out and the Power leading 6-0 when the team returns to Asheville on Thursday, May 30, before West Virginia's regularly scheduled game against the Tourists that night. Both games on May 30 will be seven-inning affairs, with the start time of the resumed game still yet to be determined.
WHAT A TURNAROUND: Kelenic has busted out of his early season woes in a major way, currently riding a team-best nine-game hitting streak, during which he is averaging .474 (18-for-38) with two home runs, six doubles and 11 RBI. The Mariners' second-best prospect per MLB.com and Baseball America is also currently on an 10-game on-base streak (April 10-current). Kelenic's recent surge has pushed his average up 220 points (.300) after starting the year 2-for-25.
POWERFUL PENA: Pena has been absolutely unstoppable lately, currently holding an eight-game hitting streak that dates back to April 12. Pena boasts a .448 (13-for-29) average during this stretch with a home run, 10 RBI and four runs.
IGNITING IZTURIS: Cesar Izturis Jr. had a great series at McCormick Field, going 4-for-6 with three RBI (all of those coming April 18 in a career-high three RBI night). Izturis Jr. possesses a six-game hitting streak dating back to April 12, with five of those being multi-hit nights. During this stretch, the Power infielder is boasting a .550 (11-for-20) clip with six RBI.
STRUGGLING STAFF: After entering their series against the Tourists with the fourth-lowest ERA in MiLB at 2.28, the Power's pitching staff was not treated kindly in Asheville. West Virginia gave up 15 runs over 15 innings played in the two completed games, posting a 9.00 ERA. The staff's overall ERA rose to 3.04, a difference of 76 points. The Power's bullpen ERA suffered especially, climbing to 2.76 from 1.99 (+77 points).
POWER POINTS: Rosa has reached base in 12 of the 14 games he has played in this season... West Virginia recorded its sixth errorless game of 2019 in game one... The Power went 3-for-9 with RISP, stranding seven men on base in game one... West Virginia is 7-3 overall at Appalachian Power Park against the Columbia Fireflies in series history... Kelenic's home run in game two was the ninth of his Minor League career, and the second three-run bomb for the Power in 2019.
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