Game Notes (August 10)
The Power continues their four-game series with the Lakewood BlueClaws this evening at FirstEnergy Park, with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. RHP Evan Johnson (0-2, 3.26 ERA) gets the ball for West Virginia, while LHP Jhordany Mezquita (2-7, 4.54 ERA) counters for Lakewood. Full game notes are attached and below.
SANDERS' HOMER, STRONG PEN LEADS TO 3-1 WIN: Matt Sanders cracked a two-run blast in the first, and West Virginia rode a solid relief effort to a 3-1 win over the Lakewood BlueClaws Friday evening at FirstEnergy Park. Sander's bomb gave the Power a 2-0 lead, as it drove in Ryan Ramiz, who worked a leadoff walk to open the ballgame. Lakewood answered in the bottom of the first, as Jonathan Guzman also earned a leadoff walk and scored a couple batters later on a wild pitch from Devin Sweet. Sweet did not allow another run throughout the remainder of his outing, but saw his night come to a close at the end of the fifth. West Virginia tacked on another run in the top of the sixth thanks to a Bobby Honeyman single and an Austin Shenton RBI double down the left-field line that extended the lead to 3-1. The Power pen saw impressive performances from Logan Rinehart, who spun two scoreless innings and Bryan Pall, who twirled a shutdown eighth and held the two-run lead into the ninth. Dayeison Arias entered in the final frame, struck out the first two batters he faced and retired the side in order to close out the 3-1 win and record his 12th save.
OVER THE CENTURY MARK: Sweet turned in another solid outing Friday, hurling five solid innings and allowing just one run while striking out six. With his five-inning performance Friday, Sweet surpassed the century mark in innings pitched for the first time in his professional career. The right hander joins Clay Chandler, Ryne Inman and Steven Moyers as the four West Virginia pitchers with at least 100 innings and 100 strikeouts this season (12 total pitchers in the SAL have reached that threshold in 2019). Sweet's 127 strikeouts are fourth-most in the league, while his 102.2 innings are 18th-highest. With Sweet reaching the 100-inning plateau, the West Virginia pitching staff now has had four individuals reach the century mark in both innings and strikeouts for the first time in Power history.
SURGING SANDERS: With his 1-for-4 effort Thursday, Sanders extended his hitting streak to 11 games. Sanders now has the third longest streak for any Power hitter this season (Honeyman and Jarred Kelenic, 18 games). During this streak that dates back to July 28, Sanders has a .298 (14-for-47) average with two homers and five RBI. Thanks to this recent surge, Sanders has raised his average with the Power from .255 to .280. In 22 games with West Virginia, the former Troy infielder has three homers and 12 RBI.
DOMINANT DAYEISON: Arias has really turned it on over his last few outings, spinning six consecutive hitless innings with nine strikeouts dating back to July 25. The right-hander's 12 saves are the most by a West Virginia reliever since Nick Neumann recorded a Power-franchise record 17 saves in 19 opportunities in 2015. His 12 saves are also second-most in the South Atlantic League (Alexander Martinez, Asheville, 14) and in the Mariners' system (Art Warren, Double-A Arkansas, 14). Arias has only allowed an earned run in six of his 37 total appearances, and the Power have won the last eight games he has appeared in.
STILL OH SO SWEET: Sweet was unable to spin his fifth straight quality start against Lakewood on Friday night. However, he maintains a remarkable run over his last five games, as the Greensboro, N.C., native boasts a 2.18 ERA (33 IP/8 ER) with 42 strikeouts compared to five walks. Since converting to a starter June 16, he is 5-2 with a 2.42 ERA, the fourth-best qualified ERA in the SAL in that span, along with 77 strikeouts in 67 innings of work. He also has the lowest qualified ERA (2.98) on the Power and fourth-lowest among current qualified SAL hurlers.
ONE LAST CH-CH-CH-CHIA: Prior to West Virginia's game Friday, the Seattle Mariners announced that catcher Jake Anchia earned a promotion to the High-A Modesto Nuts after being with the Power since Opening Day. The Mid-Season SAL All-Star averaged .213 with 12 homers and 43 RBI in 81 games with West Virginia. He also threw out 27 percent of runners trying to steal against him. The backstop was known for his clutch moments, including his eighth-inning go-ahead grand slam on June 10 against Delmarva and a three-run walk off homer on June 27 against Kannapolis. In a corresponding move, outfielder Billy Cooke was promoted to West Virginia from Short-Season Everett.
ROAD WARRIORS: The Power tied their longest road winning streak of the season (4 games) with their Friday night win over Lakewood, marking the first time that the Power has won four straight games on the road since they swept Hagerstown in the final four games of the first half (June 14-16). Over the course of their current road winning streak, West Virginia has outscored its opponents 16-5, thrown one shutout and surrendered more than one run in a game just once (3, 7/29 at ROM). West Virginia is 28-30 on the road this season.
POWER POINT: Charlie McConnell has not committed an error in 62 consecutive games (May 15 at Charleston).
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