Game Notes (August 15)
The Power begins a four-game series with the Hagerstown Suns this evening at Appalachian Power Park, with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. RHP Evan Johnson (0-3, 3.86 ERA) takes the mound for West Virginia, while RHP Jackson Rutledge (1-0, 2.70 ERA) counters for Hagerstown.
SWEET'S QUALITY START NOT ENOUGH IN 8-3 LOSS : Devin Sweet hurled his fifth quality start in his last six outings, but the Delmarva Shorebirds pulled away late to hand the Power an 8-3 loss in the series finale Wednesday night at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium. Both starters hurled three scoreless innings to start their outings, but West Virginia broke through in the fourth against Gray Fenter. Julio Rodriguez worked a walk to start the frame and moved to second on a wild pitch. Austin Shenton singled him to third, and Dean Nevarez stroked an RBI double to plate Julio for a 1-0 lead. DeAires Moses then extended the lead to 2-0 with a sacrifice fly. However, the Shorebirds responded with four runs on five hits in the fifth inning, as five of the first six batters in the frame recorded a knock, and Delmarva snagged a 4-2 lead. Sweet battled back to fire a 1-2-3 sixth frame to finish his night on a high note, and Julio brought the Power within one with an RBI groundout in the seventh, but that was as close as they would get. Brendan McGuigan twirled a perfect seventh inning in his Minor League debut, but the Shorebirds retaliated in the eighth, notching four insurance runs to pull away and finish off their 8-3 victory.
OH, YOU WANT TO TALK PROSPECTS? : Despite going 0-for-3 Wednesday, Julio notched his 50th RBI of the season, becoming the third Power batter to reach the 50-RBI plateau this season (Onil Pena, 55 and Bobby Honeyman, 53). West Virginia had three batters cross that threshold last year as well, but have not had more than three accomplish the feat since 2015. Over his last 17 contests (going back to July 27), Julio is averaging .362 (25-for-69), the third-highest mark in the SAL, with four homers and 18 RBI, and has a hit in 14 of those 17 games, including seven straight from August 1-8. The Mariners' second-best prospect per MLB.com has eight multi-hit games during this run, giving him 25 total, third-best on the team.
AS SWEET AS A PB&J EVERY DAY : After spinning his fifth quality start in his last six games, Sweet maintained his remarkable run of late, as the Greensboro, N.C., native boasts a 2.54 ERA with 46 strikeouts compared to five walks in that span. Since converting to a starter June 16, he is 5-3 with a 2.59 ERA, the third-best qualified ERA in the SAL in that span, along with 81 strikeouts in 83 innings. He also has the lowest qualified ERA (3.06) on the Power and second-lowest among current qualified SAL hurlers. Sweet has notched at least five innings in each of his first 12 career starts.
PUT AN ASTERISK NEXT TO THIS ONE : Though he only pitched one-third of an inning last night, Reeves Martin continued a very solid stretch out of the bullpen for West Virginia after recording the only out he was tasked with. Martin has not ceded a run over his last 7.2 innings, coughing up just six hits and striking out five batters while not issuing a walk. After posting a 6.23 ERA in his first four pro outings with Short-Season Everett, the University of New Orleans product is 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA in 12 games with the Power.
WHEN YOU FIX A FLAT TIRE : Following a very rough stretch for Benjamin Onyshko when he allowed 11 earned runs over nine innings of work (11.00 ERA) from July 13-27, the southpaw reliever has settled into a nice rhythm. He has not given up an earned run in his last seven innings, and has struck out 11 batters compared to just one walk.
THIS IS WHAT AN ACTUAL ALL-STAR DOES : Dayeison Arias has really turned it on over his last few outings, spinning seven consecutive hitless innings with 11 strikeouts dating back to July 25. The right-hander's 13 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 13 saves are also third-most in the South Atlantic League (Jesus Tona, Augusta, 16) and in the Mariners' system (Art Warren, Double-A Arkansas, 15). Arias has only allowed an earned run in six of his 38 total appearances, and the Power has won the last nine games he has appeared in. The righty has recorded the last six saves for West Virginia.
MARKING UP THE MONTHLY CALENDAR : Though he did not play in the entire Delmarva series, Honeyman has still been red-hot over the last six weeks. Across his last 33 games, Honeyman is boasting a .366 (48-for-131) clip, second-best in the SAL, with two homers and 21 RBI. He also has notched a hit in 29 of those 33 contests.
YOU BELONG IN THE OTHER BOOTH NOW : West Virginia welcomes the Hagerstown Suns to town for the first and only time this season, as the two teams conclude their eight-game season series this weekend at Appalachian Power Park. The Power broomed the Suns in their four-game series that wrapped up the first half, with West Virginia outscoring Hagerstown by 13 runs to complete their fourth sweep of the first half. Last year, the Power posted a 5-2 record in Charleston against their Northern Division foe, their first winning record at home against the Suns since 2008.
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