Game Notes (August 28)
The Power begins their rain-shortened three-game series with a doubleheader against the Lexington Legends this afternoon at Whitaker Bank Ballpark, with first pitch of game one set for 12:05 p.m. RHP Juan Then (0-1, 1.50 ERA) gets the ball for West Virginia in the opener, while RHP Charlie Neuweiler (6-10, 4.51 ERA) takes the hill for Lexington. LHP Benjamin Onyshko (3-3, 3.84 ERA) toes the slab in game two for the Power, while Lexington goes with RHP Carlos Hernandez (2-4, 6.31 ERA).
JOHNSON SHINES IN 6-4 WIN TO CAP SWEEP : Evan Johnson fired a career-best 7.2 innings and picked up his first career win and quality start as the Power pushed past the Lakewood BlueClaws, 6-4, to finish off a three-game sweep Sunday afternoon at Appalachian Power Park. West Virginia struck first in the second inning, as Matt Sanders singled to lead off the frame and Onil Pena brought him in with a two-out knock to make it 1-0 Power. West Virginia extended its lead in the third, as Taylor Lehman walked the bases loaded with one down before issuing a free pass to Charlie McConnell to plate a run. Nick Rodriguez then stroked a two-run single that allowed Ryan Ramiz and Sanders to come around the bases and push the lead to 4-0. Meanwhile, Johnson cruised through his outing, as he did not allow a hit until the third inning and spun seven scoreless frames rather efficiently. The Power tacked on two more insurance runs in the seventh that would eventually mark the difference, with Pena and Manny Pazos each providing an RBI single to make it 6-0. However, Johnson wavered in the eighth slightly, giving up a run and leaving with two men on and two down in the frame. Reeves Martin came on to try and close out the inning, but Luis Garcia blooped a double into no-man's land in shallow left to bring in two more runs and close the lead to 6-3. Martin gave up a run of his own in the ninth, but battled back to strand the tying run on base and cap the sweep-clinching win.
GOOD ENOUGH TO POST ON TWITTER : Johnson was outstanding in his eighth Low-A start for West Virginia, blowing past his previous career-high of 5.2 innings (July 24 at Hickory) with his 7.2-inning gem Sunday afternoon. The former Creighton Blue Jay recorded four 1-2-3 stanzas, and registered a career-best 101 pitches. Johnson wrapped up a phenomenal turn through the rotation, as the Power starting staff has posted a 1.53 ERA (5 ER/29.1 IP) over the last five games with 31 strikeouts and just 12 hits allowed.
YOU SHOULD FOLLOW THIS GUY'S PROGRESS : N-Rod is in the midst of a season-best six-game hitting streak, which he extended Sunday afternoon with his 2-for-3, two-RBI game. The Power utility man is averaging .500 (8-for-16) with five RBI during this stretch that dates back to August 20. He has two multi-hit and multi-RBI games across this run as well. N-Rod now possesses the 20th hitting streak of six games or more by a West Virginia slugger this season.
RETWEET "SOLID SERIES FOR THE BULLPEN" : West Virginia's bullpen was impressive throughout the entire Charleston series and carried their momentum through their three-game sweep of Lakewood. The Power relief corps has surrendered just two earned runs in their last 22.0 innings of work (0.82 ERA) on 12 hits over the last six games.
GOTTA LIKE THAT : Sanders continued his consistent month of August for West Virginia Sunday afternoon, going 1-for-3 with two runs scored and two walks. The infielder has hit safely in 23 of his last 26 contests and is boasting a .320 (33-for-103) clip, the sixth-best batting average in the SAL in that span (July 28-current), with three homers and 11 RBI. Sanders is tied with Pena for the team lead with three homers and 10 RBI in the month of August. He is one of three active Power hitters to have an average above .300 (.326) in the season's penultimate month.
TRENDING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION : With their win in the series finale over Lakewood, West Virginia secured its sixth series sweep of the season, as well as its second against the Lakewood BlueClaws (April 15-17 in West Virginia). The Power has only broomed one other team in the second half (Columbia Fireflies, July 15-17), while they have been swept once as well (Delmarva Shorebirds, July 9-11). West Virginia is averaging a run differential of +9.8 in series sweeps this season, as well as +3.1 runs per game. The Power claimed at least 13 wins in a season series against Lakewood for just the third time in series history (13, 2012 and 20, 2013).
GETTING VERIFIED : On Tuesday, infielder Bobby Honeyman was tabbed as a South Atlantic League Annual All-Star at third base, the lone Power player to take home the league's year-end honor. Honeyman snagged his second Year-End All-Star selection, as he was named to the Northwest League's Postseason All-Star squad in 2018. Honeyman is the third Power player ever to be named an Annual All-Star at 3B, joining Mat Gamel (2006) and Taylor Green (2007).
POWER POINTS : McConnell has not committed an error in 76 straight games (dating back to 5/15 at CSC)... To follow the Power's final road trip is a four-game homestand against the Greensboro Grasshoppers... Honeyman is mired in a 0-for-13 slump currently, though he did not play in the three-game Lakewood set... West Virginia was not effective with runners in scoring position Sunday, going 4-for-12 and stranding 10 men on base... Much like a trend on Twitter, the Power are in the midst of a four-game winning streak, their longest winning stretch of the second half.
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