Game Notes (June 15)
The Power continues their four-game series against the Hagerstown Suns Saturday afternoon with a doubleheader at Historic Municipal Stadium, with first pitch of game one set for 4:05 p.m. RHP Clay Chandler (6-3, 3.56 ERA) takes the ball in game one for West Virginia, while RHP Ryne Inman (5-5, 4.65 ERA) toes the slab in game two.
POWER SPURS LATE COMEBACK IN THRILLING 8-7 WIN: Down 5-1 in the eighth, West Virginia would not give in, as Julio Rodriguez notched three RBI in the final two innings of regulation to help pull the Power even before they would eventually win it in 11 innings, 8-7, over the Hagerstown Suns in the series opener Friday night at Historic Municipal Stadium. Rodriguez blasted a two-run bomb in the eighth to make it a 5-3 Suns lead before stroking a run-scoring single in the ninth to close the deficit to one. J.R. Davis scored later in the frame on a passed ball, the first of three assessed to Hagerstown catcher Israel Pineda over the final three innings, to tie the game at five. In the 10th, Joseph Rosa came through in the clutch, stinging a single to left that plated Bobby Honeyman to vault West Virginia in front for the first time, 6-5. Jake Anchia, who previously worked a walk, tapped the pay station as well that stanza on another Pineda passed ball. However, the Suns rose to the occasion in the 10th, sparking a two-run rally over normally-sound closer David Ellingson to square the contest at seven. The Power would have the last laugh, however, as Ryan Ramiz, the placed on runner in the 11th, quickly moved to third on a deep fly ball from Davis and trotted home on Pineda's final passed ball of the evening. Ellingson battled back in the home half to fire a 1-2-3 inning and lock down the win. In the win, Honeyman smacked his fifth home run of the season in the fourth inning, tying the game at one at that point.
REALLY TURNING UP THE HOT TUB: Honeyman has been on a tear recently, reaching base safely in his last eight games (June 6-current) and recording a hit in all but one (June 11). Since June 6, he is averaging .355 (11-for-31), the ninth-best qualified average in the SAL in this stretch, along with three doubles and five runs scored. In fact, the Stony Brook product has hit safely in 24 of his last 29 games, going back to May 13. Across that elongated span, Honeyman boasts a .306 (34-for-111) clip, the eighth-highest qualified mark among SAL sluggers, as well as two homers, 12 RBI and only 15 strikeouts. His average is the second-highest of non-SAL All-Stars on that list (Diego Rincones, Augusta).
O-U WISH YOU HAD THIS MANY HOMERS: With Honeyman and Julio's bombs Friday, West Virginia has 56 home runs, tied with the RiverDogs for third-most in the SAL (Greensboro, 68 and Hickory, 73). Honeyman cranked his first home run since May 25, while Julio registered his first stateside bomb and the sixth of his Minor League career. Honeyman's five homers this year are a season-high, topping his three blasts with Everett in 2018. The Power's offense thoroughly enjoyed hitting at Historic Municipal Stadium in 2018, as the sluggers went deep six times in seven games in Maryland, their second-highest home run total at a road ballpark last year (L.P. Frans Stadium, 10, Hickory).
TRUST ME, I HAVE SUCCESS IN THIS MARKET: With their 8-7 win, the Power snagged their 14th one-run victory, improving their record in one-run contests to 14-8. West Virginia's .636 winning percentage is second-best in the league, (Delmarva [.696]), while their 22 one-run games played is tied with Augusta for ninth-most (Hagerstown, 30).
ESTABLISHING DOMINANCE IS KEY: Prior to his eighth-inning blast, Julio had one hit in his first 12 at-bats since returning from the injured list June 10. The roundtripper sparked a resurgence for the Mariners prospect, as Julio compiled all three of his hits in the final four innings (singles in the ninth and 11th). The outfielder notched his second three-hit game of the season (April 7 at Greenville), as well as a career-high tying three RBI. Through his first 13 games in the South Atlantic League, Rodriguez is averaging .326 with one homer and seven RBI, though he has struck out 10 times.
REALLY WISHING HE HADN'T DROPPED THAT BUCKET: Utah Jones' error to start the bottom of the eighth inning snapped a tremendous streak for the Power's defense, who had not committed an error in 61 consecutive innings, dating back to June 6 and spanning more than six games. With this miscue-free run, West Virginia's fielding percentage has increased to .973, third-best in the SAL (Hickory, .976 and Delmarva, .979).
POWER POINTS: West Virginia went 3-for-10 with runners in scoring position, stranding 10 men on base... Julio was caught stealing a base for the third time this season Friday night, as he was gunned down in a strike-em out, throw-em out double play to end the top of the 11th inning... The Power's defense manifested a season-high four double plays last night, with Jones participating in three of them... Davis snagged his seventh multi-hit game of the season Friday, and now has hit safely in 10 of his last 12 games, even spanning his seven-game stint on the injured list from June 3-10... On the mound for West Virginia in game one today is Clay Chandler, who possesses the second-most innings among the roledex of South Atlantic League hurlers this season at 78.1. He is also tied for the third-most wins (6) along with Ryne Inman, who will take the hill in Saturday's twin bill finale... West Virginia has just three games left in the first half in Hagerstown, after which they will head home for the All-Star Break, with four members competing in the 2019 ASG.
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