Game Notes (June 21)
The Power continues their four-game series against the Lakewood BlueClaws Friday evening at FirstEnergy Park, with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. RHP Devin Sweet (3-2, 3.54 ERA) toes the slab for West Virginia, while Lakewood opposes with RHP Victor Santos (3-6, 3.46 ERA).
POWER FALLS IN EXTRAS IN OPENER: Despite holding a 3-0 lead early and tying the game in the eighth, West Virginia was unable to overtake the Lakewood BlueClaws in the series opener Thursday evening, falling 5-4 in 10 innings at FirstEnergy Park. The Power jumped ahead in the second inning, forcing Dominic Pipkin out of the game after just 1.1 innings, the shortest start of his career. Charlie McConnell got the offense going with an RBI single, while Utah Jones ripped a run-scoring double down the right-field line and Ryan Ramiz followed with a bloop single to give West Virginia a 3-0 cushion. Meanwhile, Ryne Inman had no trouble in the first two innings, setting down six in a row after serving up a leadoff double to Jonathan Guzman in the first. However, Lakewood got to him in the third, loading the bases with one out for Luis Garcia, who promptly unloaded them with a grand slam to make it 4-3 BlueClaws in the blink of an eye. That score would hold through the seventh, as David Ellingson fired two scoreless frames in relief of Inman, while Luis Carrasco and Jhordany Mezquita contained the Power for five straight stanzas. In the eighth, Mezquita hung a mistake pitch to Julio Rodriguez, who crushed it over the center-field fence to tie the game at four. Sal Biasi wiggled his way around two walks to turn in zeroes in the eighth and ninth, sending the game to extras. The Power could not plate their placed on runner in the top of the inning, while Lakewood's Guzman swiped third on a strikeout from Rafael Marchan and scored on a sacrifice fly from Abrahan Gutierrez to walk it off for the BlueClaws.
SHEAFFER MAKING A STATEMENT: David Sheaffer continued his hot start since joining West Virginia towards the tail end of the first half, going 2-for-4 with a double in the series opener against Lakewood Thursday. In three games with the Power, Sheaffer is averaging .700 (7-for-10) with a home run, three doubles and three RBI. In his second game with the Power June 16, and first behind the plate, Sheaffer put on a show against Hagerstown, collecting his first career four-hit game and tying his career-high with three RBI. The newly-added backstop cranked his third home run of the season, as well as the seventh of his Minor League career. He recorded the third four-hit contest of the season for West Virginia, matching Jarred Kelenic's April 16 output vs. Lakewood and Cesar Trejo's May 3 effort at Greensboro.
SWEET AS HONEY: Bobby Honeyman has been on a tear recently, reaching base safely in his last 12 games (June 6-current) and recording a hit in all but two of them (June 11 and 20). After going 7-for-16 with a homer, three doubles and six RBI in the four-game set at Hagerstown, he upped his average since June 6 to a blistering .333 (15-for-45), tied for the 14th-best qualified mark in the SAL in this stretch. In fact, the Stony Brook product has hit safely in 27 of his last 33 games, going back to May 13. Across that elongated span, Honeyman boasts a .304 (38-for-125) clip, the 10th-highest qualified average among SAL sluggers, along with two homers, 17 RBI and only 17 strikeouts.
JUMP START FOR J-ROD: Prior to his eighth-inning home run Friday, June 14, 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' fourth-best prospect per Baseball America (fifth-best per MLB.com), as he has since gone 9-for-16 with two homers, a pair of doubles, two RBI and three runs scored. Through his first 17 games in the South Atlantic League, Rodriguez is averaging .356 with two homers and 10 RBI, though he has struck out 13 times.
HOMERS ON HOMERS ON HOMERS: With Rodriguez's eighth-inning bomb Thursday, West Virginia now has 60 home runs, third-most in the South Atlantic League (Greensboro, 72 and Hickory, 75). Both of J-Rod's homers this season have come in the eighth inning.
LOOKING FOR A BETTER HOMECOMING: In the Power's first three-game series in Lakewood, Ramiz, the Freehold, N.J., native, had a rough series in front of his hometown crowd. Across the three games, he went 1-for-11 (.091) with six strikeouts and two walks. Ramiz started to turn the trend around last night, however, going 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI, notching his 11th multi-hit game of the season in the process.
SWEET INTO THE ROTATION: Friday starter Devin Sweet will make his second career Minor League start against the Lakewood BlueClaws tonight. After filling a spot start role in the Power's first half finale against Hagerstown June 16, the right-hander was officially shifted into the rotation after spinning five scoreless innings and allowing just two hits. Sweet made 34 career relief appearances before his first start, posting a career 4.25 ERA as a pro reliever.
POWER POINTS: West Virginia is 15-9 in one-run games. Four of their seven contests with Lakewood have been decided by one run (3-1)... The Power was walked off on for the fifth time (4-5)... West Virginia went 3-for-14 with RISP.
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