Game Notes (May 22)
The Power continues their four-game series against the Greensboro Grasshoppers Wednesday evening at Appalachian Power Park, with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. LHP Steven Moyers (3-3, 4.40 ERA) takes the hill for West Virginia.
GRASSHOPPERS BASH POWER IN OPENER: Jarred Kelenic, Charlie McConnell and Nick Rodriguez all went deep for West Virginia, but Greensboro poured it on early and hung on for a 10-7 win in the series opener Tuesday evening at Appalachian Power Park. The Grasshoppers pounced for four runs in the first against Damon Casetta-Stubbs, as the first four batters all reached and scored in the opening frame. The Power got one back in the bottom of the first on McConnell's leadoff home run, his first of the season, but Greensboro answered with a single tally in the top of the second. West Virginia pulled within three on Kelenic's no-doubter in the bottom of the fourth, but again, the Grasshoppers responded emphatically, plating four more runs in the fifth and one in the sixth against Ben Onyshko and Matthew Willrodt. However, the Power roared back in the eighth, knocking in three on a two-run double from Jake Anchia and a dropped pop up by Mason Martin at first base. In the ninth, Rodriguez slammed a two-run shot to close the gap to three again against Braeden Ogle, but West Virginia could not complete their valiant comeback, as Yerry De Los Santos relieved Ogle and secured the final two outs for the Grasshoppers.
HOMER HAPPY AT HOME: With their trio of homers last night, West Virginia now has 23 homers in 21 home games this season, third-most in the South Atlantic League behind Greensboro (30) and the Hickory Crawdads (29). The Power's 37 overall dingers are also third-most in the league behind the same two teams. Five of Kelenic's eight long balls this season have come in Charleston, W.Va., contributing to the outfielder's .382 clip at home vs. a .227 road mark.
LEADING OFF: McConnell launched the first leadoff home run for West Virginia since Oneil Cruz cranked one out in the bottom of the first July 29, 2018, against the Asheville Tourists. The Northeastern product blasted his fifth career Minor League home run in his 97th professional game after going yard four times with Short-Season Everett last season.
ALMIGHTY ANCHIA: Anchia has been on quite the tear recently, averaging .361 (13-for-36) in his last 10 games with five homers and 14 RBI. The backstop recorded his first career multi-homer game May 9 in the twin bill opener against Augusta, becoming the third Power batter to do so this season (Dean Nevarez, April 26 vs. Asheville and Kelenic, April 27 vs. Asheville). Anchia is the first batter to homer in back-to-back at-bats since Trae Arbet on April 12, 2017, vs. Asheville. The Nova Southeastern product collected a career-best five RBI May 9 as well, the first West Virginia slugger to accomplish the feat since Deon Stafford's six-RBI effort August 11, 2018, at Rome.
TAGGING @CUT4 ON TWITTER: Rodriguez cemented himself into the Power record books last night, joining the rarified group of position players who have come in to pitch in a regulation game. Rodriguez tossed a scoreless ninth inning in his MiLB pitching debut despite allowing two hits. The infielder had not previously pitched in a game since high school, though he was mainly the starting shortstop during his tenure at John F. Kennedy High School in California. The last position player to pitch for West Virginia was Ryan Peurifoy, who earned the win May 3, 2018, vs. Augusta.
HISTORY IS WRITTEN: As if coming in to pitch in the ninth wasn't enough, Rodriguez doubled down on his epic ninth inning by stroking his first home run of the season 403 feet to left-center field. With that roundtripper, Rodriguez becomes the first pitcher to hit homer in a game in South Atlantic League history, dating back to 2005 when statistical records were established. The San Fernando, Calif., native has reached base safely in 11 of his last 12 games, dating back to May 5. In that span, Rodriguez has posted a .275 (11-for-40) average with six RBI, three runs scored and three doubles.
THE SCRIPT HAS BEEN FLIPPED: After posting the second-lowest ERA (2.59) in the league in April, West Virginia's pitching staff has been battered around to the tune of a 4.80 mark in May, the second-highest ERA in that span (Greenville Drive, 5.16). The Power's starting rotation has taken the brunt of this avalanche, with their ERA ballooning from 2.63 to 4.23 in the season's second month, an increase of 160 points.
A QUALITY GUY: Steven Moyers fired his fifth quality start of the season last Friday against the Greenville Drive, tied for the most this season by a Power starter with Clay Chandler, and his fourth in his last five outings. The University of Rhode Island product has also worked at least six innings in a start five consecutive times. Moyers notched nine strikeouts in a game for the second time this season (April 13 against Augusta). The southpaw has preferred pitching at home this year, posting a 2-1 record with 0.95 ERA in three starts compared to a 2-1 record and 6.75 mark in five road games.
POWER POINT: Bobby Honeyman had his eight-game hitting streak and nine-game on-base streak snapped Tuesday.
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