Game Notes (September 1)
The Power continues their four-game series with the Greensboro Grasshoppers Sunday afternoon at Appalachian Power Park, with first pitch set for 2:05 p.m. RHP Evan Johnson (1-4, 4.86 ERA) takes the hill for West Virginia, while RHP Steven Jennings (7-11, 4.68 ERA) goes for Greensboro.
STRONG PITCHING NOT ENOUGH IN 3-1 LOSS : Christian Pedrol spun a quality start in his Low-A debut, but West Virginia's offense was quiet again in a 3-1 loss to the Greensboro Grasshoppers Saturday night at Appalachian Power Park. The Power got on the board in the opening frame, as Mike Salvatore worked a one-out walk and came around to score on a pair of singles from Ryan Ramiz and Matt Sanders to make it 1-0 West Virginia. Pedrol fired two scoreless frames to begin his night and picked up four strikeouts, but Greensboro managed to respond in the third. With two down in the inning, the Grasshoppers executed a delayed steal with Jonah Davis getting caught in a rundown that allowed Kyle Mottice to come in and tie the game at one. In the fourth, Greensboro went back to the long ball, as Luke Mangieri and Grant Koch hit back-to-back homers, giving the Grasshoppers a 3-1 lead they would not relinquish. Pedrol finished with six solid innings, ceding just five hits, while Tyler Driver coughed up just one hit in his three innings of relief. Meanwhile, Will Kobos allowed just one run on three hits to pick up the win, and three Greensboro relievers kept the Power at bay over the final four frames, giving up one hit, while Yerry De Los Santos notched his 13th save in as many tries.
THAT'S OUR ALL-STAR : Bobby Honeyman has been one of the most consistent hitters in the SAL in the second half. Since July 3, the third baseman is boasting a .320 clip (56-for-175), the fourth-highest mark in the league in this span, with two homers and 22 RBI. He also a hit in 36 of those 45 games. On Tuesday, 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. He 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).
SURGING SANDERS : Sanders has put together quite the stretch run for West Virginia. The infielder has hit safely in 25 of his last 31 contests and is averaging .300 (36-for-120), the 13th-best mark in the SAL in that stretch (July 28-current), with three homers and 12 RBI. Sanders tied Onil Pena for the team lead with three homers and led the squad with 11 RBI in the month of August. He was the only active Power hitter to have an average above .300 (.302) in the season's penultimate month.
GROSS......GRASSHOPPERS!: West Virginia has not enjoyed facing the Greensboro Grasshoppers in 2019. The Northern Division foe won the first nine meetings between these two clubs and has taken five of the last six meetings. Greensboro is the only team in the league to have swept the Power twice this year, tallying a combined run differential of -29 in those two broomings. As a team, West Virginia has a 6.53 ERA against the Grasshoppers, who are holding a steady .315 stroke against the Power. Overall, Greensboro has outscored West Virginia by 46 runs in their 19 meetings, by far the biggest negative margin the Power has against an opponent this season.
ANOTHER DEBUT, ANOTHER QUALITY START : Pedrol's quality start in his Low-A debut yesterday continued a recent trend for West Virginia, as Pedrol became the fourth Power pitcher in the last few weeks to hurl a quality start in his first Low-A start, joining Matt Martin (6 IP, 2H, 4K vs. Hagerstown on August 17), Bernie Martinez (6 IP, 4H, 1ER, 5K vs. Hagerstown on August 18) and Juan Then (6 IP, 3H, 1ER, 6K at Charleston on August 21). Pedrol struck out a career-best nine batters Saturday as well.
JOB WELL DONE FOR JOHNSON : Sunday starter Evan Johnson was outstanding in his eighth Low-A start for West Virginia last time out, blowing past his previous career-high of 5.2 innings (July 24 at Hickory) with his 7.2-inning gem August 25 vs. the Lakewood BlueClaws. The former Creighton Blue Jay recorded four 1-2-3 stanzas, and registered a career-best 101 pitches.
THE END OF THE ROAD : West Virginia concludes its 2019 season with this series against the Greensboro Grasshoppers at Appalachian Power Park. The Power has already secured a winning record at home (currently 36-32 with two games to play). West Virginia has notched a winning record at home in four of the last five seasons (2017, 34-36). Conversely, the Power ended their road swing with a 31-38 mark, the first losing record on the road since 2016 (31-39). In addition, with yesterday's loss, the Power locked in an overall losing record for the first time since 2014 (54-81).
POWER POINTS : Charlie McConnell has not committed an error in 80 straight games (dating back to 5/15 at CSC)... West Virginia's offense has been abysmal across their last five games, averaging .149 (21-for-141) with 49 strikeouts.
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