Game Notes (September 2)
The Power concludes the 2019 regular season this afternoon against the Greensboro Grasshoppers at Appalachian Power Park, with first pitch set for 2:05 p.m. RHP Juan Then (0-2, 3.27 ERA) heads to the hill for West Virginia, while RHP Winston Nicacio (2-2, 2.64 ERA) opposes for Greensboro.
OFFENSE AWAKENS IN 7-3 WIN SUNDAY : Bobby Honeyman posted his second four-hit game of the season and Matt Sanders smacked his fifth home run with the Power to guide West Virginia to a 7-3 win over the Greensboro Grasshoppers Sunday afternoon at Appalachian Power Park in the season's penultimate game. Greensboro took an early 2-0 lead against Evan Johnson, as a wild pitch and a RBI single by Justin Harrer gave them two runs in the second. Meanwhile, Steven Jennings kept the Power's offense at bay over the first three frames, holding them to one hit. With two outs in the fourth, West Virginia's sluggers came to life, stringing together four straight knocks. Sanders started the rally with a double, while Honeyman singled him in to cut the deficit in half. Dean Nevarez kept the inning alive with a base hit, and Onil Pena doubled in Honeyman and Nevarez to vault the Power ahead 3-2. West Virginia extended its lead with another three-run stanza in the sixth, as Honeyman and Nevarez each provided run-scoring singles, while Nick Rodriguez ripped an RBI double to left. The Grasshoppers got one back in the seventh on Jack Herman's solo homer, but Sanders answered with his long ball in the eighth. Meanwhile, the Power's bullpen provided four solid innings of relief in place of Johnson, as Ben Onyshko, Elvis Alvarado and Sal Biasi held Greensboro to four hits and struck out six.
THAT'S OUR ALL-STAR : Honeyman has been one of the most consistent hitters in the SAL in the second half. The 2018 29th round selection recorded his second four-hit game of the season (July 15), as well as West Virginia's seventh of the year (Jarred Kelenic, Nevarez, Julio Rodriguez, David Sheaffer and Cesar Trejo). Since July 3, the third baseman is boasting a .335 clip (60-for-179), the third-highest mark in the league in this span, with two homers and 24 RBI. He also has a hit in 37 of those 46 games. With his 4-for-4 effort Sunday, Honeyman collected his 32nd multi-hit game of the season, the most on the team. Last 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 26 of his last 32 contests and is averaging .315 (39-for-124), the sixth-best mark in the SAL in that stretch (July 28-current), with four homers and 13 RBI. Sanders tied 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.
THE LONG BALL : Sanders' homer was West Virginia's 103rd home run of the season, third-most in the South Atlantic League (Greensboro, 127 and Hickory, 141). The Power has now hit 58 homers in 69 games at Appalachian Power Park, the fourth-best home run total at home in the league (Hickory, 81 in 65 games at L.P. Frans Stadium). The only West Virginia team that had more homers at home in a single season was the 2007 squad, who blasted 63 dingers in 70 games. The Power's 103 homers are the third-highest home run total by the club (128 in 2007 and 105 in 2010) in Power history.
THEN ON THE BUMP FOR FINALE : Mariners' No. 16 prospect (per MLB.com) RHP Juan Then will toe the rubber for West Virginia in its season finale against the Greensboro Grasshoppers Monday afternoon. Then is 0-2 with a 3.27 ERA in two starts for the Power, but has pitched very well in both outings despite the decisions. In his Low-A debut August 21 at Charleston, the righty spun a quality start (6 IP, 3H, 1R, 6K), and took a perfect game into the fifth, but West Virginia lost 1-0. In his second outing last week against Lexington, Then allowed three runs on four hits over five innings, but punched out five batters. Overall, he has struck out one batter per inning with the Power, and allowed hitters a .175 average against him.
THE END OF THE ROAD : West Virginia concludes its 2019 season this afternoon against the Greensboro Grasshoppers at Appalachian Power Park. The Power has already secured a winning record at home (currently 37-32). 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, their first losing record on the road since 2016 (31-39). In addition, with Saturday's loss, the Power locked in an overall losing record for the first time since 2014, when they went 54-81.
POWER POINTS : Charlie McConnell has not committed an error in 81 straight games (dating back to 5/15 at CSC)... West Virginia is 10-4 all-time in regular season finales, including 6-1 at home (currently on a three-game winning streak at home) and 2-0 vs. Greensboro (both at Appalachian Power Park).
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