Power Slam Spoils Shorebirds' Party
CHARLESTON, WV - Six outs away from clinching the division, the Delmarva Shorebirds saw their three-run lead vaporized in the bottom of the eighth, losing to the West Virginia Power 5-4 on Monday night at Appalachian Power Park.
Down 4-1 and on the verge of seeing another team celebrate on their home turf, the Power (31-33) sprung into action against Matthew Hammonds. Bobby Honeyman led off the eighth with a single, then Onil Pena followed with his own base knock. Charlie McConnell walked on four pitches to load the bases, and the Shorebirds (46-17) made a move to Tim Naughton out of the bullpen. On a 2-0 pitch, Jake Anchia attacked a high fastball and bashed a grand slam to left field, giving West Virginia a 5-4 lead.
Stunned, the Shorebirds could muster little offense against Power closer David Ellingson in the ninth, bowing in order and leaving the Northern Division crown on the table for one more day.
Sal Biasi (4-1) kept it within striking distance for the Power, scattering three hits across three scoreless innings with no walks and one strikeout. Naughton (3-3) blew just his second save of the year and first in eight straight opportunities, surrendering the go-ahead blast to Anchia. Ellingson's save was his fourth of the year.
The would-be party started early for Delmarva as Robbie Thorburn clubbed a leadoff home run in the first, the second time this year Thorburn began the game with the longball. In the top of the fourth, Seamus Curran fisted a double down the left field line to lead off, and Nick Horvath split the left center gap to follow for an RBI two-sacker, making it 2-0 Shorebirds.
In the fifth, Cadyn Grenier and Jean Carlos Encarnacion put together back-to-back opposite field home runs to right, the first back-to-back jacks for the Shorebirds this year, padding the lead at 4-0.
McConnell sparked the West Virginia offense with a solo homer off the right field foul pole to lead off the sixth, setting up the Power thunderbolt in the eighth.
Thorburn, Grenier, and Encarnacion each had another hit to go along with their solo homers, while Horvath finished 2-for-4 with a double, RBI, and stolen base.
Anchia's grand slam was the ninth home run of the season for the All-Star catcher.
Delmarva starter Grayson Rodriguez endured a high pitch count but still put together four scoreless innings in a no-decision. The Orioles' No. 4 prospect gave up just one hit while walking three, hitting two batters, and striking out six on 93 pitches.
The Power's Ryne Inman gave up four runs on seven hits in his five-inning no-decision, including the three Shorebird home runs.
With third-place Hickory's 5-2 loss at Greensboro, the Crawdads are eliminated from the postseason picture in the first half. Second-place Greensboro, who carries an elimination number of one, would have to win their final six in a row against six straight Delmarva losses in order to claim the division title.
The Shorebirds will try for the clincher again as they take on the Power on Tuesday night. Drew Rom (4-0, 1.36) gets the start for Delmarva in tandem with Gray Fenter (5-1, 2.09) against West Virginia's Damon Cassetta-Stubbs (2-5, 8.22). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m., and pregame coverage on Fox Sports 960 AM and the MiLB First Pitch App begins at 6:50 with Will DeBoer on the call.
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