West Virginia Claims Series Behind Twin Bill Sweep of Greensboro
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Thanks to a pair of four-run innings and stellar relief from Elvis Escobar, Beau Sulser and Joel Cesar, West Virginia swept a doubleheader against the Greensboro Grasshoppers, taking game one, 5-3, before claiming the finale, 9-7, at First National Bank Field Thursday evening.
Game 1: WEST VIRGINIA 5, GREENSBORO 3 (F/7)
Greensboro (21-21, 55-56) struck in the opening frame against Travis MacGregor, plating a pair of runs without the use of a hit. After MacGregor issued a leadoff walk to Connor Scott, Thomas Jones dribbled a ground ball in front of the pitcher's mound. MacGregor fielded it cleanly, but his throw to first sailed well wide of Kyle Watson and into right field, allowing Scott to reach third base and Jones to head to second. Osiris Johnson and Isael Soto then followed with back-to-back RBI groundouts to push the Grasshoppers ahead 2-0.
West Virginia (20-24, 57-53) responded in the top of the second, as Deon Stafford continued his hot stretch in the month of August with a leadoff single off Sean Guenther (2-2). After Rodolfo Castro moved him to second with a groundout, Raul Hernandez hopped a grounder over the glove of Will Allen at first to bring in Stafford and shrink the deficit to 2-1.
The Power kept things rolling in the third, tacking on four runs in the frame. With one down in the inning, Watson, Oneil Cruz and Lolo Sanchez posted three straight singles to load the bases for Calvin Mitchell. Mitchell then grounded one to the second baseman, Chris Torres, whose throw to second was off the mark, letting Watson and Cruz scoot around the bases and give West Virginia a 3-2 lead.
Stafford then added his second single of the game to send in Sanchez before Castro lofted a sacrifice fly to cap the scoring in the inning and extend the Power's edge to 5-2.
Despite ceding two runs in the opening frame, MacGregor held Greensboro hitless through the first three innings. Will Banfield ended that emphatically in the bottom of the fourth with a solo home run to right-center field that closed West Virginia's lead to 5-3.
MacGregor was ultimately relieved after the fourth inning, allowing just the one hit and three runs (one earned) while walking a career-high four batters and striking out two.
Elvis Escobar (1-1) took over in the fifth inning and mowed through all six Grasshoppers he faced with three strikeouts. Beau Sulser (S, 5) finished off the win with a perfect seventh inning to pick up his fifth save in seven opportunities.
Game 2: WEST VIRGINIA 9, GREENSBORO 7 (F/7)
The Power's offense continued rolling in game two, scoring a run in the opening frame. Fabricio Macias led off the first inning with a base knock and moved to second base thanks to a wild pitch from Ethan Clark. Robbie Glendinning then slapped a single to the shortstop, Osiris Johnson, that allowed Macias to come home and put West Virginia (21-24, 58-53) up 1-0.
In the second, Jesse Medrano popped a wall-scrapping homer over the right-field wall to increase the Power's lead to 3-0.
Greensboro's offense woke up in the second as Marcos Rivera slammed his 11th homer of the year, a two-run shot, to cut West Virginia's lead to 3-2.
The Grasshoppers (21-22, 55-57) added three in the bottom of the fourth to take a 5-3 lead. Max Kranick walked Isael Soto with the bases juiced to bring Johnson home before Drew Fischer (2-1), who came on in relief, issued a bases-loaded walk to Bubba Hollins that brought in Soto. Fischer then offered a wild pitch, allowing Chris Torres to score.
West Virginia would respond, however, tallying six runs between the fifth and sixth innings. In the fifth, all nine Power batters stepped up to the dish. The first four reached safely as Macias doubled before Calvin Mitchell hit his own two-bagger to score him. Glendinning then pushed Mitchell in after lashing a single to left. Rafelin Lorenzo followed that by lining a base hit to left that scored Deon Stafford and Robbie Glendinning, vaulting West Virginia back ahead at 7-5.
Fischer would retire Greensboro in the fourth and set down the first two he faced in the fifth. After that, Soto homered to cut the Power's lead to 7-6. Torres extended the inning with a walk before Rivera tied the game with a base knock that plated Torres.
In the sixth, Macias led off with a walk before Mitchell roped an RBI double off Michael Mertz (2-5) to send him home. Later in the inning, after Stafford reached on a fielder's choice, Glendinning laced a run-scoring double to scoot West Virginia in front, 9-7, a lead they would never relinquish.
Joel Cesar (S, 2) closed the contest out. The Dominican native pitched two scoreless frames to complete the Power's doubleheader sweep of the Grasshoppers.
West Virginia now hits the road for Rome, Ga., where the club will begin a four-game series against the Rome Braves Friday night. First pitch from State Mutual Stadium is set for 7 p.m. The Power has yet to announce their starter for the series opener, while the Braves are sending RHP Jasseel De La Cruz (3-4, 5.37 ERA) to the slab. Pregame coverage begins at 6:40 p.m. on The Jock 1300 and 1340 AM, as well as online at www.wvpower.com and via the TuneIn Radio App and MiLB First Pitch App.
The Power returns home Wednesday, August 15, for the start of a seven-game homestand against the Columbia Fireflies and Charleston River Dogs. The homestand begins with Pets in the Park Night August 15 and ends with a Rock 105 Two for Tuesday August 21. The home stretch is highlighted with a Trevor Hoffman figurine giveaway as a part of the Power's Wheelers Weekend celebration August 18. The first 1,000 fans will receive the figurine, courtesy of Charleston Building and Construction Trades Council. For tickets and more information, call the Power at 304-344-2287 or visit wvpower.com.
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