West Virginia Power: Game Notes (August 1)
West Virginia goes for its fourth series sweep of the season in the finale against the Columbia Fireflies tonight, with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. from Spirit Communications Park. RHP Sergio Cubilete (3-4, 5.23 ERA) takes the hill for the Power.
SULSER DOMINATES IN EXTRA-INNINGS WIN: West Virginia's offense managed just one hit through eight innings, but its bullpen, led by Beau Sulser's 3.2 scoreless innings, sent the game into extras, where the Power's offense awakened and guided West Virginia to a 3-1 win in 10 innings over the Columbia Fireflies Tuesday evening at Spirit Communications Park. The Power's first run came on their first hit, a blooped double to left by newcomer Jhoan Herrera in the second that tied the game at one. Hunter Stratton then kept the game tied at one with five solid innings of work, at one point retiring eight straight batters. Drew Fischer entered in the sixth and worked 1.1 frames, but had to exit with the bases loaded in the seventh and one down. Sulser came on and slammed the door on Columbia's rally, inducing a double play pop out to Oneil Cruz at shortstop. Sulser then breezed through the eighth and ninth innings to send the game to extras. In the 10th, Raul Hernandez started the inning at second base as the placed on runner. The first batter of the frame, Robbie Glendinning, roped a triple to center to put the Power up 2-1. Fabricio Macias replicated that effort moments later, adding an insurance tally for West Virginia. Sulser finished off the 'Flies in the bottom of the 10th with a 1-2-3 inning to secure the Power's second straight series win.
SURGING SULSER: Sulser has seen a solid turnaround since a tough outing in Kannapolis July 25. On Tuesday, the Dartmouth product fired 3.2 shutout frames, allowing just two hits and striking out a career-best seven batters. Additionally, he inherited three runners on base when he came out of the bullpen in the seventh and did not allow any of them to score. Overall, Sulser has inherited 13 runners this season and none of them have been able to come home. The Power reliever has only surrendered an earned run in seven of his 26 appearances this year.
PITCH (NEARLY) PERFECT: Over its last 28 innings, West Virginia's pitching staff has ceded just two runs (0.64 ERA) while receiving fantastic contributions from their starters and relievers. All three starters (Max Kranick, Domingo Robles and Stratton) have gone at least five innings and did not surrender more than one run or four hits. Meanwhile, the bullpen has not coughed up a run in its last five games. Sulser, Matt Seelinger, Oddy Nunez, Elvis Escobar, Fischer and Joel Cesar have all contributed to the relief corps' stellar run of late. Entering Friday's series opener with Asheville, the Power pen had posted a 5.10 ERA over their first 32 second-half contests. In these last five games, West Virginia's bullpen has tossed 18 scoreless innings, bringing its second half ERA down to 4.34.
MITCHELL RETURNING TO FORM: After slumping for a majority of July, Calvin Mitchell has started to find his stroke again. The Pirates' 10th-best prospect per MLB.com has reached safely in each of his last 13 games, while recording a hit in eight of his last 10. Over those last 13 games, Mitchell is averaging .310 (13-for-42) with three RBI.
CRIKEY, THAT'S GOOD STUFF MATE: Glendinning has been a very solid addition since joining the Power July 19 from the West Virginia Black Bears. In the 10 games since his promotion, the Australian native is averaging .333 (11-for-33) with a home run and five RBI, as well as three multi-hit games over his last five starts. In those last five contests, Glendinning is boasting a ridiculous .429 (9-for-21) stroke with a home run, five RBI and three runs scored.
SWIPING SANCHEZ: Lolo Sanchez stole two bases Tuesday night, upping his team-best total to 23. Sanchez swiped two bags in a game for the seventh time in his career and sixth time in 2018. The Dominican native's 23 stolen bases are third-best in the South Atlantic League (Kirvin Moesquit, 38, Delmarva and Yonny Hernandez, 31, Hickory) and fifth-highest in the Pirates organization. Sanchez has already well surpassed his season high from a year ago, when he took 14 bases with the GCL Pirates. In 183 career Minor League games, Sanchez has 41 stolen bases in 66 tries (62%).
BREAK OUT THE BROOMS: Winners of four of their last five games, West Virginia has an opportunity to sweep the Columbia Fireflies with a win Wednesday night. The Power has not swept a series since claiming the first three games of the second half against Hickory June 21-23 at L.P. Frans Stadium. Overall, West Virginia has dolled out three series broomings, with all three coming on the road (May 9-11 in Hagerstown and June 11-14 in Augusta).
DON'T STOP BELIEVING: Despite the Power's 10-18 mark in July, history gives this team plenty of optimism. A year ago, West Virginia went 13-15 in July and still kept themselves in postseason contention by claiming 22 of their final 34 games, which included a 19-10 record in August. The Power has 32 games left in the 2018 regular season.
POWER POINTS: West Virginia went 2-for-7 with RISP... Cruz and Hernandez recorded the team's 74th double play of the year.
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