West Virginia Power: Game Notes (August 10)
Following a twin bill sweep of the Greensboro Grasshoppers, West Virginia embarks on a four-game series against the Rome Braves, with first pitch from State Mutual Stadium set for 7 p.m. this evening. LHP Oddy Nunez (0-0, 1.50 ERA) toes the rubber for the Power.
FOUR-RUN THIRD SECURES 5-3 WIN IN OPENER: West Virginia capitalized on a four-run third inning, during which they sent nine men to the plate, to claim a 5-3 victory in the twin bill opener against the Greensboro Grasshoppers. After Greensboro took an early 2-0 lead in the first and the Power cut that deficit in half on Raul Hernandez's RBI single in the second, the offense went to work in the third. With one down, Kyle Watson, Oneil Cruz and Lolo Sanchez connected for three straight singles, loading the bases for Calvin Mitchell. Mitchell then grounded one to second base, but Chris Torres' throw was off the mark, allowing Watson and Cruz to score and vault West Virginia back in front, 3-2. Deon Stafford kept the inning going with an RBI single before Rodolfo Castro brought in Mitchell with a sacrifice fly to cap the scoring. Travis MacGregor took a no-hitter through three innings before allowing his only hit of the night to Will Banfield, a solo home run in the fourth, that closed the gap to 5-3. Elvis Escobar and Beau Sulser shined in relief, setting down all nine batters they faced over the final three innings while fanning five.
POWER CLAIMS SWEEP IN BACK-AND-FORTH AFFAIR: Thanks to two runs in the sixth and a lockdown effort from Joel Cesar, the Power secured an offensive slugfest in the twin bill finale, winning it 9-7 to complete the doubleheader sweep over the Greensboro Grasshoppers Thursday evening at First National Bank Field. West Virginia grabbed an early 1-0 lead on an RBI single from Robbie Glendinning in the first and quickly extended it to 3-0 as Jesse Medrano popped a wall-scraping home run to right field in the second. The Grasshoppers fought back for two in the bottom of the second before tallying three in the fourth against Max Kranick to chase him from the game and retake the lead at 5-3. The Power's offense came alive again, however, notching a four-run fifth with all nine men coming to the dish. Fabricio Macias started the frame with a double before swiping third base. Mitchell then doubled him in before Stafford singled him to third and Glendinning brought him home with a base knock. Ben Bengtson sacrificed Stafford and Glendinning into scoring position for Rafelin Lorenzo, who socked a single to left that scored them both and pushed the Power ahead, 7-5. Greensboro came right back and tied it in the bottom of the frame on a solo home run from Isael Soto and a run-scoring single by Marcos Rivera, but West Virginia would have the last laugh, tallying two in the sixth on a pair of RBI doubles from Mitchell and Glendinning. Cesar fired two blank innings and picked up his second save of the season, while Drew Fischer secured the victory after hurling 1.2 innings of relief.
WELCOME BACK, DEON: Since his return from the DL August 4, Stafford has been an instant rejuvenation for the Power's lineup. Stafford is 6-for-16 (.375) in his five August contests with two home runs, four RBI and six runs scored along with a 1.257 OPS. The Pennsylvania native has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games, dating back to July 14.
HOLY HOMERS: Medrano's home run was his second of the season and of his MiLB career. West Virginia now has 74 home runs as a team this year, tied with Delmarva for eighth-best in the South Atlantic League (Asheville, 124). Every active Power has at least one home run with the Power this season. Cruz leads West Virginia with 14 homers.
DH STANDS FOR DESIGNATED HERNANDEZ: Hernandez has been a force as the designated hitter for the Power this season. In six starts as the DH, the backstop is averaging .550 (11-for-20) with a double and three RBI, including a 2-for-2 effort with a double and an RBI in Thursday's twin bill opener. Hernandez has mashed since coming off the shelf in early July, boasting a .366 (26-for-71) clip with a home run and 14 RBI in 20 second-half contests.
SHUT DOWN SULSER: Since a tough outing July 25 in Kannapolis, Sulser has regained his dominance and claimed the role of West Virginia's primary closer after Matt Seelinger was dealt to the Tampa Bay Rays. In four appearances since that walk-off loss, Sulser has ceded one run on four hits over 7.2 innings (1.17 ERA) and registered 16 strikeouts.
DEAR JOHN: RHP John Pomeroy was added to West Virginia's active roster Wednesday morning from the West Virginia Black Bears. In 15 games in Morgantown, Pomeroy went 0-2 with a 4.70 ERA over 15.1 innings pitched. However, he did not allow a run in his final five games that he appeared in with the Black Bears. Pomeroy missed all of last season after he had Tommy John surgery April 19, 2017. He made 23 relief appearances in three seasons at Oregon State and became the sixth Beaver in program history drafted by the Pirates when he was taken in 2016.
POWER POINTS: West Virginia is 20-0 in games where its offense tallies eight runs or more... The Power is 17-10 in games decided by two runs, holding the second-best winning percentage (.630) to Lakewood (15-7, .682)... Following last night's twin bill sweep, West Virginia sits 3.5 games back of Kannapolis for the second-best overall record in the SAL Northern Division Standings. If Lakewood wins the Northern Division in the second half, the Power would need to overtake Kannapolis to claim a wild card playoff berth.
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