West Virginia Power: Game Notes (July 12)

July 12, 2018 - South Atlantic League (SAL) - West Virginia Power News Release

West Virginia plays the middle match of its three-game series with the Hickory Crawdads tonight at L.P. Frans Stadium, with RHP Hunter Stratton (3-3, 5.66 ERA) on the hill for the Power. First pitch is set for 7 p.m., and full games notes are attached.

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BENGTSON, CASTRO HOMER IN 9-3 LOSS: West Virginia built an early 3-1 lead thanks to a pair of homers from Ben Bengtson and Rodolfo Castro, but Hickory rallied for four runs in the fourth and rolled from there to a 9-3 win in the series opener Wednesday evening at L.P. Frans Stadium. Bengtson stroked his two-run homer in the second, while Castro ripped his long ball in the third off Crawdads starter Noah Bremer. Hickory woke up in the fourth and tagged Max Kranick for four runs in the frame to take the lead for good. West Virginia did not muster another baserunner after the third inning, as the Crawdads set down the final 19 Power batters in order to finish off the win. Kranick departed after five innings, in which he allowed five runs on a career-high tying eight hits with three strikeouts. Samuel Reyes tossed the sixth and seventh innings and surrendered one run on three hits, while Joel Cesar coughed up a three-run bomb to Bubba Thompson in the eighth, his lone inning of work.

SOARING SANCHEZ CRASHES DOWN: After going 0-for-3 Wednesday with two strikeouts, Lolo Sanchez saw his on-base streak snapped at 16 games, tied with Bengtson and Oneil Cruz for the second-longest streak on the team in 2018. Sanchez's streak dated back to June 21, the first day of the second half. During this span, Sanchez averaged .314 (16-for-51) with a home run, seven RBI and an .848 OPS.

HOLY HOMERS: Bengtson and Castro's home runs tallied West Virginia's 62nd and 63rd long balls of the season, tied with Delmarva and Lakewood for sixth-best in the SAL (Asheville, 96; Lexington, 93; Hickory, 73; Augusta and Rome, 64). Bengtson launched his first home run since April 28 in Lexington, while Castro clubbed his first dinger since July 6 vs. Lexington. Bengtson has hit all three of his home runs in 2018 away from Appalachian Power Park. Fabricio Macias and Raul Hernandez are the only two active Power batters without a home run this season.

DOG DAYS OF SUMMER: After posting a June Power-era best 19-8 record last month, West Virginias has struggled to start the second summer month. Currently, the Power are 3-7 in July, tied with Rome for the worst record in the month thus far. West Virginia possesses the worst batting average and ERA in the South Atlantic League in July at .189 and 5.22, respectively. Only two Power batters are hitting over .280 in July, with Jesse Medrano boasting a .294 average with a homer and four RBI and Hernandez holding a .500 clip thus far with a pair of RBI. In contrast, Deon Stafford and Macias have the lowest averages on the team in July, putting up miniscule .074 and .087 marks, respectively.

RAIN, RAIN GO AWAY: With yesterday's 19-minute pregame delay, West Virginia has now had 25 games postponed, suspended, cancelled or delayed in 2018. The most games affected in a single season in Power history (2005-present) is 27, occurring in both 2013 and 2014.

PLAYER OF THE MONTH: Cruz was named the South Atlantic League's Player of the Month for June, Minor League Baseball announced Monday. During the month, Cruz boasted a .375 average with three home runs and 19 RBI along with a 1.025 OPS. The Dominican native is the first Power player to receive this honor since RHP Mitch Keller in April 2016. Cruz's average and OPS during the season's third month were second only to Lakewood's Rodolfo Duran (.397 AVG and 1.298 OPS). The 19-year-old hit safely in 20 of his 25 June contests, including a 12-game hitting streak from June 8-23, where he boasted a .426 (23-for-54) clip. In 2018, Cruz has set new career-highs in home runs (11) and RBI (53), both of which rank in the top 10 in the South Atlantic League and the Pittsburgh Pirates system. His .300 average is tied with Luis Gonzalez for eighth-best in the SAL, while sitting fifth-best in the Pirates ranks. Since May 1, Cruz is averaging .329, the fourth-highest league average during that span, with seven homers and 36 RBI.

HANRAHAN TABBED TO LEAD U.S. TEAM BULLPEN IN FUTURES GAME: Power pitching coach Joel Hanrahan has been selected as the Bullpen Coach for the United States team at the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, taking place on Sunday, July 15, at 4 p.m. at Nationals Park during All-Star Weekend. Hanrahan will man the relief corps for the U.S. squad and is joined on the roster by former Power players RHP Mitch Keller and INF Ke'Bryan Hayes.

POWER POINTS: West Virginia allowed a season-high 15 hits in Wednesday's loss... The Power are 5-2 after off days in 2018... West Virginia's bullpen has posted a 5.26 ERA in 19 second-half contests after holding a 3.39 mark in the first half... The Power did not commit an error in a game for the 28th time this season. West Virginia is 17-11 when the team does not make a single miscue... Thursday starter Hunter Stratton spun his only career quality start against the Crawdads on June 23 in Hickory, going six innings and allowing two runs while striking out six batters.

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