WEST VIRGINIA POWER: Game Notes (July 26)
West Virginia concludes its four-game series with Kannapolis this evening with its second straight doubleheader at Intimidators Stadium. First pitch of game one is set for 5:05 p.m. with RHP Hunter Stratton (4-3, 5.25 ERA) on the mound, while RHP Sergio Cubilete (2-4, 5.40 ERA) gets the call in game two for the Power.
KANNAPOLIS WALKS IT OFF IN GAME ONE: Domingo Robles was brilliant through seven innings in game one of Wednesday's twin bill, but the Intimidators were able to get to Beau Sulser in the eighth inning and walk it off on a grand slam by Luis Curbelo to claim a 6-2 victory. The Intimidators scored their only run against Robles in the first after Nick Madrigal grounded into a double play that sent in Ian Dawkins. Afterwards, Robles was light out, tossing seven innings and allowing just five hits while striking out four and walking one. The Power tied it up in the fifth on a sacrifice fly from Kyle Watson that plated Rodolfo Castro, who had tripled to start the inning. In the eighth, Ryan Peurifoy doubled in Castro, who was the placed on runner at second base, to give West Virginia a 2-1 edge. However, in the bottom of the frame, Sulser could not record an out, ceding an RBI double to Johan Cruz that tied the game at two before Curbelo drilled his walk-off grand slam to cap the five-run decisive inning for the Intimidators.
POWER COMEBACK FALLS SHORT IN NIGHTCAP: West Virginia erased a five-run deficit in game two of Wednesday's doubleheader at Intimidators Stadium, but Los Rapidos de Kannapolis etched a run across in the bottom of the sixth to eke out an 8-7 win and complete the twin bill sweep, handing the Power their fifth straight loss. West Virginia struck first in the third inning, as Lolo Sanchez ripped a double down the left field line that ended up scoring Fabricio Macias after Cruz's throw airmailed the cutoff man, and Calvin Mitchell singled in Sanchez to push the Power in front 2-0. Los Rapidos de Kannapolis responded in sound fashion, tallying seven runs in their half of the third, tied for the most runs West Virginia has given up in an inning this season (April 29, 1st inning at Lexington). Dawkins and Curbelo stroked back-to-back doubles before Craig Dedelow smashed a two-run homer to right that vaulted the I's ahead, 4-2. Later in the inning, Cruz drove in a pair with a soft liner to center before coming home a few minutes later on a balk by Joel Cesar. The Power were not silenced though, as Macias led the comeback charge in the fifth with an RBI single before Oneil Cruz and Raul Hernandez posted consecutive sacrifice flies to slim the deficit to two. Macias went right back to it in the sixth with a run-scoring double before Sanchez singled him home to tie the game at seven. However, Los Rapidos de Kannapolis was able to take the lead back in the bottom of the sixth on a single by Curbelo against Elvis Escobar. Jose Nin shut down the Power in the seventh to finish off the brooming.
404 ERROR MESSAGE: West Virginia's defense committed two errors in game two Wednesday, upping its season total to 127, the fourth-highest total in the South Atlantic League (Rome, 136; Lexington, 129; Greenville, 128). The Power has a .963 fielding percentage, the lowest mark in the league. Cruz's 30 errors are tied with Rome's Jean Carlos Encarnacion for the most in the league.
TOUGH MONTH: It's been a rough month of July for West Virginia, with the team posting a 6-15 record thus far. The Power has dropped seven of their last eight games, including five in a row, tied for their longest losing skid of the season. Additionally, West Virginia has fallen in six straight road contests, the longest streak of the year. As a team, West Virginia has notched a .221 average and a 5.00 ERA this month, both the worst marks in the league.
BRIGHTER OUTLOOK?: The Power had similar issues in July 2017, going 13-15 in the month before ripping off a 19-10 August record and winning 22 of their final 34 games to put themselves in postseason contention. Over its first 14 games in July 2017, West Virginia was 5-9 before claiming seven of its next eight contests and putting together a franchise-record 13-game home winning streak. The Power missed the playoffs last year by .002 percentage points.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN: West Virginia is finishing up its longest road trip of the season, spanning seven games in eight days between Lexington, Kentucky, and Kannapolis, North Carolina, with the Power playing its final series against the Legends and the Intimidators in each of these four-game sets. West Virginia will play 13 of its next 19 contests away from Appalachian Power Park before closing out the season with 11 of their last 19 games at home.
POWER POINTS: West Virginia is 10-12 in doubleheader contests, the eighth-best mark in terms of winning percentage in the SAL. The Power is set for their 12th twin bill Thursday, which will tie them with Lakewood for the most doubleheaders played this season in the SAL... Macias tallied a career-best three runs scored in game two, becoming just the second Power batter to do so this season (Chris Sharpe, 6/16 vs. DEL)... West Virginia dropped its first game this season when the offense has produced seven runs or more (20-1)... The Power are 14-15 in one-run games, placing them in the lower half of the SAL in that category... Watson scored two runs in a game for the first time since June 16 vs. Delmarva... Robles set down 12 of his final 13 batters and recorded his team-best 10th quality start.
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