West Virginia Power: Game Notes (July 30)
West Virginia opens up a three-game series against the Columbia Fireflies tonight at Spirit Communications Park, with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. LHP Domingo Robles (7-6, 3.23 ERA) takes the hill for the Power.
KRANICK FLIRTS WITH PERFECTION IN FINALE: Max Kranick took a perfect game into the sixth inning and faced the minimum through six frames, while the Power's offense provided more than enough support and cruised to a 7-0 win in Sunday's series finale against the Asheville Tourists at Appalachian Power Park. Kranick retired the first 15 batters he faced on 44 pitches before allowing his first and only hit of the game in the sixth. Taylor Snyder led off the inning with a double down the left field line, but was quickly picked off and caught stealing 1-4-5. Kranick then set down Nic Motley and Tyler Bugner to cap his afternoon. Offensively, Oneil Cruz set the pace on the first pitch he saw from Lucas Gilbreath, drilling a solo home run to right field to give West Virginia a 1-0 lead. In the second, Cruz supplied his second RBI of the game with a base hit that scored Fabricio Macias, who doubled earlier in the frame. The Power tacked on four more runs in the third. Calvin Mitchell led off the inning with a single, and, two batters later, Robbie Glendinning stroked his first MiLB homer to make it 4-0. Macias then ripped his second double of the day to plate Ryan Peurifoy and Kyle Watson singled in Macias. Jesse Medrano added West Virginia's final tally in the fifth with a run-scoring double. Elvis Escobar tossed the final three innings, ceding one hit and striking out two.
NEARLY PERFECT: Kranick turned in the best start of his professional career, tying his career high of six innings that he also produced on August 22, 2017, with the rookie-level Bristol Pirates. The Valley View High School product posted his second career quality start and notched West Virginia's longest perfect game bid of the season (Cody Bolton had the previous longest no-hit bid of 4.1 innings at Hickory in a June 8 doubleheader). Kranick finished with six strikeouts over 52 pitches and combined with Escobar to record the Power's third two-hitter of the season, as well as the team's first nine-inning two-hitter since August 4, 2017, vs. Delmarva, when Oddy Nunez, Matt Anderson and Dylan Prohoroff held the Shorebirds to one run on two hits in a 5-1 victory at Appalachian Power Park.
HANGING ZEROS: West Virginia pitched its eighth shutout of the season Sunday, moving the club to 8-6 in shutout contests this year. The Power is tied with Hagerstown, Kannapolis and Rome for the sixth-most shutouts in the South Atlantic League, while West Virginia's .571 winning percentage is tied for fourth with the Intimidators and the Braves.
MITCHELL AND CRUZ RETURNING TO FORM: After slumping for a majority of July, Mitchell has started to find his stroke again. The Pirates' 11th-best prospect per MLB.com has reached safely in each of his last 11 games, while recording a hit in seven of his last eight. Over those last 11 games, Mitchell is averaging .353 (12-for-34) with three RBI. The Rancho Bernardo (CA) High School product posted his 23rd multi-hit game of the season Sunday afternoon, second-best on the team to Cruz, who registered his 28th multi-hit game yesterday with a 2-for-5 effort, his third multi-hit contest in his last six starts. Cruz also notched his 15th multi-RBI game (team-high) and socked his second lead-off home run of the season (June 21 at Hickory). The Dominican native had not homered since July 7 vs. HAG.
GETTING BACK "INTO THE GROOVE": West Virginia's bullpen has had some rough times in the second half, holding a 4.45 ERA (56 ER/113.1 IP). However, this series was a fantastic showing for the Power's relief corps. On Friday night, the bullpen was unhittable through four innings, which is a great sign, especially for Beau Sulser, who rebounded nicely from a tough outing in Kannapolis where he did not record an out and faced only four batters. Matt Seelinger has also recovered, tossing two scoreless innings over his last two appearances after taking eight days between outings. Saturday, Nunez and Drew Fischer combined for four shutout frames, while Escobar spun three scoreless innings Sunday, sealing a run-free homestand for West Virginia's relievers.
ROSTER MOVES: Before Sunday's game, the Pittsburgh Pirates announced a series of roster moves affecting the West Virginia Power. Ben Bengtson (retro 7/26) and Rodolfo Castro were both placed on the disabled list, while INFs Raul Siri and Jhoan Herrera were called up to the Power from the West Virginia Black Bears. Siri is in his second stint with the team this season, while Herrera will make his South Atlantic League debut when he suits up for the Power.
DON'T STOP BELIEVING: Despite the Power's 8-18 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 currently have 34 games left in the 2018 regular season.
POWER POINTS: Escobar recorded West Virginia's first save since July 14, and its second in the month of the July... Six Power batters posted multi-hit games Sunday (Cruz, Mitchell, Glendinning, Peurifoy, Macias and Watson).
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South Atlantic League Stories from July 30, 2018
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- Debora Mutes West Virginia; Righty Spins Six Dazzling Frames out of the Bullpen - Columbia Fireflies
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- West Virginia Power: Game Notes (July 30) - West Virginia Power
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