West Virginia Power: Game Notes (June 8)
The Power begins their final road trip of the first half with a doubleheader against the Hickory Crawdads, with first pitch from L.P. Frans Stadium set for 5:00 p.m. RHP Cody Bolton (2-0, 0.00 ERA) takes the hill in game one, while RHP Blake Cederlind (3-2, 3.22 ERA) gets the call in game two.
WALLACE HAS CAREER OUTING IN 5-1 WIN: Gavin Wallace had the outing of his career Thursday, as the right-hander spun an eight-inning gem en route to a 5-1 win for the Power over the Lexington Legends at Appalachian Power Park. Wallace tossed a career-high in innings while allowing just one run on a fifth-inning solo home run by MJ Melendez. He struck out seven, tied for his career-best, and threw a career-high 99 pitches (74 for strikes). Offensively, West Virginia got to Legends starter Janser Lara for two runs in the third, as Brett Pope reached base on a hit by pitch and scored on three wild pitches from Lara. Calvin Mitchell earned a free pass from Lara and then Deon Stafford drove him home with a double to right to make it 2-0 Power. In the seventh, Ben Bengtson provided two insurance runs after he ripped a double into the right-field corner that scored Mitchell and Stafford. Oneil Cruz tallied the final run of the night in the eighth with an RBI single to bring in Ryan Peurifoy. Matt Seelinger tossed a scoreless ninth after he worked around a two-out single to Melendez and struck out a pair, including Sebastian Rivero to end it.
MISTER CONSISTENT: Wallace turned in his fifth quality start of the season Thursday, tied with Domingo Robles for the most amongst the Power's pitching staff. He has not lost a decision since July 16, 2017, with the short-season West Virginia Black Bears (7 straight decisions with a victory). Wallace sports the lowest ERA on the team among qualified pitchers at 3.20, which is also good for sixth-best in the Pirates organization. The New Jersey native has given up two runs or less in each of his last seven starts. The Power are 7-3 when Wallace takes the hill in 2018.
BEST BAT AND DEON: Stafford's 2-for-4 effort with an RBI Thursday gave him his third straight multi-hit game, the second time he has done that in 2018. His record for consecutive multi-hit games is five (7/24-7/31/17). The Saint Joseph's product notched his 12th multi-hit game of 2018, third-most on the team (Cruz, 16; Mitchell 18).The backstop is in the midst of a six-game hitting streak where he is boasting a .391 (9-for-23) clip with a home run and five RBI.
MASHING MITCHELL: Mitchell went 1-for-3 with two runs scored in Thursday's series finale against Lexington, extending his hitting streak to eight games (his third streak of six games or more in 2018) that dates back to May 29. During this stretch, he is hitting .375 (12-for-32) with a home run and four RBI. Mitchell has hit safely in 16 of his last 19 games, and in 24 of his last 31 contests since May 1. Overall, Mitchell's .327 stroke is third-best in the SAL (and second in the Pirates organization to Bradenton's Albert Baur, .331) while his 16 doubles are second-most in the league, trailing only Kannapolis' Craig Dedelow. Mitchell's 67 hits are tied for second-best in the league and his team-leading 34 RBI sit at fifth-highest in the SAL. The league All-Star has totaled 26 extra-base hits in 2018, tied with two others for second-best amongst the league's sluggers. Mitchell has found more success on the road in 2018, boasting a .356 (31-for-87) clip (21 games) compared to a .305 (36-for-118) stroke at home (33 games).
CRUZIN FOR A BRUISIN: Cruz went 2-for-4 with an RBI in Thursday's 5-1 win, pushing his hitting streak to 10 games, his second streak of six games or longer in 2018. In this span, he is averaging .462 (18-for-39) with a home run and six RBI. Since May 1, the Dominican native is averaging .347 (42-for-121), the fourth-best average in the SAL over that stretch, while stroking four home runs, 16 RBI and 15 extra-base hits. Cruz has been a leadoff catalyst for the Power, boasting a .410 stroke (32-for-78) with two of his team-leading eight homers and 10 RBI as the leadoff man in the West Virginia lineup (20 games). The infielder's .295 season average is tied for seventh-best in the Pirates organization, while his eight long balls are tied for second with Baur and his 33 RBI are fourth-best.
BENGTSON OWNS LEXINGTON: Following a 1-for-4 day Thursday, Bengtson pushed his hitting streak to a season-best seven games (.308). The infielder is crushing Lexington in 2018, hitting .364 with two homers and eight RBI.
HEY NOW, YOU'RE AN ALL-STAR: Stafford and Mitchell were named South Atlantic League All-Stars Tuesday, with the pair set to represent the Power at this year's Midsummer Classic in Greensboro, N.C., on June 19 at First National Bank Field. Stafford received his second consecutive All-Star nod, while Mitchell secured his first mid-season accolade. Stafford is the first Power catcher to garner an All-Star selection since Reese McGuire in 2014.
POWER POINTS: The Power won their first series in their last six matchups... West Virginia went 3-for-10 with RISP.
ON THE AIR: West Virginia Power games can be heard on The Jock 1300 & 1340 AM in the Kanawha Valley, online at wvpower.com and on the TuneIn Radio App. David Kahn and John Kocsis will handle play-by-play duties in 2018.
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