West Virginia Power: Game Notes (May 17)
West Virginia opens up a four-game series against the Lexington Legends at Appalachian Power Park tonight, with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. LHP Domingo Robles (2-3, 3.82 ERA) is on the slab.
STAFFORD'S HOMER NOT ENOUGH IN GAME ONE: Deon Stafford hit his third home run of the season in game one of Monday's doubleheader at FirstEnergy Park, but West Virginia could not muster enough offense against Lakewood to overcome Dalton's Guthrie's 3-for-3 day at the dish, as they fell 5-2 in seven innings. Guthrie's leadoff homer in the fourth against Beau Sulser marked the difference in the twin bill opener, while his double in the second inning led to the BlueClaws' first run and his sixth-inning two-bagger started a two-run insurance frame for Lakewood. The Power took an early lead against BlueClaws lefty David Parkinson as Oneil Cruz singled in the first and Calvin Mitchell drove him in, but Parkinson silenced West Virginia for the next four innings, with Stafford's blast as the lone exception. Addison Russ earned his sixth save of the season after ceding just one hit over two innings of work.
CASTRO'S BLAST FLIPS SCRIPT IN GAME TWO: With the game tied at one in the top of the seventh inning in game two of Monday's double dip, Lakewood replaced starter Ramon Rosso with Kyle Dohy. Rodolfo Castro led off the seventh by working a full count against Dohy before launching a 3-2 pitch over the left-field fence for his fourth dinger of 2018 to give West Virginia a 2-1 lead. Blake Cederlind snagged the victory after tossing a scoreless sixth and working around a one-out single in the seventh. The BlueClaws opened the scoring in game two with another solo homer, this time from Kevin Markham, as the outfielder drilled one to right off Hunter Stratton to put Lakewood up 1-0. However, the Power tied things at one in the fifth, as Ryan Peurifoy reached on a fielding miscue from Quincy Nieporte and Raul Hernandez roped a double into the left-field corner to bring him in. Besides Markham's long ball in the fourth, Stratton was stellar in his third start with the Power, going five innings and scattering five hits while striking out six. Lakewood's Rosso excelled as well, giving up just the unearned tally and fanning 11 over six innings.
CLUBBIN CASTRO: Castro is currently riding a six-game hitting streak that dates back to May 9. During this six-game stretch, Castro is averaging .261 (6-for-23) with a home run and four RBI. The Power infielder has also reached base in 14 straight games (April 28-current), the third-longest span on the team (Mitchell, 15; Cruz, 16). Despite his on-base streak, Castro's average has actually dipped seven points from .230 to .223 since April 28, but his OPS has increased from .560 to .637.
HOLY HOMERS: After not homering in consecutive games on May 11 and May 12, the Power registered a home run in both games of Monday's doubleheader. West Virginia now has 36 homers as a team in 2018, third-best in the South Atlantic League behind Asheville (40) and Lexington (41). Every member of the Power offense has at least one home run this season except Hernandez, who has only played in five games with West Virginia.
ONE RUN FUN: The Power are now 7-4 in one-run games in 2018, posting a .636 winning percentage that is second-best to Greensboro's .667 mark. In games decided by two runs or less, West Virginia is 13-7 (.650), tied with Lakewood for the top spot in the SAL.
THINKING LONG TERM: West Virginia claimed its eighth series victory in its last nine series by taking two of three from Lakewood. The Power have not dropped a series since Rome took three of four from West Virginia from April 24-26 at Appalachian Power Park. Lakewood is the only other team to have taken a series from the Power, claiming two of three from April 10-11. Since that series loss in early April, West Virginia is 19-10, including a 9-3 May record.
SHIFTING OUT OF CRUZ CONTROL: Cruz has started to find a more consistent stroke in the Power lineup of late. The former Dodger was riding a 14-game hitting streak and a 16-game on-base streak heading into Monday's doubleheader finale, but he went 0-for-3 in the nightcap and saw both streaks snapped. On April 25, Cruz's average sat at .197, but he boosted that mark to .274 with this 14-game stride where he averaged .351 (20-for-57) with a home run and eight RBI. Cruz holds the longest hitting streak and on-base streak for West Virginia this season.
POWER POINTS: The bullpen has allowed 11 earned runs over their last 64.0 innings (1.55 ERA), while striking out 62 batters... Cederlind has not allowed an run in his last four appearances, spanning six innings... West Virginia closes out the first half with 14 of their final 32 games at home... The Power took two of three from Lexington on April 27-29.
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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