West Virginia Power: Game Notes (september 2)
With its magic number down to two, West Virginia continues its final regular season series against the Charleston RiverDogs tonight, with first pitch set for 5:05 p.m. from Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park. LHP Oddy Nunez (1-0, 2.10 ERA) heads to the bump for the Power.
POWER BLANKS RIVERDOGS SATURDAY: Ike Schlabach and Max Kranick combined to hold the Charleston RiverDogs to two hits while the Power's offense used a seven-run sixth inning to cruise to an 8-0 shutout win Saturday night at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park. Schlabach spun six scoreless innings, striking out three batters and walking four while ceding the only two hits Charleston would notch on the evening. Kranick hurled the final three innings in his first game back off the disabled list, keeping the RiverDogs off the scoreboard and fanning three batters. West Virginia struck first in the opening frame. Travis Swaggerty walked to lead off the game and moved to second on a wild pitch. After Connor Kaiser singled him over to third, Calvin Mitchell brought him home with a groundout to second. The Power put the game away in the sixth as they sent 12 men to the plate and scored seven times. It all started with Mitchell's 10th home run of the season that he sent flying over the right-field fence to double West Virginia's edge. Robbie Glendinning added a two-run single before Rafelin Lorenzo drilled his third home run of the season over the left-field wall to make it 6-0. Deon Stafford provided the final run-scoring knock with a two-run double.
QUALITY STUFF: West Virginia's rotation has turned in six consecutive quality starts. In their 36 innings pitched, Schlabach, Oddy Nunez, Sergio Cubilete, Samuel Reyes and Hunter Stratton have allowed just five earned runs on 23 hits while totaling 27 strikeouts, good for a 1.23 ERA. Here's each of their lines in their most recent starts:
8/27 vs. Hagerstown; Schlabach: 6 IP, 6H, 2R, 3BB, 5K
8/28 vs. Hagerstown; Nunez: 6 IP, 2H, 2R, 3BB, 4K
8/29 vs. Hagerstown; Cubilete: 6 IP, 3H, 0R, 5BB, 5K
8/30 vs. Hagerstown; Reyes: 6 IP, 4H, 1R (unearned), 0BB, 7K
8/31 at Charleston; Stratton: 6 IP, 6H, 2R, 1ER, 3BB, 3K
9/1 at Charleston; Schlabach: 6 IP, 2H, 0R, 4BB, 3K
GOOD GRIEF, THAT'S SOME RELIEF: The Power's bullpen has been stellar over the team's last six games. Over these six contests, the relief corps has surrendered just two earned runs over 19 innings of work, ceding only 10 hits and five walks while striking out 17 batters and posting a 0.95 ERA in that stretch. West Virginia's bullpen capped a streak of six straight games with a save with three consecutive in the first three games of the series against Hagerstown. Kranick made his first relief appearance since 2016 Saturday and recorded his first professional save, becoming the 16th Power pitcher this season to have at least one save, a new club record (2005-present).
HANGING ZEROS: West Virginia posted its 11th shutout victory of the season Saturday and its third against the Charleston RiverDogs. The Power is tied with Hagerstown, Kannapolis and Lexington for the third-most shutout wins in the South Atlantic League (Lakewood, 23; Augusta, 13). West Virginia is 11-6 in shutout contests in 2018.
THE BIG INNING: With its seven-run sixth inning Saturday evening, West Virginia tallied its 12th "big inning" (scoring five or more runs in a frame) of the 2018 campaign. The seven-run frame tied the most runs the team has scored in a single inning this season, which they have accomplished two other times (April 14, 7 in 9th at Hickory and April 21, 7 in 8th vs. Asheville). West Virginia has posted two big innings against Charleston in the last two weeks (August 20).
MASHING MITCHELL: Mitchell has continued to dominate down the stretch for West Virginia. Over his last 10 games, the South Atlantic League Annual All-Star is averaging .275 (11-for-40) with a home run and 11 RBI. Mitchell connected for his second straight home run against the RiverDogs, with the last one coming August 18 in West Virginia. The outfielder's 10 homers are fourth-best on the team (Oneil Cruz, 14), while his 64 RBI lead all Power sluggers.
CLOSING IN ON THE PLAYOFFS: Kannapolis defeated Hagerstown Saturday, 11-4, but West Virginia's magic number went down to two in the Northern Division Wild Card race thanks to their win over the RiverDogs. With two games remaining, the Power still control their own destiny, as they could clinch a playoff berth simply by winning their last two contests against the RiverDogs. West Virginia could clinch today with a win and a loss by Kannapolis.
POWER POINTS: The Power is 31-17 when their starter goes six innings... West Virginia is 24-0 when scoring eight or more runs in a game... The Power went 4-for-15 with RISP... Lorenzo smacked his second home run in his last six games... Schlabach has tossed back-to-back quality starts for the first time since July 6-23, 2017, with the Black Bears.
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