4-1 loss to Asheville drops Power to 0-3
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The first of anything is often the hardest to get, and in terms of wins, the West Virginia Power is still trying to break through.
The Power held its first lead of 2013 on Saturday and starting pitcher Orlando Castro turned in a solid performance, but for the second time in the first three games West Virginia's offense was nearly nonexistent.
The result was a 4-1 win for Asheville in front of 1,519 fans at Appalachian Power Park.
After just three games, it's much too early in the season to hit the panic button, but that elusive first win still looms large over the squad - although it doesn't seem to be affecting the players' confidence just yet.
"I think once we get that first win out of the way it will be a big season after that," Power catcher Wyatt Mathisen said. "Getting that first win [today] would be huge for our team."
Castro went 61/3 innings, yielding three runs (two earned) on five hits and no walks while striking out six.
The Tourists scored two of their runs in the seventh inning after Castro had already exited.
Mathisen was the center of one of those plays after Asheville's Julian Yan and Matt Wessinger had each singled to chase Castro.
A Michael Ramirez sacrifice bunt put both runners in scoring position, leaving reliever Kyle Haynes to try to wiggle out of the jam with the scored tied at 1.
He threw a wild pitch that bounced off the wall behind Mathisen and careened back into the catcher's chest. However, upon turning around, Mathisen got crossed up while trying to decide whether to throw the ball back to Haynes, who was charging to cover home. Instead, Mathisen made a diving attempt to tag the runner but arrived way too late.
"I thought it was a little bit closer to the plate," Mathieson said. "I thought I had one step and I was there and he was already by me once I turned around and I didn't really know where the pitcher was. I wasn't close to getting him."
No. 9 hitter Juan Ciriaco followed with a single to plate Wessinger to extend the lead.
West Virginia got its first lead of the season early when first baseman Stetson Allie laced a two-out single to left field to score leadoff man Max Moroff with two outs.
Allie doubled in his next at-bat in the third inning but was stranded. Aside from five scattered singles, the Power bats were quiet.
Not that Asheville hitters were pounding the ball, and it certainly wasn't a repeat of Friday's 15-run outburst, but the Tourists' output was more than enough due in large part to starter Benjamin Hughes, who tossed seven innings and gave up one run on six hits and a walk while striking out two.
Reliever's Rayan Gonzalez and Raul Fernandez each tossed an inning to close the door for the Tourists, with Fernandez picking up his second save.
The Power will try to avoid a four-game season-opening sweep at 2:05 p.m. today.
"We're just trying to compete out there," Mathisen said. "Our pitching is coming along. We're going to come along, we've got a really good team, and we're going to come out [today] and fight strong."
Dilson Herrera had a pair of singles for West Virginia. Seven of Asheville's nine hitters had hits but none had more than one.
Right-hander John Kuchno will get the nod today for the Power while Asheville will counter with lefty Jonathan Vargas.
Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.