Hagerstown pounds Power 13-2
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The West Virginia Power came into Friday night's game boasting the best offense in the South Atlantic League.
But as an unseasonably cold evening set in, it was visiting Hagerstown that heated up.
The Suns pounded out 12 hits, took advantage of four Power errors, and cooled off West Virginia's bats as Hagerstown claimed a 13-2 win in the second game of a four-game series. A crowd of 2,082 braved the elements on NBA night at Appalachian Power Park, including a couple of Los Angeles Lakers cheerleaders who signed autographs and took pictures.
West Virginia led the South Atlantic League in batting average, runs scored, RBIs, slugging and OPS coming into Friday but managed just two hits and two runs as Hagerstown starter Pedro Encarnacion (1-0) and reliever Blake Schwartz kept the Power in check.
Encarnacion picked up the win, giving up just a pair of runs (one earned) on two hits and four walks while striking out four in five innings. Schwartz earned his first save of the season after tossing four scoreless innings to close it out.
It marked the lowest run output for the Power since a 4-1 loss to Asheville in the third game of the season.
"Encarnacion did a great job coming on and throwing a lot of strikes and keeping guys off balance," Hagerstown leadoff hitter and second baseman Tony Renda said. "Schwartz right after him comes in, pounds the zone and gets the job done. He got to come in and pitch with a lead and he did his job, pounded the zone, worked quick, and took care of business."
Power starter Joely Rodriguez (0-2) was shaky, yielding nine runs with just three being earned on eight hits and a pair of walks with four strikeouts in taking the loss.
This broke a string of solid starts by West Virginia in which starters hadn't allowed an earned run over the past four games (191/3 innings).
Rodriguez wasn't exactly helped out by his defense as the Power (7-9) made two miscues in a three-run second inning for Hagerstown that got the Suns off and running.
"We battled at the plate tonight," Renda said. "Their pitchers aren't bad but we were able to get some guys on and it kind of snowballed. [The lineup] just kept turning over. As a leadoff hitter I got to the plate six times tonight and usually when you get six at-bats in a game your team is doing pretty well."
Renda had a huge night for Hagerstown (9-7), going 3 for 5 with a pair of doubles, a triple, two RBIs and a run scored. Hunter Bailey added a pair of hits and scored three times and Pedro Severino had two hits with a double and two RBIs.
"I think we're all happy to see us come out with some energy and drive and play the game like we are taught to play the game," Renda said. "[Thursday] night we were a little bit flat."
Josh Bell doubled and drove in a run for West Virginia.
The two teams will play the third of the four-game set at 7:05 tonight. Righty Clay Holmes (1-0, 2.57 ERA) will take the mound for West Virginia while right-hander Dixon Anderson (1-1, 3.06 ERA) will take the ball for Hagerstown.
Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, email@example.com or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.