CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It was not a good night for West Virginia starting pitcher Clay Holmes.
Greensboro (N.C.) clobbered the Power right-hander for eight runs in four innings on its way to an 8-1 win Thursday night at Appalachian Power Park.
Things were bad for Holmes and the Power from the first batter. Greensboro's Juancito Martinez lined a double to the wall to lead off the game and scored on a Yordy Cabrera double two batters later. Cleanup hitter Visoergy Rosa was up next and sent a ball sailing over the wall in right fight to give the Grasshoppers a 3-0 lead in the first inning.
Greensboro (12-15) plated two more runs in the second when Yeison Hernandez drove in Cody Keefer and later scored on an Anthony Gomez single. The Power answered in the bottom half of the inning when Wyatt Mathisen reached on a single, advanced to third on a pickoff attempt that sailed past the first baseman and scored on a Jonathan Schwind single.
That was all the damage West Virginia (11-16) would do, however, as the Power saw the Greensboro lead increase to seven runs in the fourth when Matt Juengel ripped a Holmes pitch off the wall for a three-run double.
Holmes pitched four innings and allowed eight runs (all earned) on eight hits. He also hit three batters (Cabrera twice) and saw his ERA jump from 3.91 to 6.00.
"It looked like [Holmes] was just trying to guide the ball and wasn't trusting his stuff," Power manager Michael Ryan said. "He was missing out over the plate and up and in. The first thing you think about is he's trying to aim instead of locate, which is what he does best. He doesn't really get his off-speed over much so they eliminated that. They just did a good job of swinging the bat with runners in scoring position."
Greensboro starting pitcher Scott Lyman got his first win of the season after allowing just the one run (which was unearned) on four hits with no walks and six strikeouts.
"We got down early and had some low energy and brought that up to the plate," Ryan said. "And you know, there was good pitching by them."
After Holmes' exit, the West Virginia bullpen combined to hold Greensboro hitless over the final five innings. Pat Ludwig, Ryan Hafner, Bryton Trepagnier and Kyle Hanes each took a turn on the mound, combining to strike out four with no walks.
"[Hafner] has been doing great," Ryan said. "He's been one of our steady arms down there out of the bullpen. His outing tonight just made Ludwig and Trepagnier throw that much better. He came in and even mixed in his changeup a couple times, which is his third-best pitch. It looked like his first-best pitch tonight. His slider is really good and when he spots up his fastball he is very tough to hit."
West Virginia and Greensboro play the third game of their series at 10:30 a.m. today to accommodate West Virginia University's evening game against Oklahoma at Appalachian Power Park. Orlando Castro is scheduled to make the start for the Power. Castro was a hard-luck loser in his last game, allowing just one run on four hits but taking the loss as West Virginia fell to Savannah 1-0 on April 27.