CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Jordan Steranka hit his first professional home run in style Thursday night for the West Virginia Power.
The 23-year-old first baseman cranked a solo round-tripper over the right-field fence in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Power its second straight walk-off win, a 3-2 victory over the Lakewood BlueClaws. A paid crowd of 2,750 attended the South Atlantic League matchup at Appalachian Power Park.
West Virginia (25-14) remained in first place, 11/2 games ahead of the second-place Hagerstown Suns in the Northern Division.
The Power entered the bottom of the ninth tied 2-2 Thursday after reliever Ryan Hafner surrendered two runs in the top of the seventh. West Virginia's Josh Bell, who doubled earlier, led off the ninth by grounding out.
Steranka fell behind 1-2 in the count before unleashing the winning shot.
The Power players leaned over the dugout railing in anticipation of the ball leaving the park, then streamed to home plate where another come-from-behind celebration ensued.
"I took two fastball strikes,'' said Steranka, who was a 21st-round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates in last June's draft and didn't play professionally until this season.
"I was kind of shortening [my swing] up a little bit with two strikes and [Lakewood reliever Lino Martinez] hung a curveball. He threw a curveball to Josh with two strikes. I was sitting on that a little bit.''
Chris Diaz's two-run single in the bottom of the ninth sent West Virginia past the Delmarva Shorebirds 4-3 Wednesday night after entering the final frame trailing 3-0.
"It's awesome,'' said Steranka, a Pittsburgh native and former Penn State standout. "It's kind of special right now. We just pass the torch on to the next guy. Just staying after it and if someone has a bad game, pick them up.''