HAGERSTOWN, M.D. - Despite taking three different one-run leads, the Hagerstown Suns (1-1) could not prevail against the West Virginia Power (1-1) at Municipal Stadium on Friday night, losing in 11 innings 6-3. The loss means the best-of-three Northern Division Championship Series will head to a decisive game three.
Designated hitter Josh Bell broke the 3-3 tie in the top of the 11th. With the bases loaded and one out, Bell crushed a line drive double to left, driving in two. Bell scored the third and final run of the inning on a single by 1B Jordan Steranka.
The Power knotted the score at 3-3 by plating a run in the seventh. Second baseman Chris Diaz led off the frame by getting hit by a pitch. He went to second on a missed catch error by Suns SS Stephen Perez, and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. Diaz scored when Bell grounded to second.
The Suns took their first one-run lead in the first inning. Back-to-back singles by CF Isaac Ballou and 2B Tony Renda began the inning. A one-out walk by DH Wander Ramos loaded the bases. Third baseman Mike McQuillan then grounded into a force out at second, scoring Ballou from third to make it 1-0.
West Virginia picked up its first run in the second. A throwing error by Perez allowed 3B Eric Wood to get aboard, and he moved to second on a wild pitch. A single up the middle by CF Raul Fortunato drove in Wood from second to make it 1-1.
The second one-run lead for Hagerstown came in the third. Ballou led off the frame with a double, and advanced to third on a passed ball. First baseman Shawn Pleffner drove Ballou in with a groundout to second.
West Virginia answered that run in the fifth. Diaz led off with a walk, and that was followed by back-to-back singles to load the bases with no one out. Bell then sent a fly ball to center field for a sacrifice fly. Bell finished the night with four RBI.
The Suns scored in their half of the fifth to take their third one-run lead of the night. Following a leadoff double by catcher Pedro Severino, Perez laid down a sacrifice bunt. Severino wound up scoring on the play as he realized no one was covering the plate after the throw to first. The heads up base running gave the Suns what wound up being their final lead of the night.
LHP Justin Thomas (0-1) suffered the loss for Hagerstown. He pitched just 0.1 innings, getting charged for two earned runs while allowing one hit and one walk. RHP Jhondaniel Medina (1-0) picked up the win for West Virginia. He went two innings without allowing a run. RHP Cesar Lopez collected the save for the Power.
The Suns and Power conclude their best-of-three semi-final series with game three on Saturday, September 7. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05p.m. Hagerstown will send LHP Kylin Turnbull (6-5, 3.58) to the mound for his 17th start of the year and first start of the playoffs. He will be opposed by RHP Luis Heredia (7-3, 3.05) for West Virginia.