(Hagerstown, MD- September 6, 2013)- The West Virginia Power beat the Hagerstown Suns 6-3 in 11 innings on Friday night to even the South Atlantic League Northern Division Championship Series at one win apiece. Josh Bell drove in four runs to help the Power extend the best-of-three series to a decisive third game.
Hagerstown took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a fielder's choice that plated Isaac Ballou, though West Virginia evened the score with a run-scoring single by Raul Fortunato in the top of the second.
The Suns regained the lead with a run in the third when Ballou doubled, moved to third on a fly out to right and scored on a ground out by Shawn Pleffner.
After the Power tied the game in the top of the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Bell, Hagerstown took a 3-2 lead in the home half of the inning. Pedro Severino reached on a double. Stephen Perez followed with a sacrifice bunt and Severino was sent to the plate on the play, scoring without a tag attempt.
In the top of the seventh, Chris Diaz was hit by a pitch and moved to scoring position on an error and a sac bunt. Bell grounded out to second base, scoring Diaz, and tying the game at three.
Each team had opportunities to take the lead over the final third of regulation, but neither could capitalize. The Power left the go-ahead runner on base in the eighth and left two on in the tenth. The Suns had the winning run on in the tenth, but Jhondaniel Medina held Hagertowns at bay.
In the eleventh inning, Kawika Emsley-Pai singled, Max Moroff, and Walker Gourley singled to load the bases. Josh Bell doubled to left-center off Bryan Harper, the third Suns pitcher of the inning, plating two for a 5-3 lead. Gourley was thrown out at the plate and Bell moved to third on the throw. Jordan Steranka followed with a single up the middle for a 6-3 advantage.
In the bottom of the 11th, Cesar Lopez faced four batters, striking out two.
Medina (1-0) earned the win, Justin Thomas (0-1) took the loss, and Lopez notched the save. West Virginia also saw manager Michael Ryan and Chris Diaz ejected from the game. Ryan was tossed in the fifth inning after disputing a hit batter and Diaz was ejected in the eleventh after arguing a called third strike he felt hit him.
Game three of this series is set for Saturday evening at 7:05 pm. Luis Heredia will start for the Power against the Suns Kylin Turnbull at Municipal Stadium. The winner of Saturday's game will play at home on Monday in game one of the South Atlantic League Championship Series against the Savannah Sand Gnats. For more information, call 304-344-2287.