Early offense carries West Virginia to 7-5 win

The Power scored all seven of their runs in the first two innings

Deon Stafford went 2-for-3 with two RBI in Tuesday's 7-5 win over Augusta. (Robin Black)

By David Kahn / West Virginia Power | June 12, 2018 7:03 PM

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (June 12, 2018) - Gavin Wallace gritted through six innings and received some early run support from West Virginia as the Power took game two of their four-game series, 7-5, over the Augusta GreenJackets Tuesday evening at SRP Park.

The Power jumped all over Augusta starter Garrett Cave (4-2), scoring seven runs in the first two innings while sending eight men to the plate in both frames and chasing Cave from the game after 1.1 innings. 

In the first, Oneil Cruz singled to begin the game before Rodolfo Castro worked a walk and Calvin Mitchell reached on a force attempt throwing error that loaded the bases with nobody out. The next batter, Deon Stafford, ripped a two-run single to left that scored Cruz and Castro and gave West Virginia (33-28) a 2-0 lead. Ben Bengtson followed that up with an RBI single of his own, plating Mitchell and pushing his hitting streak to 13 games. Bengtson is averaging .311 (14-for-45) with eight RBI during his streak. Brett Pope capped the scoring in the first with an RBI groundout, giving the Power a 4-0 edge.

West Virginia kept on rolling in the second, as Lolo Sanchez drew a lead-off walk before stealing second and scoring on a single from Castro two batters later. Following consecutive walks to Mitchell and Stafford, Cave plunked Bengtson on the left shoulder to bring home another run, putting the Power in front 6-1. Cave was then lifted from the game in favor of Tyler Schimpf, who allowed West Virginia's final tally on a sacrifice fly from Pope that extended the lead to 7-1.

Wallace (5-0) was marvelous through the first four innings, surrendering just one run on a Shane Matheny solo homer with one out in the first. Besides Matheny's blast, however, the Madison, New Jersey, native motored through four innings on 37 pitches, including setting down 10 in a row from the final out in the first through the end of the fourth. 

The right-hander ran into trouble in the fifth though, as Orlando Garcia and Aaron Bond started the inning with back-to-back singles. Two batters later, Logan Baldwin tripled them in to pull Augusta (35-28) back within four. Nick Hill then blooped a ground-rule double to right that Mitchell lost in the lights, making it 7-4, but Wallace shut down the inning after that, striking out Matheny and Manuel Geraldo in succession.

Blake Cederlind tossed a 1-2-3 seventh inning on just seven pitches in relief of Wallace, but surrendered a run in the eighth on a wild pitch. Matt Seelinger (S, 4) came in and locked it down in the ninth, retiring all three batters he faced on a pair of strikeouts and a ground out to record his fourth save in as many opportunities.

West Virginia continues its series with Augusta Wednesday at SRP Park, with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. RHP Cody Bolton (2-0, 0.00 ERA) toes the rubber for the Power, while the GreenJackets counter with LHP John Gavin (2-3, 1.98 ERA). Pregame coverage begins at 6:45 p.m. on The Jock 1300 and 1340 AM, as well as online at www.wvpower.com and via the TuneIn Radio App and MiLB First Pitch App.

The Power will return to Appalachian Power Park June 15-17 for a three-game series against the Delmarva Shorebirds. The series will be West Virginia's last homestand of the first half and will be jam-packed with promotions. Fireworks Friday, presented by Electric 102.7 and Huntington Bank, kicks off the homestand on June 15, while on June 16, the Power will celebrate West Virginia Day with a Bluetooth speaker giveaway to the first 1,000 fans courtesy of Appalachian Power. West Virginia's first half promotional slate concludes Sunday, June 17, with a Lincoln County Day and Father's Day Kidz Sunday Funday at the ballpark. For tickets and more information, call the Power at 304-344-2287 or visit wvpower.com

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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