LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 4, 2019) - Ryan Ramiz drilled a 13th-inning grand slam to cap a six-run frame that surged the Power to a 12-7 win over the Lexington Legends in the series opener at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.
Daniel James (3-3) replaced Andres Nunez in the top of the 13th and immediately uncorked a wild pitch that sent Bobby Honeyman, the placed on runner, over to third base. After David Sheaffer grounded to first, Jake Anchia climbed aboard via a walk. Joseph Rosa then sliced a double down the right-field line that allowed Honeyman to score and put West Virginia ahead 7-6. With runners at second and third and one down, James intentionally walked Manny Pazos to load the bases and create a force at any base, but could not find the zone against McConnell. The righty issued a full count free pass to Charlie McConnell, walking in a run to extend the Power's edge to 8-6.
With the bases still loaded, James fell behind to Ramiz three balls and no strikes. After James fired a strike to move the count to 3-and-1, Ramiz blasted a grand slam 361 feet to right-center field, blowing the game open at 12-6. With their six-run 13th inning, West Virginia (8-7, 45-40) tied the most runs they have scored in a frame this season (April 18 at Asheville, 6th inning).
Elias Espino (1-1) who entered in the 11th, came back on for the bottom of the 13th to try and close the door. After conceding back-to-back walks to Nathan Eaton and Freddy Fermin that loaded the bases, he fanned Eric Cole for the first out of the inning. A groundout from Chris Hudgins plated a run to close the lead to 12-7, but Espino struck out Reed Rohlman to seal the victory.
The Power secured their first win on Independence Day since 2015, and their second-ever win against the Lexington Legends on July 4 (2005, 9-5 win at Appalachian Power Park).
Lexington starter Jon Heasley retired the first two hitters of the game before Julio Rodriguez doubled down the left-field line and sparked a two-out rally. The next batter, Honeyman, lofted an opposite-field single to left that scored Rodriguez and handed West Virginia a 1-0 lead. Clay Chandler set the tone in the first inning as well, striking out the side in order on 13 pitches.
Chandler did not allow a baserunner until the third inning, when he issued a two-out walk to Jackson Lueck and surrendered the first Legends (4-11, 41-43) hit just a batter later. The Power righty worked out of the two-out jam by fanning Brhet Bewley for his fifth strikeout of the game.
Heasley settled down over the next four innings, keeping West Virginia at bay after working around a pair of two-baggers from Anchia in the fourth and Mike Salvatore in the fifth. Lexington's lineup failed to provide any answer in the first four innings for Heasley, but finally broke through in the fifth. Hudgins led off the frame with a triple to center field and scored one batter later to tie the game at one.
Chandler ultimately hurled a quality start over six innings of work, ceding just that lone run on three hits while punching out eight batters.
The Power answered in the seventh against Kyle Hinton, who surrendered a lead-off single to Rosa, followed by a walk to Pazos. Rosa would come in to score a couple batters later on a pair of wild pitches to vault West Virginia back in front, 2-1, with one out in the inning. After a walk to Ramiz, Salvatore was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Rodriguez, who grounded into a fielder's choice that plated one run. A throwing error to first from Bewley on the play added another tally for the Power, pushing the score to 4-1.
Lexington threatened in the eighth against Benjamin Onyshko with a Rubendy Jaquez leadoff double. The next batter, Bewley, singled to right, but Rodriguez gunned down Jaquez at the plate on a laser-beam throw to Anchia, preserving the three-run cushion.
Kyle Hill entered in the ninth and served up a leadoff homer to Fermin that started a Lexington rally, as the Legends brought in three runs total thanks to a two-run double by Rohlman that tied the game at four and sent it to extras.
In the tenth, Rodriguez delivered with an RBI single off Nunez to lead off the stanza, scoring Salvatore to thrust West Virginia back on top 5-4. However, Lexington rallied back against Hill to knot the game at five on a sacrifice fly from Eaton.
Nunez buckled down in the top of the 11th, retiring the first two Power batters on a fly out and a strikeout. However, McConnell stepped up with two down and drove a single to right that brought in Anchia and made it 6-5 West Virginia.
Espino took over in the bottom of the inning and induced a groundout from Cole, but Hudgins lofted a sacrifice fly to left that scored Fermin to even the game at six.
The Power could not push their placed on runner, Ramiz, across in the 12th, while the Legends loaded the bases with one down on a walk drawn by Lueck and an intentional free pass issued to Jaquez. However, Espino induced a 1-2-3 double play from Bewley, thwarting Lexington's best chance to walk it off.
West Virginia continues its four-game series against the Lexington Legends Friday evening at Whitaker Bank Ballpark, with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. RHP Ryne Inman (7-5, 4.45 ERA) heads to the hill for the Power, while the Legends will send LHP Evan Steele (2-2, 1.50 ERA) to the bump. Pregame coverage begins at 6:45 p.m. on The Jock 1300 and 1340 AM, as well as online at wvpower.com and via the TuneIn Radio App and MiLB First Pitch App.
The Power returns to Appalachian Power Park on Tuesday, July 9, for another Two for Tuesday, presented by Rock 105, where fans can enjoy two-for-one concession specials and specialty items. Additionally, fans can purchase two tickets for the price of one only at the Power Box Office. For tickets and more information, call the Power at 304-344-2287 or visit www.wvpower.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.