Sanders' dinger, strong bullpen lead to 3-1 win

Matt Sanders crushes a first-inning homer and the Power pitching staff scatters six hits in a 3-1 win

Matt Sanders crushed his third homer with the Power in West Virginia's 3-1 win over Lakewood. (Joe Williams)

By Kyle Youmans / West Virginia Power | August 9, 2019 8:56 PM

LAKEWOOD, N.J. (August 9, 2019) - Matt Sandershomer and a strong effort from the Power bullpen lifted West Virginia to a 3-1 win over the Lakewood BlueClaws Friday Night at FirstEnergy Park.

Ryan Ramiz led off the ballgame with a walk against Rafi Gonell (4-2) to put a man on first for Sanders. The infielder then stepped in and turned around a 2-2 fastball, plopping it onto the berm down the left-field line for a two-run roundtripper and a 2-0 Power (23-24, 60-57) lead. Lakewood (19-26, 48-67) answered in the bottom of the first, as their leadoff man, Jonathan Guzman, also worked a walk and advanced to third on a Malvin Matos single later in the frame. Devin Sweet  (7-4) then uncorked a wild pitch that scored Guzman a couple pitches later and put the BlueClaws on the board 2-1.

Both starters settled down and did not allow another run throughout the rest of their outings. Sweet suffered from an elevated pitch count early in the game, especially in the fourth inning, when he needed 26 pitches to navigate past a pair of singles to strike out the side and keep the Power up by one. Sweet and Gonell's outings each ended after five frames, which brought Sweet's streak of four consecutive quality starts to a close, despite the fact that he surrendered just one run on five hits.

In the sixth, Taylor Lehman struggled in his opening inning as he conceded a one-out single to Bobby Honeyman and a wild pitch that advanced him to second. Austin Shenton delivered a few moments later with a double lofted down the left-field line that plated Honeyman from second and handed the Power a 3-1 lead. 

That was all the support the bullpen needed, as Logan Rinehart impressed with two scoreless innings in relief, and Bryan Pall held the West Virginia lead into the ninth when he tossed a shutdown eighth. Dayeison Arias (S,12) fanned the first two batters he faced in the final inning and induced a fly out of Hunter Stovall to close out the 3-1 win.

The Power continues their four-game series with the Lakewood BlueClaws Saturday night at FirstEnergy Park, with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. RHP Evan Johnson (0-2, 3.26 ERA) gets the ball for West Virginia, while Lakewood sends lefty Jhordany Mezquita (2-7, 4.54 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 Thursday, August 15, as they welcome the Hagerstown Suns to town for a four-game series. The highlight of the homestand comes on Saturday, August 17, as the first 1,000 fans can get a Jarred Kelenic  prospect T-shirt giveaway, courtesy of Marshall Orthopaedics. West Virginia will also host a special postgame fireworks show following the final out Saturday, presented by Constellium. 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.

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