West Virginia holds on to top 'Birds 4-3 in opener

Bengtson goes 3-for-4 with three doubles and two RBI

Ben Bengtson has five doubles in his last three games. (Sam Santilli)

By John Kocsis / West Virginia Power | July 14, 2018 6:38 PM

CHARLESTON, WV (July 14, 2018) - Ben Bengtson went 3-for-4 with three doubles and two RBI as West Virginia hung on for a 4-3 win in the series opener against the Delmarva Shorebirds Saturday night at Appalachian Power Park.

The Power (12-10, 49-39) surged ahead for good in the third inning, doing all their damage with two outs. The barrage began with an Oneil Cruz single, followed by a Deon Stafford base knock that moved Cruz to second. Raul Hernandez pinch ran for Stafford and fell right into stride. Cruz and Hernandez successfully completed a double steal before Bengtson ripped the first of his three doubles, this one a two-run two-bagger, over the center fielder, Kirvin Moesquit's, head, to make it 3-1 West Virginia.

Bengtson became the first Power player to record three doubles in a game since Cruz accomplished the feat May 10 in Hagerstown.

The Power added another run in the sixth off another Bengtson double. He led off the inning with the two-base hit and came around to score when Jesse Medrano reached on a fielder's choice and a missed catch error, pushing their lead to 4-1.

West Virginia struck first in the bottom of the second inning. After Stafford started the inning with a single against Delmarva (14-9, 49-41) starter Brenan Hanifee (7-4), Medrano squibbed a base knock between short and third with two outs to score him and give the Power a 1-0 edge.

Travis MacGregor  lasted just 2.2 innings in his third start back from the disabled list. After tossing 66 pitches and giving up four hits, Ike Schlabach (6-1) entered with Zach Jarrett and Trevor Craport on base, the latter of which had just ripped an RBI single to tie the game at one and force MacGregor's exit. Schlabach then induced a pop out from Ryan Ripken in foul territory to end the inning without further damage.

Schlabach ultimately tossed 4.1 innings of long relief. He gave up one run on three hits and struck out three. The one run he ceded was to Will Robertson, who cranked his seventh home run around the left field foul pole in the seventh to cut West Virginia's lead to 4-2.

Delmarva sliced its deficit to one run in the eighth when Ripken launched a bomb of his own over the left field wall off Samuel Reyes (S, 3), who recovered to hurl a scoreless ninth and strike out a pair to preserve the Power victory.

West Virginia continues its four-game series with Delmarva Sunday afternoon at 2:05 p.m. at Appalachian Power Park. The Power sends LHP Domingo Robles  (7-5, 3.11 ERA) to the hill, while the Shorebirds counter with righty Luis Perez (1-1, 2.45 ERA). Pregame coverage begins at 1:45 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.

Tomorrow is Kidz Sunday Funday at Appalachian Power Park. Kids can play catch in the outfield before the game, and, after the game, they can run the bases, courtesy of the SMART529 College Savings Program. In addition to that, select Power players will be available for autographs. This homestand also includes a Family Buck Night, Game Show Night and a Rock 105 Two for Tuesday. 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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