West Virginia pounds out 15 hits in 12-4 drubbing

Oneil Cruz goes 4-for-6 to lead offensive outburst in series opener

Oneil Cruz went 4-for-6 with a double, two RBI and two runs scored in the 12-4 win. (Chad Foreman)

By David Kahn / West Virginia Power | June 30, 2018 4:57 PM

HAGERSTOWN, MD (June 30, 2018) - Oneil Cruz went 4-for-6 with a double, two RBI and two runs scored to lead a 12-run, 15-hit offensive barrage for West Virginia as the Power blew past the Hagerstown Suns, 12-4, Saturday evening at Historic Municipal Stadium.

After going 0 for his last 12 at-bats, Cruz took the first pitch he saw from Hagerstown starter Tomas Alastre (3-3) in the first and deposited it into left field for a base hit. Two innings later, he ripped an RBI double to right-center that scored Jesse Medrano all the way from first. Cruz later scored in the frame on a passed ball to give West Virginia (7-2, 44-31) an early 2-0 lead.

In the fifth, the Power posted their first of two big innings, sending nine men to the plate and scoring five runs. Lolo Sanchez ignited the offense with a one-out double, which was followed by a Cruz single that put runners at the corners. After Fabricio Macias was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Ben Bengtson brought in Sanchez with a sacrifice fly to left to make it 3-0 West Virginia. The Power then tallied three straight run-scoring knocks, as Chris Sharpe ripped an RBI single to center, Raul Siri launched a two-run double to the base of the left field wall and Ryan Peurifoy stroked an RBI knock to push the lead to 7-0.

Hagerstown (1-8, 28-49) responded with two in its half of the fifth against Power starter Hunter Stratton, who lasted 4.1 innings, and one in the sixth to close the lead to 7-3, but West Virginia stormed right back with its second five-run frame in the seventh. 

Again sending nine men to the plate, Bengtson led things off with a single before Sharpe doubled him over to third. After Siri was called out on strikes, Peurifoy grounded into a fielder's choice that allowed Bengtson to score from third on a throwing error by Omar Meregildo. The Power then put together four consecutive run-scoring hits, as Kyle Watson doubled in Sharpe before Medrano, Sanchez and Cruz posted back-to-back-to-back RBI singles to make it 12-3 West Virginia.

The Power hung up two big innings (innings where the team scores five runs or more) on the scoreboard in a single game for the first time since a 19-3 thrashing of the Hickory Crawdads on April 17, 2017. 

Drew Fischer (1-1) earned the win with 2.2 innings in relief of Stratton, while Elvis Escobar made his South Atlantic League debut on the mound, dominating the Suns over the final two frames. The former outfielder set down six of the seven men he faced, while striking out three and walking one.

The Power continues their four-game series with Hagerstown Sunday afternoon, with first pitch from Historic Municipal Stadium set for 2:05 p.m. RHP Cody Bolton (3-0, 1.03 ERA) toes the slab for West Virginia, while Hagerstown counters with righty Kyle Johnston (1-2, 3.15 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.

Following their four-game trip in Maryland, the Power return home Wednesday, July 4, to open up a six-game homestand against the Lexington Legends and the Hagerstown Suns. It all kicks off with West Virginia's July 4th Extravaganza, with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. and gates opening at 6 p.m. The game will be followed by the biggest and best pyrotechnical display in the Kanawha Valley, presented by Highmark West Virginia. 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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