Power 4 — Shorebirds 2
SALISBURY — The Shorebirds will have to wait another day for a chance to reach 80 wins for the third time in team history.
Julio Rodriquez knocked in two runs in a four-run seventh as West Virginia Power rallied for a 4-2 victory over the Delmarva Shorebirds on Monday night to open a three-game series at Perdue Stadium.
Three Power relievers shut out Delmarva in the final four frames after starter Nate Fisher allowed two runs through five.
Ryan Ramiz and Matt Sanders added RBI singles in the seventh for the Power, who improved to 62-58 in South Atlantic League.
Nick Horvath homered in the fourth for first-place Delmarva (79-39).
Delmarva’s J.C. Encarnacion lined a single to left with two outs in the third and scored from first on a looping single to right-center field by Johnny Rizer. As the ball was slowly returned to the infield, Encarnacion surprised the Power, hustling home and sliding head first across the plate well ahead of a tag by catcher Dean Navarez.
Horvath lined a home run over the left field wall with one out in the fourth to double the game’s scoring.
Delmarva’s Hector Guance worked into the seventh inning for the first time this season as a starter.
Guance was aided by a 4-6-3 double play to end the Power’s second. West Virginia’s Austin Shenton lined a base hit to right. Navarez followed with one-hop line drive to right field but was thrown out at first base by Shorebirds right fielder Doran Turchin. DeAires Moses smashed a liner that tipped off the glove of Shorebirds second baseman Alexis Torres for a single. Shenton advanced to third but was left stranded by the double play.
Guance exited with two outs in the seventh for reliever Ruben Garcia.
West Virginia’s Onil Pena reached base on an error by shortstop Adam Hall with one out in the seventh. Mike Salvatore followed with a base hit to right. Both runners advanced into scoring position on a fly ball to right by Charlie McConnell.
Garcia entered and Ramiz squibbed a swinging bunt down the first-base line that Garcia couldn’t handle, allowing Pena to score. Sanders then looped a single to left field to knock in Salvatore, tying the game at 2-2.
Rodriguez then rolled a two-run double into the right-center gap, beating a pull-shift by the Shorebirds to make it 4-2.
The Power’s relief corps then continued its solid work in the later innings.
Reeves Martin allowed a leadoff double to Cody Roberts to open the home seventh but retired the next three batters in order, including fanning Encarnacion with Roberts on third with one out.
Notes: West Virginia’s bullpen continued to excel after posting a 1.35 ERA over 13 1/3 innings of work in a four-game series against Lakewood. It ceded just two earned runs while scattering 13 hits and striking out nine batters while not issuing a walk.
Delmarva’s bullpen was even more impressive in a four-game series against Kannapolis, allowing just one run across 19 innings (0.47 ERA).
Tuesday night’s pitching probables are Dallas Litscher (2-0, 0.00) for Delmarva and Ryne Inman (8-7, 4.39) for West Virginia.
The Shorebirds earlier this season clinched their first playoff appearance since 2005 when they won the South Atlantic League Northern Division for the first half.