Power puts home struggles on hold
The confines of Appalachian Power Park were anything but friendly to the West Virginia Power during a dismal 1-6 season-opening homestand.
But the young Pittsburgh Pirate farmhands rebounded nicely by finishing their first road trip with a 5-2 mark.
On Thursday evening the Power continued its solid play with a 7-4 win over the Hagerstown Suns (8-7) in front of a crowd of 2,567 in the first game of a four-game home series.
"We got hot when we were on the road," said Power third baseman Eric Wood, who finished with three hits and four RBI. "We were really excited to come back here and show our fans what kind of team we really are."
West Virginia (7-8) pounded out 10 hits, while limiting the Suns to just four singles, three of which came in a two-run eighth inning.
Power starter Tyler Glasnow worked four innings before giving way to reliever Lance Breedlove. Glasnow surrendered no hits, but left the game with the Power trailing 2-1.
Glasnow was hurt by an error, a hit batsman, and four walks. His deliberate delivery, highlighted by a high leg kick, posed no problem for Hagerstown base runners as they tallied three stolen bases off of the 6-foot-7 right-hander.
Hagerstown centerfielder Wander Ramos stole second base in the fourth inning without a throw, and later came around to score to give the Suns a 2-1 when he slipped home on a steal of second by Brandon Miller.
"They're going to continue to for a while," Power pitching coach Jeff Johnson said of opposing teams' ability to run on Glasnow. "He's 19 and we don't worry about that stuff with him yet.
"With Tyler, we just want him to go out and make every start, that's it. There are no expectations and we're not putting any pressure on him to perform. We just want him to keep going out there and improving."
Breedlove (1-1) picked up the win with a solid outing for the Power. Breedlove tossed two scoreless innings before giving way to 6-6 right-hander Ryan Hafner to start the seventh inning. After a scoreless inning, Hafner was touched up for a pair of runs in eighth on an RBI groundout by Estarlin Martinez and an RBI single by Ramos.
West Virginia's Bryton Trepagnier earned his first save of the season with a perfect ninth inning.
"It's been coming." Johnson said of his pitchers' solid outing. "I've seen improvement ever since we left home with a couple of guys making improvements and adjustments. I'm very pleased with them tonight."
West Virginia chased Suns starter Ronald Pena after 41/3 innings of work. Pena gave way to reliever David Fischer with runners on second and third. The Power greeted Fischer with back-to-back, RBI singles to right field by Wood and Raul Fortunato to take a 3-2 lead after five innings.
Fischer encountered more trouble in the sixth with back-to-back walks to Walker Gourley and Max Moroff to start the inning. After retiring the next two batters, Josh Bell's infield single scored Gourley from second to extend the lead to 4-2. Wood followed with a three-run homer to left center to give the Power breathing room with a 7-2 lead.
Power Notes: Centerfielder Barrett Barnes made an early impact for the Power with a single and run scored in five at bats ... Barnes, a second-round pick (45th overall) in the 2012 MLB draft, was added to the roster Thursday after a stint at extended spring training. Barnes batted .288, with five homers and 24 RBI in 38 games in the short-season New York-Penn League last summer. The Suns and Power will square off again tonight at 7:05 in game two of the four game series.