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Good Wood: Power wins on walk-off home run

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A dismal scoring night for the West Virginia Power transformed into jubilation with one swing of the bat.

Eric Wood's three-run walkoff home run in the bottom of the ninth saved the Power against the Greensboro Grasshoppers and gave it a 6-3 win Wednesday night at Appalachian Power Park. That marked the Power's first backto- back wins since winning four straight in the middle of April.

"That was the big spark that we needed," said Wood, after teammates pie-faced him with a celebratory towel full of shaving cream. "We just have to keep the mojo going."

Down 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth, Walker Gourley singled, then moved to second on a Jheyson Manzueta balk. Jonathan Schwind moved him to third on a sacrifice bunt, and Dilson Herrera singled to bring him home and tie the game. Josh Bell struck out, but Stetson Allie got his first hit of the game, a single to put Herrera in scoring position. Then came Wood's fifth homer of the year off a Blake Logan fastball.

"That's just the type of team these guys are," Power Manager Mike Ryan said. "They don't quit. They think that anytime they're less than three runs down, they still have a chance. That's one of their beliefs and that showed tonight."

The Power (11-15) eked closer in the seventh with runners at the corners and one out down 3-1. Manzueta balked to score pinch-runner Schwind and cut the Grasshoppers' lead to one, but Bell struck out swinging and Allie grounded out to first to end the inning.

West Virginia got a solid performance from starter Joely Rodriguez, who scattered four hits over six innings, allowed two runs, one earned, and struck out six. Jason Creasy picked up the win for the Power by pitching a scoreless ninth.

"I think the bullpen is starting to come together, as far as knowing each other's roles and knowing what they can and what they can't do out there," Ryan said. "To see them go out there and start to accept their roles gives them a little more comfort."

The Power got on the board first in the first. Leadoff hitter Barrett Barnes trotted home from third after Wood reached first on a fielder's choice. West Virginia tried to add another run, but Herrera was caught stealing home to end the inning.

Greensboro tied the game in the third. With two outs, Yeison Hernandez got to first on a Max Moroff error. Hernandez didn't stay on the base paths very long. Center fielder Juancito Martinez drilled a hit to center that Barnes couldn't track down. Martinez sprinted to third with a stand-up triple and Hernandez scored from first.

The Grasshoppers took the lead in the fifth after Matt Juengel, who doubled to right then reached third on a passed ball, scored on a groundout from catcher Tony Caldwell. The Power added its 44th error of the young season, when Wood bobbled a Hernandez infield grounder to third. Greensboro scored its third run when Juengel came home on a Cody Keefer fielder's choice Allie accidentally drilled Keefer on the attempted throw out at home from first base.

The Power and the Grasshoppers return to the diamond tonight at 7:05. Orlando Castro (2-2, 1.67 ERA) will take the mound for West Virginia, with Ramon Del Orbe (0-1, 5.40 ERA) pitching for Greensboro.

 


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