Power falls to Grasshoppers, 5-1
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The West Virginia Power had its 13-game home winning streak snapped Tuesday night in the shadow of a scary moment on the pitcher's mound that caused a 28-minute delay.
The Appalachian Power Park crowd of 1,599 fell silent when Greensboro pitcher Ramon Del Orbe was struck in the head with a line drive. The incident occurred in the sixth inning of the Power's 5-1 loss to the Grasshoppers when Josh Bell drilled a pitch that struck Del Orbe in the temple, causing the right-hander to collapse immediately.
Del Orbe was sent to CAMC General across the street.
The training staff for West Virginia and Greensboro rushed out to tend to Del Orbe, who never lost consciousness. EMTs and an ambulance came onto the field.
Power officials did not have an update on Del Orbe's condition after the game.
The score was tied at 1-1 when the incident occurred, and it remained that way until Greensboro was able to blow the game wide open by scoring four runs in the top of the ninth inning.
The loss dropped the Power to 32-18 in the second half and its South Atlantic League Northern Division lead was trimmed to 1 1/2 games. Second-place Hagerstown, the first half division champ, was a 4-1 winner on the road against Delmarva.
The Grasshoppers were able to score their runs in the ninth by earning just one hit in the inning, being aided by numerous Power miscues, including five walks, one hit batsmen, two wild pitches and one error.
Power reliever Bryan Trepagnier entered to pitch the ninth, and on his first pitch hit Greensboro's Jesus Solorzano. Matt Juengel followed with a walk and the two pulled off a double steal.
On the play, Power catcher Francisco Diaz threw wildly into left field, scoring the first run of the inning. Trepagnier walked Jose Behar and Juancito Martinez, and with the bases loaded and two outs, walked in Anthony Gomez for the Grasshoppers' second run.
Trepagnier's rough night came to an end with Clario Perez replacing him, but Perez was greeted by a single by Colin Moran that plated the final two runs.
The Power began the scoring in its half of the first inning when Bell hit a solo home run over the right field wall to give the team a 1-0 lead.
The homer was Bell's 11th of the season, first among current Power players on the season, just ahead of Dilson Herrera with 10. Stetson Allie hit 17 home runs in the first half of the season before being called up.
The Power maintained its 1-0 lead until the sixth inning when Greensboro tied the game. Leadoff hitter Cameron Flynn doubled, Gomez bunted him to third, and Moran hit a sacrifice fly to left field, driving in Flynn.
The loss wasted a great performance from West Virginia starting pitcher Luis Heredia, who hurled five shutout innings.
The right-hander allowed four hits, struck out three and didn't walk a Grasshopper batter. He also got out of several jams with Greensboro runners in scoring position in three separate innings.
Heredia has been solid at home all home season with a 3-0 record and 1.20 earned run average, opposed to just 1-3 and 4.97 ERA away from Power Park.
The Power had six hits on the game, but half of them were by Bell. In the bottom of the eighth inning in a 1-1 tie and Chris Diaz at second base with one out, Bell was intentionally walked.
Grasshopper reliever Beau Wright came in, and immediately got out of the jam, retiring Jordan Steranka with a pop up to second base, and a ground out to third by Eric Wood.
Contact sportswriter Christopher Wade at email@example.com or 304-348-1735.