SAL baseball: Allie homers in 11th to propel Power past Tourists
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Stetson Allie wasn't sure what the pitch was that gave the West Virginia Power its first win of the season. Whether it was a change-up or a splitter, all that mattered for him in the 11th inning was that it rocketed over the fence in right center field.
That walk-off homer capped the Power's rally, gave the team a 6-5 win over the Asheville Tourists and ended what had been a tough opening series for the Power on a good note.
"I'm so excited right now," Allie said on the Appalachian Power Park field right after the game. "We needed that win. We played a great game. We deserved it."
The Power (1-3) rallied from a three-run deficit beginning in the bottom of the sixth inning. Down 5-2 in the bottom of the sixth, the Power got its first home run off the season when Eric Wood cracked a pitch over the left center field fence. Ashley Ponce added another run with a two-out single to right that brought in a sliding Raul Fortunato.
The Power tied the game at 5-5 when Walker Gourley, who reached second on a stand-up double and moved to third on a wild pitch, came home via an Allie single to right.
Gourley said that rally was an extended example of the type of team the Power showed it could be in spring training, but was only able to show in bits and pieces through the season's first three games.
"The first few games, we had flashes of how we were playing in spring training," said Gourley who finished the game with three hits, including two doubles, and two RBI. "We've been making steady improvement every night, getting back to the team we know we are. It really showed tonight. We played good defense, pitched well and had some timely hits, which is what we haven't had the last few nights."
Both teams had chances to end the game in regulation, but couldn't convert on bases-loaded opportunities in the ninth.
The Tourists had the bases loaded with no outs after West Virginia pitcher David Jagoditsh walked catcher Tom Murphy and outfielder Francisco Sosa and hit Derek Jones with a pitch. Pat Ludwig came in to pitch, got Matt Argyropoulos to ground into a double play and struck Matt Wessinger out swinging.
"After Luddy threw his first pitch, the way it came out of his hand, you could see his look that he felt good," Power Manager Mike Ryan said. "I think that might have sparked him, knowing he could get out of that situation.
"We had two outs in the ninth with runners still in scoring position," he added. "I'm not saying that the pressure's off, but you could see the confidence grow in Luddy and he just carried in to the next two innings."
The Power loaded the bases with one out after Gourley singled up the third base line and made it to third on a D.J. Crumlich ground rule double to right. Allie then was intentionally walked, but Wood struck out swinging and Fortunato flied out to center.
The Tourists jumped out to the lead with a four-run second inning, and the Power came back with a two-run third. The Tourists added a run in the fourth, but that was all it could score for the rest of the game. Ludwig earned the win, pitching three innings and allowing one hit with three strikeouts. Roberto Padilla picked up the loss for Asheville (3-1).
After dropping its season opener Thursday 3-0, the Power's bats got better Friday night, but its pitching slumped in a 15-6 loss. The Tourists victimized four Power pitchers for those 15 runs, tagging each with at least two earned runs and hitting a total of four homers. West Virginia calmed Asheville's bats Saturday, but got almost nothing out of their own in a 4-1 loss. Allie brought in Max Moroff with a two-out hit in the first, but that's all the Power could muster.
Sunday's come-from-behind win washed some of the bitter taste of those first three games from the Power's mouth. West Virginia has another three-game home series starting tonight at 7:05 against the Charleston River Dogs, and Ryan wants to see his team carry Sunday's momentum into tonight.
"We had (Asheville) on the ropes a couple of times in this series and just weren't able to get it done," Ryan said. "But we made the adjustments tonight and these guys wanted this game and it showed."
Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.