Barnes said it took a little time in the lineup to get back in his groove, but he got there last week versus the Lakewood Blue Claws. The 6-foot-1, 195 pound 21-year-old batted .350 for that series with two home runs, three doubles and nine RBI, scoring four runs. Those two homers came in one game, on June 21.
He started out well Tuesday night against the Suns (4-2, 42-31), sending a first-inning single past Hagerstown starter Brett Mooneyham and rolling into center field. He was caught between first and second for a put-out a few minutes later, but he was able to make it home in the third. After Walker Gourley scored on a Josh Bell sacrifice fly, Barnes scored from third when Suns catcher Pedro Severino's pickoff attempt at first went astray, giving the Power a 2-0 lead.
That lead jumped to 5-0 with three runs in the fourth. The first came on a Gourley RBI single and the next two came from a Herrera double to center. Gourley, who went 3-for-3 with a walk Tuesday, added another RBI single in the sixth. Hagerstown's lone run came in the fifth. Holmes was replaced by Ryan Hafner after walking two batters without recording an out. Tony Renda singled to center for the Suns to score Wes Schill. Holmes (3-5) struck out three and walked four on the night.
Barnes ended the night going 1-for-4 with a walk and a run scored, setting his season average at .257. Merced said Barnes' physical gifts are impressive, especially his quick hands. He's still honing his mechanics, but Merced said his natural talent can make up for that. Still, Merced said Barnes has been diligent in trying to improve himself.
"His work habits have been really good," Merced said. "He's been training. He's allowing himself to have fun out there, and he's on the verge of allowing himself to become who Barrett is."
The Power and Suns meet again at 7:05 tonight at Appalachian Power Park. John Kuchno (3-3, 4.99 ERA) is scheduled to start for West Virginia against Nick Lee (1-2, 6.26).
Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.r...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.