Game Story: Hickory at West Virginia Game 1 SAL Playoffs
The West Virginia Power rallied with three runs in the fifth inning and went on to a 4-2 win over the Hickory Crawdads Wednesday night at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston, W. Va. With the win, the Power took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three South Atlantic League series.
The series shifts to Hickory’s L.P. Frans Stadium with the Crawdads needing to win game two on Friday night to force game three on Saturday.
Hickory took a two-run lead after four innings. Jairo Beras slapped an opposite field homer in the second and Carlos Arroyo’s RBI grounder doubled the lead.
However, after Yohander Mendez dominated the Power the first four innings, a sloppy fifth inning was the turning point of the game. With one out, Chase Simpson doubled to left and Taylor Gushue powered a two-run homer to left. The inning continued when Tyler Filliben reached on a throwing error by shortstop Edwin Garcia. Mendez induced Kevin Newman to bounce into a comebacker. But, the potential, inning-ending double play fell apart the Mendez was slow to the bag at second and the Crawdads recorded only one out. Pablo Reyes singled to chase Mendez before reliever Joe Filomeno walked Kevin Kramer to load the bases. Filomeno struck out Michael Suchy, but the third-strike slider bounced away and allowed Suchy to reach and Newman to score the go-ahead run.
After posting seven hits over the first five innings, the Crawdads went into a funk at the plate following the Power’s rally. Three West Virginia pitchers retired the final 13 batters of the game.
The Power added an unearned in the seventh for the final tally of the game.
Yohander Mendez plowed through the first four innings with only one hit allowed and struck out five.
Joe Filomeno struck out five over 2 1/3 innings and allowed just the one unearned run in the seventh.
Jeffrey Springs pitched a perfect eighth inning with one strikeout.
Jairo Beras was the lone Crawdads hitter with two hits and doubled in the fourth.
Missed Opportunities at the plate: The Crawdads put seven runners on over the first five innings and managed just a solo homer and an Arroyo’s RBI groundout after loading the bases with one out. Eric Jenkins doubled with one out in the third, but did not advance further. Jose Trevino doubled with two outs in the fifth and was stranded as Luke Tendler’s drive fell at the warning track.
Missed opportunities in the field: A short-hopped throw to first by Garcia opened the door to the go-ahead run in the fifth. Yet, it was Mendez’s hesitation on a throw to second on what was described on radio as a routine double play ball that proved to be the key. In the seventh, 1B Carlos Arroyo’s throw went behind Filomeno covering first and allowed Pablo Reyes to score from second with two outs.
Tyler Gushue hit his sixth homer overall this season. Two of those have come against Hickory.
Pablo Reyes and Kevin Kramer each had two hits with a double each. Reyes doubled and scored an insurance run in the seventh. Kramer’s walk in the fifth loaded the bases for Suchy.
Austin Coley walked the tightrope during much of his six innings, but the right hander, who won 16 games during the regular season, minimized the damage during the crucial fourth inning.
Sam Street and Nick Neumann combined for three perfect innings with three strikeouts.