Zack Von Rosenberg pitched well tonight allowing just one run over 6 innings but the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead as the Power fell 5-4 in the 2nd game of their four game series in Lakewood.
Zack had a rough start early as the 2nd batter of the game hit a hard liner right back up the middle that just missed him. After a strikeout and walk made it two men on with two outs, he battled Domingo Santana in an 8 pitch AB before getting him looking on strikes with a 91 MPH fastball, his fastest pitch of the game before the stadium radar went out in the 4th inning.
He allowed his only run in the 3rd inning on a leadoff triple that scored on a groundout. It seemed like last night with Dodson on the mound, Von Rosenberg fell victim to a bizarre overshift that had Rojas far into LF with a lefty up at the plate. The hit by Lakewood’s Bill Rice seemed to hang up there forever just to the right of centerfield but Rojas was no where near the ball when it landed. On a normal outfield alignment both last night and tonight these same plays would have been easy catches.
Zack got better as the night went along, mixing in all of his pitches and getting plenty of swing and misses in the middle innings and getting quick outs in the final two innings he worked. Overall he allowed just four hits, one walk and he struck out six.
He threw 82 pitches on the night, 55 of them for strikes and unlike all the other pitchers I’ve seen for WV, he was throwing all of his pitches early in the game. Before the radar went out he was 88-90 with the fastball and he hit 91 twice. In the 3rd and 4th innings combined he was able to get 7 swing and misses from Blueclaws hitters and he faced just three batters over the minimum.
Victor Black followed him in the 7th and had two totally different innings of work. In the first inning he pitched he was hitting 94 with regularity on the gun, touching 95 once and he worked through the inning fairly quickly. When he came out for the 8th, he was sitting 91-92 with a few 89 mph pitches mixed in and he had no control. Four batters after striking out the leadoff hitter, Black had surrendered the 4-1 lead he was given and was out of the game.
Replaced by Jason Townsend, who inherited a runner on 3B, Black took the loss after a well placed grounder got by the drawn in infield to make it 5-4 and that is how the game ended. For a second night in a row, Townsend did not display the speed he had earlier in the year(93-95mph) which was still down from the 97 we heard about last year. He topped out at 91 tonight, one mph lower than last night although he only faced two batters today.
The Power scored their first run in the 4th when Justin Howard singled home Chase Lyles who led off the inning with a double. Howard was erased on a strike him out, throw him out double play with Elias Diaz at the plate. Prior to the double play it looked like the Power were getting to the Lakewood starter as the previous inning they had loaded the bases, although that inning ended with Mel Rojas Jr caught looking at strike three.
In the 6th inning with a new pitcher on, Rojas Jr just missed a homer to straight away CF with the ball bouncing off the top of the wall for a triple. He scored right away on a Chase Lyles sacrifice fly. Justin Howard then drew a walk which was followed by a lined double to the gap by Elias Diaz that put men on 2B and 3B with just one out. Rogelios Noris went up there swinging and popped up the first pitch he saw to 2B for the 2nd out.
Andy Vasquez hit a groundball to deep SS that scored Howard to make it 3-1 at that point. With Eric Avila up, Vasquez took off for 2B and as soon as the throw went towards 2B, Diaz ran in from 3B, credited with a steal of home on the double steal. The Power would not score again.
The game got very chippy in the 7th inning after a hard slide from Drew Maggi took out the second baseman on a double play. Blueclaws pitcher Lendy Castillo obviously did not like the play and the first pitch he threw to the next batter, Rojas Jr, was at his head and it just brushed off him as he got out of the way. The next hitter up was Chase Lyles and he took the first pitch high and tight before being hit by the 2nd pitch which got Castillo ejected. The Power got a bit of revenge as Victor Black hit the first batter he faced in the bottom of the inning but after warnings to both teams, that ended the festivities.
The two best hits of the night were from Rojas and Diaz in that 6th inning mentioned above. Rojas also drove the ball pretty well his first time up but had nothing to show for it. All in all, it was a tough loss but an impressive showing from Zack Von Rosenberg, who threw strikes with all of his pitches, got six strikeouts, increasing his team leading total to 88 and most importantly he kept runs off the board. He has now had very strong outings in 3 of his last 4 games.