In the first three games of their season-opening series against Hagerstown, West Virginia pitchers walked 20 in 25 innings. The same problem struck again, as Power pitchers walked six more over eight innings, with the walks playing a key role in most of the opponent’s scoring. The wildness squandered a big day from Kirk Singer, who was seeing his first action of the year. Singer had two doubles and four RBIs in four trips to the plate. West Virginia dropped the game by a final tally of 8-6.
GOOD START DOESN’T LAST
Power starter Zac Fuesser breezed through the first two innings, changing speeds effectively and allowing only one baserunner. After Singer’s bases-clearing double staked him to a three-run lead, though, Fuesser opened the third by walking the #8 and #9 hitters. The next batter, highly regarded Nationals prospect Brian Goodwin, homered to tie the score. Fuesser walked two more in the inning but escaped when Junior Sosa tracked down a long drive at the fence in center.
The long third inning ended Fuesser’s night, but the Suns put up another three-spot in the fifth against Orlando Castro, who’d just been added to the West Virginia roster. Castro set up the rally by walking two, sandwiched around a single, to load the bases with none out. Hagerstown added single runs against Rinku Singh and Robbie Kilcrease.
OTHER PLAYER NOTES
**Most of the West Virginia offense came from their less-heralded players. Apart from Singer, Chris Lashmet, also making his first appearance, had three hits, all of them infield singles. Jodaneli Carvajal went 2-4 with a triple and Sosa added an RBI double. Another player seeing his first action, backup catcher Jonathan Schwind, went 1-3 and was hit by a pitch.
**Josh Bell went 0-4 with a sacrifice fly and a strikeout.
**Alen Hanson went 0-5 and was charged with an error that cost Singh an unearned run.
**Willy Garcia went 0-4 but had two deep drives that were caught.
**Carvajal had several tough plays on popups on a windy day with a high, sunny sky. Based on what I’ve seen, except maybe for Singer, Carvajal is easily the Power’s most polished defensive player. He’s off to a good start with the bat, hitting .400 with a double and a triple in 15 at-bats, although some of his hits have been bloops or infield hits. He doesn’t have the strength of, say, Hanson, but hopefully he’ll get regular playing time rather than serving as a utility player, as he was originally projected to do.