The West Virginia bats were out tonight, scoring eight runs on 11 hits, while three Power pitchers kept the Lakewood BlueClaws off the board. With the 8-0 win, the Power have now won seven straight over Lakewood. Their record moves to 31-25 on the season. Clay Holmes was wild at times, but looked good at others, allowing just one hit, striking out five and keeping the ball on the ground when it was put in play. Every batter in the Power starting lineup had at least one hit, while Josh Bell and Junior Sosa drove in two runs apiece.
As I did with the first two games of this series, we look at the batters of interest, followed by Clay Holmes’ outing in-depth and finally some game notes. After the series concludes, I will summarize my thoughts on the team.
Second baseman Dilson Herrera flew out to center field on the second pitch he saw of his first AB. He got a hit in his second AB, a hard hit low liner that one-hopped the shortstop and ate him up. Herrera popped out to shortstop in his third AB, then had a tough and strange end to his night. On a 2-2 pitch, he swung and missed at a pitch that hit him in his right shoulder, which caused him to leave the game. As a right-handed batter, that would mean he got hit on his back shoulder by the pitch, after he swung. It looked as awkward and painful as it sounds.
Right fielder Josh Bell grounded out to first base on the second pitch he saw, an inside fastball. Bell tripled in his second AB, driving home two runs. The ball was a solid liner into the right-center gap that rolled to the wall. On an 0-1 pitch in his third AB, Bell lined out to center field. In his fourth plate appearance, he swung and missed twice, then lined out to deep left field. In ninth, for the fourth straight AB, Bell hit the ball hard. For the third straight AB, he had nothing to show for it, lining out right to the second baseman. Bell has been free swinging in the series, but before tonight, he wasn’t hitting the ball well, looking bad on multiple swings.
First baseman Stetson Allie struck out swinging in his first plate appearance, seeing four pitches total. He grounded out in his second at bat, reaching for a pitch outside that he bounced over the pitcher and the shortstop made a nice play coming in on it. He was able to drive in Josh Bell from third on the play. Allie hit a hard groundball single up the middle in his third AB. He scored from second on a groundball that looked like a possible DP, but the throw from the 2B to the shortstop was poor and no outs were recorded. Allie had a long AB his fifth time up, hitting a hard groundball single between shortstop and third base. He was replaced on the basepaths and on defense by Jonathan Schwind. He finished 2-for-4 and is now hitting .340.
In his first AB, Raul Fortunato lined out to center field. He hit the ball well in his second AB, a line drive single to right field. Fortunato scored the fifth run on a single up the middle by Francisco Diaz. Ashley Ponce then drove in the sixth run with a long sacrifice fly to left field. Fortunato hit the groundball that Allie scored on, the one mentioned above. In his last AB, he grounded into a double play. He has had issues with striking out this year, but he hasn’t struck out once in his last seven games, totaling 27 at-bats.
Holmes Hits 95 MPH In Shutout Appearance
Clay Holmes was on the mound for the Power today and he walked the lead-off hitter on four pitches, all fastballs. Control has been a problem all season long for Holmes. The control was spot on the next batter, throwing three straight strikes, the third of which resulted in a double play. He got a grounder to second base to end the first inning. Holmes hit 94-95 MPH to the third batter.
In the second inning, Holmes struck out the first batter looking on a 3-2 pitch. The first hit off Holmes was a hard liner to right field from a lefty batter. The next batter hit a 1-2 pitch hard, but on the ground and right at second baseman Herrera for an easy 4-6-3 double play.
In the third, he struck out the first batter on three pitches, the last a 94 MPH fastball up in the zone. The second batter got the same treatment, although he was backed off the plate on an 0-2 pitch before going down swinging. Holmes got ahead of the next batter with a 1-2 count, but ended up walking him. He retired the next batter on a shallow fly to left field to end the inning. To this point, Holmes hadn’t thrown many breaking balls and none were for strikes.
In the fourth, Holmes threw a breaking ball for a strike on the first pitch. He ended up getting a 3-2 groundout to second base. He walked the next batter on four pitches and his velocity was down from the first three innings. Holmes was throwing a lot of breaking balls in the fourth, which led to the second walk of the inning. He threw strikes to the next batter, getting him to hit a long drive to right field for the second out. That control escaped him on the next hitter, walking the bases loaded. He finally got a groundout to shortstop to end the inning, keeping Lakewood off the board.
Holmes got an easy groundout to first base to start the fifth inning. He struck out the next batter on three pitches, then retired the side on another strikeout looking. That would end up finishing his night. He went five innings, with no runs and just one hit, though he did walk five batters. Holmes struck out five as well. His velocity was down 2-3 MPH in the 4th/5th innings when he started throwing more breaking balls.
** Max Moroff was out of the lineup today, replaced by Ashley Ponce at shortstop and Junior Sosa batted lead-off, moving up from the ninth spot. Moroff ended up coming in when Herrera got hurt. He went to shortstop and ended up batting in the ninth, hitting a long drive that was caught in the right-center gap.
** Walker Gourley was back in the lineup, four days after leaving a game early with an injury. He got hurt crashing into the side wall by the bullpen on Tuesday.
** DJ Crumlich scored the first run for the Power, reaching on an error, then scoring from first on an infield groundout and throwing error.
**West Virginia’s eighth run scored on an Ashley Ponce triple and a Junior Sosa sacrifice fly.
**Pat Ludwig replaced Holmes in the sixth inning. He threw two shutout innings, allowing one hit, one walk and he struck out two batters.
** Bryton Trepagnier finished out the game with two scoreless innings. He allowed two hits, two walks and struck out three batters. He was throwing 89-91 MPH
** Game four of the series is tomorrow afternoon with Tyler Glasnow on the mound, looking to rebound from a tough start on Tuesday, when he picked up his first loss of the season. He allowed seven runs and seven walks in just 3.2 innings that day.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.