Leading up to Saturday, the Delmarva Shorebirds were plagued with losses and bad weather. The Shorebirds were not only on a six-game losing streak, but they also could not play their games on Thursday and Friday at West Virginia due to heavy rain in the area.
Friday’s game was cancelled without a make up game to be played. Thursday’s game, however, would be played in a double-header on Saturday (two 7-inning games). If the Shorebirds wanted to get things back on track before the All Star Break, a pair of victories over the West Virginia Power would be just the ticket.
In the first game on Saturday, everything was clicking for the Shorebirds early. Delmarva jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning off of a Mike Yastrzemski solo home run and a Drew Dosch RBI single.
Steven Brault got the start in the first game for the Shorebirds. He started the game off on the right note as well, pitching six straight scoreless innings; striking out six West Virginia batters in those innings. With the team scoring in the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings to extend their lead to 6-0, Brault came back on the mound to close the game out.
After giving up a line drive single to the first batter he faced in the bottom of the seventh, he struck out his seventh batter of the game. Unfortunately, this would be the last out Brault would record in the game because after he hit the following batter to put runners on first and second with one out, the Shorebirds manager made a pitching change.
Coming into relief was right-hander, Dylan Rheault. He did not get off to a good start though as he lost control of one of his pitches to the first batter he faced and it went rolling to the backstop. This allowed both base runners to advance.
Not letting this get to his head, he continued to work the batter and forced West Virginia’s Danny Collins to hit a weak ground ball right back to him holding the base runners where they were.
Now with two outs, Rheault needed one more out to secure the victory for his team. Recording this out was easier said than done. The next batter hit a two-RBI single for the Power to cut the Delmarva lead to 6-2. The following Power batter had some “power” in his bat as he hit a two-run homer to right center field. The Shorebirds only led the Power now by two runs.
This was where the Power’s rally ended and Rheault finally struck out the last batter to secure the win for the Shorebirds and end their dreaded losing streak.
With the first game in hand, the Shorebirds turned their focus to obtaining their second win of the day. Delmarva made sure this game’s margin of victory would be much more than a couple of runs when the final out was recorded.
The team started the second game off even hotter than they did the first game. In just the first two innings alone, the Shorebirds scored eight runs off of seven hits. The early Delmarva scoring barrage was highlighted by back-to-back RBI doubles from Trey Mancini and Chance Sisco in the second inning.
Luis Gonzalez pitched well for Delmarva in his start, pitching four innings of work and only allowing one earned run off of six West Virginia base hits. Gonzalez was replaced with Austin Urban at the start of the bottom of the fifth inning. Despite allowing four earned runs off of five hits, Urban struck out four batters in the last three innings of the game earning himself the win (third of the season for Urban).
The four runs Urban gave up were nothing when you took a look at the box score. Delmarva scored two runs in the fourth, fifth, and seventh innings respectively. When the last out of the game was, in fact, recorded and the Shorebirds came away with the victory by a score of 14-5, five batters in Delmarva’s lineup had multi-hit games.
Jared Breen and Dosch each went 3-4 in the game and scored a combined eight times. Conor Bierfeldt and Tanner Rust both had two-hit ball games and drove in seven runs total. Sisco had the best day for the team hitting-wise. He went 4-5 in the game; drove in four runs and recorded two doubles along the way.
When all was said and done, the Shorebirds defeated West Virginia twice on Saturday, getting the team out of the slump they had been in as of late. The 14 runs in the second game was a season high for the team. The double-header sweep over the Power marked the fourth time this season Delmarva has swept a team in a double-header. The team currently has a 37-31 overall record and are sitting just 5.5 games back from first place in the Northern Division of the South Atlantic League.
The team will try to sweep the Power as they close out the series on Father’s Day tomorrow at 2:05 EST.