West Virginia Closes in on Division Title

West Virginia extends lead to 3.5 games with five left to play. Meanwhile, Brevard County gets good pitching and timely hitting in its victory.

Nashville

The Sounds' scheduled series opener against Albuquerque was rained out Monday night.

Huntsville

The Stars' contest against first-place Carolina also was washed out and will be made up as the first game of a doubleheader Tuesday. The teams close the five-game set Wednesday before Huntsville closed the season with five contests at Chattanooga.

Brevard County

The Manatees (29-33) used a four-run third inning and excellent relief pitching to post a 7-3 victory against Palm Beach.

Designated hitter Lou Palmisano walked with the bases load to start the scoring in the key outburst and first baseman J.R. Hopf cleared them with a double to center to break a 1-all tie and make a winner of Bobby Bramhall.

The lefty worked the first five innings, allowing two runs on six hits while striking out six to lower his ERA to 2.54.

Josh Wahpapeh gave up three hits and a run in the sixth, but Derrick Ellison, Mike McClendon and E.J. Shanks each tossed a scoreless frame.

Shortstop Brent Brewer, catcher Jonathan Lucroy and Hopf led the way with two hits apiece, the latter finishing with four RBIs.

West Virginia

The Power (42-22) posted a 4-1 triumph at Lexington and, coupled with Lakewood's loss, padded their cushion in the SAL's Northern Division to 3.5 games with five contests remaining in the second half.

West Virginia has one more game against the Legends and closes with a four-game home series against Kannapolis.

Starter Daniel Merklinger worked the first four innings, allowing one run on three hits while striking out five. Corey Frerichs (6-8) struck out three in two perfect innings, while Robert Wooten's only blemishes in three hitless frames were back-to-back hit batters in the eighth as he struck out four to record his fourth save.

Shortstop Matt Cline finished 3 for 4, while second baseman Eric Farris, center fielder Logan Schafer, right fielder Caleb Gindl and left fielder Lee Haydel each contributed two hits.

Helena

Left-hander Efrain Nieves pitched eight innings of one-hit ball and Cutter Dykstra's two-run homer broke a scoreless tie with no outs in the top of the ninth, handing the Brewers a 2-0 victory over Great Falls.

Nieves (5-3) struck out nine and didn't walk a batter. Much-maligned Garrett Sherrill pitched a hitless ninth to post his third save.

Meanwhile, Dykstra, now hitting .304, smacked his fifth long ball to left immediately after lead-off hitter John Delaney had tripled to center to start the ninth.


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