As two of the three lightest-hitting teams in the South Atlantic League entering play on Friday, either Lexington or West Virginia was due to break out.
One team did just that, but unfortunately for the majority of the 837 in attendance at Appalachian Power Park, it wasn’t the home team.
The Legends pounded out 14 hits and chased Power starter Cody Dickson early en route to a 6-3 victory in the second game of the four-game set. Lexington (5-4) took the first game 2-0 on Thursday.
It wasn’t just that the Legends hit on Friday, but they also hit for power, racking up seven extra-base hits, including early home runs from Ramon Torres and Dominique Taylor that gave Lexington a 3-1 advantage after four innings.
Three runs on four hits in the fifth stretched that advantage to 6-1 and Legends pitching held down a struggling Power lineup enough to pick up the win.
“It’s been a little frustrating the last couple of games,” Power hitting coach Keoni De Renne said of the offense. “But guys are sticking with their approaches. Guys are buying in but they’re getting themselves to where they see the opportunity to drive in runs and they’re trying to do too much instead of just slowing things down, let the pressure come to them instead of pressuring themselves.”
Lexington entered Saturday’s game with a team batting average of just .192, far and away the worst in the league. West Virginia was tied for next to last at .217.
But the Legends found something early against Dickson (1-1), who lasted just 4 2/3 innings and yielded six earned runs on 10 hits while striking out three.
Dickson defeated the Legends in Lexington on April 5 after tossing five shutout innings, but wasn’t nearly as effective in front of the home crowd on Friday.
It wasn’t a complete disaster for the West Virginia offense as the Power recorded nine hits, but the team just couldn’t come up with a big hit with runners on.
Friday marked the seventh time in nine games that the Power was held to three or fewer runs and left nine runners on base.
“A lot of these guys, because they all want to get off to a good start at the beginning of the year, its ‘I gotta do more than what I should be doing,’ ” De Renne said. “They’ll learn to slow it down. They’ll learn it’s a 140-game season and you can’t get it all in one night.
“The guys that were here last year, seeing them play this year in High-A, they’re so much different because they know what to expect. These kids, they’re 18, 19, some of them out of college — playing every day is different.”
Fred Ford, whose two-run shot accounted for all of the offense in Thursday’s game, stayed hot on Friday, going 3 for 4 with a pair of doubles, an RBI and a stolen base. Antonio also doubled twice to go with his long ball and Frank Schwindel and Torres each had a pair of hits.
Erich Weiss led the Power, going 3 for 4 with a double while Wyatt Mathisen and Justin Maffei each had two hits.
Lexington starter Matt Tenuta (1-1) held on long enough to pick up the win, going five innings and yielding a run on four hits and two walks while striking out six.
Right-hander Luis Heredia (0-1, 7.20 ERA) will look to rebound from a rough opening start and will get the nod in the third game of the set for the Power today. He will be opposed by righty Jose Rodriguez (0-0, 0.00). First pitch is scheduled for 2:05 p.m.
POWER POINTS: The first 1,000 fans to the ball park for today’s game will receive a Starling Marte Bobblehead. ... After an 0-for-9 start to the season, Weiss’ fourth-inning double on Friday extended his hitting streak to six games. His average is up to .345.
Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.