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Meadows leads Power to win

CHRIS DORST | Gazette Austin Meadows drives in two runs for the Power on a second-inning hit.

Austin Meadows is feeling pretty good these days.

The highly touted 19-year-old belted a solo home run and drove in two more runs with a single to lead the West Virginia Power past the Hagerstown Suns 7-2 Wednesday night. A paid crowd of 1,183 attended the South Atlantic League matchup at Appalachian Power Park.

Meadows, whose round-tripper in the first inning Tuesday night was the Power’s first since July 25, knotted Wednesday’s game at 1-1 with a two-out solo shot to center field in the bottom of the first. In the second inning, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ first-round draft pick in 2013 gave West Virginia all the cushion it would need with a two-out, two-run single up the middle for a 5-1 advantage.

The Power’s Reese McGuire added a two-out solo clout and Wyatt Mathisen contributed a two-out, run-scoring double for a 7-1 advantage in the fifth.

“A couple of weeks ago it was a struggle, but I just got my head on right and good things come your way,’’ said Meadows, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound center fielder who finished 2 for 3 with three RBIs.

“It was just clicking. You win a couple of games and you feel good. That’s part of baseball. You feel good and you feel bad. All around you’ve got to keep your head strong. You don’t want to get down on yourself too much. It’s been good.’’

Power starting pitcher Luis Heredia (2-4) continued to feel good vibes at home, surrendering just two earned runs on six hits in six innings with two strikeouts and one walk to earn the win. The right-hander owns a 4-3 mark at the APP with a 2.88 earned run average in 12 starts since last season while he’s gone 4-4 with a 4.76 ERA in 14 road starts.

Power relievers Andy Otamendi and Brett McKinney combined for three shutout innings, giving up just three hits.

Mathisen, Kawika Emsley-Pai and Maximo Rivera, the Nos. 7-9 hitters in the batting order, each went 2 for 4 and knocked in a run for West Virginia (22-24). Emsley-Pai snapped a 1-1 tie and gave the Power the lead for good in the bottom of the second with a one-out RBI single up the middle.

“It starts here,’’ said Meadows, who now carries a .333 batting average. “We’ve been playing good ball lately. I’m looking forward to what’s to come.

“Hopefully we can keep it going and stay consistent. I just see a lot of good chemistry between all the guys. That’s good. That’s what you need to continue it. All of us play hard. We’ll see what happens.’’

Power points: The Power closed out the home stand by taking two out of three from the Suns (28-18), who are just a half-game out of first place in the Sally League’s Northern Division. West Virginia’s road gets tougher as it visits the Asheville Tourists, who are leading the Southern Division, for a four-game set beginning today. The Power allowed the first run of the game Thursday for the 67th time in their 114 games this season. West Virginia will host Back to School Night on Aug. 23, where backpacks will be given out to the first 1,000 fans ages 12 and under.

Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at or 304-348-4811.

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