The West Virginia Miners needed a bounceback. Nearly 3,000 people helped them get it.
In front of a Linda K. Epling Stadium record crowd, the Miners pounced on the Lorain County Ironmen in the first inning — again — and won 10-0 Friday on the first Fourth of July night game in stadium history.
The stadium was sold out to the tune of 2,896 fans, the most ever to watch a Miners game in Beckley. Fans were treated to a fireworks show after the game.
After a 10-game winning streak, West Virginia (20-14, 2-2 second half) had lost two straight, dropping both games of a home series to Chillicothe. The Ironmen provided a nice remedy.
The Miners scored four runs in the first inning, highlighted by Paul Trenhaile’s two-run doubles — the first of two he had on the night. It was the third time this week the Miners jumped Lorain early. They scored seven runs in the first on Monday, then three in the first on Tuesday.
West Virginia had to hold on to win both of those, 11-8 and 5-4. This time, the Ironmen never threatened.
“It was a very pleasant way to start the game,” manager Tim Epling said. “We came out really focused. We got a couple good hits. But I think our players fed off the crowd.”
“It’s the best. You’ve got all these people here to see you, and you want to go out here and put your best foot forward and perform,” said second baseman Ryan Perkins, who was 5-for-5 with a double and two runs batted in. “That’s what we did. All the guys have been working really hard. It’s starting to pay off for us.”
Perkins’ perfect night wasn’t the only standout performance for the Miners. All nine batters in the starting lineup reached base at least once, including Zach Woolcock’s three-hit night. Griffin Moore was 2-for-3 on his 22nd birthday.
West Virginia had 18 hits in all.
Andrew Bramley (2-2) got the win. He struck out three and walked two and held the Ironmen to four hits over five innings. Bramley now has 37 strikeouts, second in the Prospect League to teammate Chase Boster’s 44.
Lorain starter Sam Clarke (2-2)was charged with seven earned runs and allowed 12 hits over 4 2/3 innings. He walked four and struck out one.
The teams meet again at 7:05 p.m. today on El Mariachi Night. Boster (3-2, 0.44) will pitch for the Miners.
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