LAKEWOOD, NJ- It took 15 innings, but Jim Murphy and the Lakewood BlueClaws downed the West Virginia Power by a score of 4-3, to end an eight-game losing streak on Saturday night.
Murphy, the club’s first baseman, tied the game with a run scoring hit in the 13th to give the team new life and later came through with the hit that locked in the victory for the Class A ‘Claws in the final match up of their 3-game series with the Pirates affiliate West Virginia Power.
Murphy was named as a starter for the South Atlantic League Northern Division All-star team earlier this week. Following that news, Murphy was named the Phillies’ minor league player of the month for May, when he batted .318 with 6 homeruns and 23 RBI in 29 games. Wrapping up a remarkable week, Murphy posted 3 hits in the contest on Saturday.
In the 13th, an RBI hit by Power catcher Elias Diaz gave West Virginia the lead. Batting with one down in the bottom of the frame, left fielder Zach Collier doubled and scored on a single by Murphy, who would strike again two innings later.
With Collier on first base in the bottom of the 15th, the right-handed hitting Murphy flipped a single the opposite way that was misplayed by rightfielder Dan Grovatt, enabling Collier to score the game winner for the BlueClaws.
Another all-star, righty hurler Lisalberto Bonilla, made his first Class A start for Lakewood in this game. Bonilla, a native of the Domincan Republic joined the team in early May and slid into the closer role, posting exceptional stats (4 saves, 1.07 ERA in 11 games) as a reliever. However, the organization made a switch within the pitching staff in recent days, moving opening day starter Mario Hollands to the bullpen and giving Bonilla the starting nod.
The 21-year-old Bonilla continued his string of success on Saturday by tossing 5 innings of shutout baseball while allowing just 3 hits. He struck out 3 batters and walked 2 in the process.
Right-hander Lendy Castillo made his Class A debut in the game, throwing 5 innings of relief. The 22-year-old was charged with the tying run in the 8th inning, when a run scoring double by designated hitter Chase Lyles plated first baseman Justin Howard.
Righty reliever Chase Johnson (3-2, 4.70) threw a scoreless top of the 15th to earn the victory.
The BlueClaws (29-32) remain in last place, 8 games behind Hagerstown (37-24) in their division. Lakewood begins a 4-game series with Hagerstown at home on Sunday afternoon at 4:05PM.
Check out the media player below for video of the game ending play and post-game comments from Murphy.
Jay Floyd is PhilliesNation’s minor league insider. You can read more from Jay by visiting his site, PhoulBallz.com.