Monthly Archives: April 2012

Suns Blank Blue Wahoos In Matinee

Three Suns pitchers combine for a 4-0 shutout over Pensacola in the series finale as Jacksonville takes three of five from Pensacola. Photo Courtesy: Pensacola Blue Wahoos

By Steve Kolbe
The Jacksonville Suns shut out the Pensacola Blue Wahoos 4-0 on Sunday afternoon, and in the process improved to 14-11 to pull even with Mobile for first place in the South Division.  The Suns ended April the same way they started it, with a shutout win at home.  On Opening Day some 25 days ago, the Suns blanked Huntsville 2-0 behind the pitching of Joey O’Gara.
The starting pitcher for the Suns in the series finale against the Blue Wahoos was a mystery earlier in the week with the fifth starter’s spot vacant due to the suspension of Omar Poveda.  Jacksonville gave the ball to Bobby Bramhall on Sunday, and it was the right decision.  Bramhall was brilliant in his first start, pitching four innings and allowing just two singles while striking out three Wahoos batters.  Bramhall had appeared in four games this season all in relief, and Including Sunday he’s allowed just one run in just over 14 innings of work.  Bramhall didn’t figure in the decision, but he set the tone for the day.
In the fourth, the Suns broke the ice against Pensacola starter J.C. Sulbaran when Shawn Bowman doubled to lead off the inning.  Taylor Krick followed with a single to put runners on the corners with no one out.  Curt Smith drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to right field, with Bowman tagging from third and crashing into Blue Wahoos catcher Brian Peacock who tried to block the plate on the play.  The throw beat Bowman, but Peacock dropped the ball as he fell to the ground and the Suns led 1-0.  Smith drove in a season-high three runs on the day.  With two outs in the fourth, Chris Gutierrez drove in his sixth run of the season with a single to center, with Krick scoring from second to increase the Suns lead to 2-0.
The Suns scored again in the fifth inning to make the score 3-0, when Smith walked with the bases loaded to force in Donnie Webb, who was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning.  The base on balls to Smith would be Sulbaran’s last batter of the day. 
In the seventh, Jacksonville loaded the bases for the second time of the afternoon when Jake Smolinski singled, Shawn Bowman doubled, and Taylor Krick was hit up high by a pitch from reliever Mark Serrano.  Once again, Smith plated a run with a sacrifice fly and the Suns were cruising along with a 4-0 advantage. 
Curt Smith finished 1-for-1 with a walk and drove in three of the four Jacksonville runs.  He came to the plate with six runners in scoring position during the game, and cashed in a run every time.  Jake Smolinski returned to the lineup after missing 11 games with an injury and reached base all four of his trips to the plate.  He singled three times and scored a run.   Shawn Bowman went 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles and scored a run.  Bowman has four doubles this season after having seven all of last year.
Jacksonville has won seven of the first 10 games from their in-state rivals, and improved to 10-5 against division opponents overall.  The Suns record when scoring the game’s first run improved to 13-1, with their only loss coming to Chattanooga April 11th.
Three Suns pitchers combined for the shutout.  Pensacola finished with five singles and a double.  Bramhall tossed four innings and allowed two hits.  Kyle Kaminska earned the win to improve to 3-1 on the season.  He pitched three innings allowing four hits and struck out four.  A.J. Ramos continued his early season dominance, pitching the eighth and ninth without surrendering a hit.  This season Ramos has faced 40 batters in 13 innings of work and allowed just one hit.  The losing pitcher was J.C. Sulbaran.  He pitched seven innings and allowed three runs to drop to 1-3 on the season. 
With four shutouts this season, the Suns are just three away from their total during the 2011 campaign.  In the four shutouts, Jacksonville pitchers have allowed a total of 19 hits.
A travel day on Monday for the Suns, who begin a five game series in Birmingham on Tuesday.  The Suns have won seven of their first 10 road games of the season.  Both teams will start the series with a record of 14-11.  Jacksonville will run into a team riding a hot streak.  This week the Barons completed a sweep of a five game series against Montgomery, outscoring the Biscuits 39-17 along the way.

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Suns Fast Start Sinks Blue Wahoos

Kyle Jensen and company celebrate after defeating Pensacola to give the Suns their 13th win in April. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns


By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns scored three runs in the first inning Saturday night on the way to a 5-2 win over Pensacola at the Baseball Grounds. 

Donnie Webb led off the game by reaching base on an error charged to shortstop Miguel Rojas.  It was the 12th time this season that the first batter of the game for the Suns has reached base.  Ryan Patterson then singled against Blue Wahoos starter Tim Crabbe, and both he and Webb advanced to second and third with no outs.  Shawn Bowman delivered with the runners in scoring position, a double to right field to drive in a pair of runs for a 2-0 Suns lead.  Bowman and Kyle Jensen are tied for the team lead with 13 runs batted in.  Jacksonville tacked on another run in the first when Russell Mitchell singled to drive in Bowman from second.  Mitchell has driven in four runs in his last three games.

Suns starting pitcher Graham Taylor was strong throughout, allowing only four singles through five innings.  He was able to keep the Pensacola bats silent, the Blue Wahoos had scored 17 runs on 26 hits in the last two games.  In the sixth inning, Pensacola broke through against Taylor when Henry Rodriguez beat out an infield single and Cody Puckett hit his first home run of the season to cut the Suns lead to 3-2.  Puckett hit 15 home runs last season with the Carolina Mudcats, which was good for second-most on the team.  He hit his first round-tripper this season in his 21st game of the year. 

Down by just a run and in search of their third straight win, the Blue Wahoos went to their bullpen in the sixth and seventh innings.  Drew Hayes and Wilkin De La Rosa struggled in the seventh allowing two runs, walking three batters, and hitting another.

The Suns sent eight men to the plate in the seventh, and with the bases loaded Kyle Skipworth was hit by a pitch on a full count to force in a run an increase the lead to 4-2.  It was Skipworth’s 12th run batted in this season.  Jose Duarte, Shawn Bowman, and Russell Mitchell each drew a base on balls in the inning, with Mitchell’s walk forcing in a run to make it 5-2. 

Graham Taylor improved his record to 2-1.  He pitched six innings allowing six hits and two runs, struck out five and walked only Ryan LaMarre, who was the first batter of the game.  In his last two starts, Taylor has allowed eight hits and just two runs in 13 innings of work.  Evan Reed earned his league-leading sixth save of the season by pitching two hitless innings and striking out two batters.  Tim Crabbe was the losing pitcher and is now 1-1 on the season.  He allowed seven hits and those three runs in the first inning, but none after that. 

Shawn Bowman finished 2-for-3, drove in two runs, and scored another.  Kyle Jensen went 2-for-4 and has had at least one hit in all four games in the series against the Wahoos.  Russell Mitchell was 1-for-3 with two runs batted in.  The Suns scored in the first inning for the ninth time this season, and are now 12-1 when scoring the game’s first run.  With the win the Suns improved to 13-11, and are now 6-8 at home.  

The rubber game of the series between the Suns and Blue Wahoos is Sunday afternoon at 3:05 pm.  The game will also be televised on CW-17.


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Blue Wahoos Cruise Past The Suns

Pensacola starting pitcher Daniel Corcino allowed just three hits against the Suns to earn his first win of the season. Photo Courtesy: Pensacola Blue Wahoos


By Steve Kolbe

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos downed the Jacksonville Suns for the second straight game with an 8-2 win on Friday night at the Baseball Grounds. 

For the second time in as many nights Henry Rodriguez and Joel Guzman led the Blue Wahoos at the plate.  After combining for eight hits the previous night, the duo were at it again in this one.  Rodriguez led off the fourth inning with a single, and Guzman followed by hitting his third home run of the season to give the visitors a 2-0 lead for a second straight night.  It was just the second home run that Zach Neal has surrendered this year in his four starts.  The Suns dropped to 1-10 when they allow their opponent to score first, while the Wahoos are now 9-4 when they score the first run. 

In the fifth inning, Ryan LaMarre doubled to left and came in to score Pensacola’s third run on a single by Rodriguez.  LaMarre finished the night 2-for-4, scored two runs, and drove in another. 

The Blue Wahoos sent 11 hitters to the plate and exploded for five runs in the top of the seventh against reliever Garrett Parcell and built an 8-0 lead.  Yordanys Perez drove in two runs in the inning with one of the Blue Wahoos five doubles in the game.  Ryan LaMarre, Josh Fellhauer, and Miguel Rojas also each drove in a run in the inning.  Six straight Pensacola batters reached base in the seventh, including a pair of intentional walks. 

The Suns scored their first run of the night in the seventh, when Kyle Jensen walked to lead off the inning, and scored when Donnie Webb doubled.  Webb was thrown out on a close play at third.  Jensen also hit his third home run of the season in the ninth inning.   

Seven players had two hits for Pensacola as the Blue Wahoos hammered out 14 hits in the game.  Yordanys Perez and Joel Guzman each drove in two runs on the night.  In the first three games of the series, the Wahoos have scored 22 runs on 36 hits.  After having just one extra base hit and 11 singles in the second game of the series, Pensacola had five doubles and a home run in Friday’s game. 

Jensen was 1-for-3 with two runs scored and he also drove in a run.  Donnie Webb was 2-for-4 with a run batted in.  Webb is 5-for-11 in the last three games.  Daniel Corcino allowed just three hits in five and a-third innings to even his record at 2-2.  Zach Neal allowed 10 hits and three runs in his six innings of work and is now 2-2 on the season.

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11 Singles Power Blue Wahoos To 9-3 Win

The Blue Wahoos collected a dozen hits in route to a win over the Suns at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns


Steve Kolbe

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos topped the Jacksonville Suns 9-3 on Thursday night at the Baseball Grounds.  The win snapped the Suns five-game winning streak over the Wahoos. 

Pensacola jumped out to a lead in the first inning when Ryan LaMarre and Henry Rodriguez both singled, and with one out Joel Guzman doubled to left to drive in the first run.  A batter later it was 2-0 when Rodriguez scored on Brodie Greene’s ground out.  It was a tough first inning for Suns starter Bryan Evans.  He allowed three hits, two runs, and walked a batter. 

In the bottom of the inning Jacksonville cut the lead in half when Ryan Patterson singled, stole second, and scored on a throwing error by Pensacola catcher Mark Fleury.  The Suns took the lead in the third inning when Patterson and Kyle Skipworth both walked and came around to score when Russell Mitchell doubled into left to give Jacksonville a 3-2 advantage.  Patterson has scored four runs in the last two games. 

That Blue Wahoos scored the next seven runs in the game.  Pensacola sent nine men to the plate in the fourth and scored three runs to take a 5-3 lead.  Josh Fellhauer, Mark Fleury, and Mark Serrano all walked and scored in the inning.  In the game, the Wahoos drew eight walks and five of them came around to score. 

Pensacola scored two more in the sixth and seventh innings to build a 9-3 lead.  Joel Guzman finished 4-for-5 and drove in three runs.  Henry Rodriguez went 4-for-5, scored two runs and drove in another.  11 of the Blue Wahoos 12 hits in the game were singles. 

The Suns were held to four hits in the game.  Russell Mitchell drove in two of Jacksonville’s three runs, the other was unearned.  The Suns dropped to 1-9 this season when allowing the game’s first run. 

Bryan Evans dropped to 0-2.  He pitched three and two-thirds innings, allowing five hits and five runs but only two were earned.  Evans walked five and struck out two.  The winning pitcher was Mark Serrano.  He tossed three scoreless innings to improve to 2-0.

Game three of the series is Friday night with Zach Neal (2-1, 1.42) taking the mound for the Suns.  The Blue Wahoos counter with Daniel Corcino (0-1, 4.12). 

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Suns Reel In Wahoos With Walk-Off Win


Dallas Poulk singled in the bottom of the ninth inning to drive in Donnie Webb and give the Suns a walk-off win over the Blue Wahoos. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

The Suns returned to Jacksonville after winning seven games on their 10-game road trip and picked up right where they left off, downing Pensacola 6-5 at the Baseball Grounds.

Kyle Skipworth put the Suns in front 1-0 in the second inning with a solo home run off of Blue Wahoos starter Pedro Villarreal.  Skipworth has hit three of his four round-trippers this season against Pensacola.  Curt Smith walked later in the inning and scored when Ryan Patterson doubled to left field to increase the lead to 2-0.  On a wild play, Jose Alvarez hit a ball back to the pitcher with Donnie Webb on first.  It bounced off of Villarreal, and started a double play in which Webb and Alvarez were both tagged out on a base running miscue.  Patterson scored from second on the play to make it 3-0.   

In the fourth inning, Kyle Jensen singled with one out and scored on Patterson’s second double of the night for a 4-0 Suns lead.  A batter later it was 5-0 when Donnie Webb hit his second triple of the season to drive in Patterson.  It was Webb’s third run batted in of the season.  Patterson has now driven in six runs on the year.

Suns starting pitcher Jose Alvarez was cruising along into the sixth inning.  He had retired 15 straight Pensacola batters after Ryan LaMarre doubled to lead off the game.  But in the sixth, the Blue Wahoos were able to get to Alvarez when Brian Peacock led off with a single, and that was followed by a double by Yordanys Perez.  A sacrifice fly by LaMarre plated the first of four runs in the inning for the Blue Wahoos and what was a comfortable Suns lead was gone with the score 5-4.  Didi Gregorius had a single to drive in a run in the inning, and Henry Rodriguez drove in his 12th run of the season with a double.  Gregorius has hit safely in 11 of his last 12 games.

After Garrett Parcell pitched the eighth inning for the Suns, Evan Reed took over in the ninth inning for Jacksonville looking to secure the win for his sixth save of the season.  The leadoff man in the inning Cody Puckett popped up into shallow right field and second baseman Dallas Poulk dropped the ball and Puckett ended up on second.  It was the Suns third error of the game and a costly one.  Two batters later Brian Peacock drove in the game-tying run with a single to even the score 5-5.  

In the home half of the ninth, Donnie Webb led off against relief pitcher Justin Freeman with his second triple of the night.  After an intentional walk to pinch hitter Paul Gran, Pensacola manager Jim Riggleman brought his center fielder into the infield to give the Blue Wahoos five players in the infield with the game-winning run at third for the Suns with no outs.

What happened next was a moment that could have been taken right from a Hollywood script.  Dallas Poulk, who had committed that error earlier, came to the plate with a chance to give the Suns the win.  He didn’t disappoint.  After falling behind in the count no balls and two strikes, Poulk launched a single into center field to give Jacksonville the walk-off win 6-5.  It was one of those moments that can be frozen in time for a player in just his third game with his new team.  It was just the third run that the Suns have scored in the ninth inning in 21 games this season.

Jose Alvarez pitched five-and-a-third innings, allowing four runs on five hits and didn’t figure in the decision.  He struck out six and didn’t walk a batter.  Evan Reed allowed one hit and one unearned run in the ninth to earn his first win of the season.  The losing pitcher was Justin Freeman.  He entered the game having allowed only two runs this season, but he allowed the game winning run on two hits on Wednesday to fall to 2-2 on the season. 

Donnie Webb had a perfect night going 3-for-3 with two triples, a run batted in, and a run scored.  Overall this year, the Suns have hit five triples, and Webb has hit all three of his against Pensacola.  Ryan Patterson also had a big night at the plate going 2-for-4 with two doubles, two runs batted in, and two runs scored.  Kyle Jensen finished 2-for-4 and scored a run.

The Suns have won five straight over the Blue Wahoos after dropping the first-ever meeting against their new in-state rival.  Five of the first six meetings this season between the two teams have been decided by a single run, with Jacksonville winning four of them.  Jacksonville improved to 10-1 when scoring the game’s first run.  The Suns have won eight of their last 11 games, while the Blue Wahoos have just three wins in their last 11 contests. 

The win, combined with Mobile’s 8-7 loss to Chattanooga in 12 innings, leaves the Suns alone atop the Southern League South Division.   With 12 wins in the month, Jacksonville already has more wins in April then in the 2011, when they finished 11-12 in the first month of the season.  Game two of the series against Pensacola is Thursday at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.  In a matchup of right-handers, Bryan Evans takes the mound for the Suns looking for his first win of the season.  Tim Gustafson gets the call for the Blue Wahoos.          

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BayBears Top Suns 4-1

BayBears left fielder Marc Krauss hits his fourth home run of the season to lead Mobile to 4-1 victory over the Suns. Photo Courtesy: Mobile BayBears

By Steve Kolbe
The Jacksonville Suns fell to the Mobile BayBears 4-1 in the series finale at Hank Aaron Stadium on Monday afternoon.
Mobile scored first in the bottom of the third against starting pitcher Omar Poveda on a sacrifice fly by Marc Krauss to make it 1-0.  In the fourth, the BayBears scored two more to increase the lead to 3-0.  Archie Gilbert and Dan Kaczrowski drove in the runs.  The final run of the day for Mobile came on a solo home run in the fifth inning by Marc Krauss.  It was his fourth homer of the season.
The Suns scored their only run in the ninth when Ryan Patterson doubled and was driven in by a double from Chris Gutierrez.
BayBears starter Patrick Corbin improved his record to 2-0.  He pitched seven innings allowing just two hits.  Omar Poveda started for the Suns and went five innings, allowing seven hits and four runs.  He’s now 2-1.
The Suns and BayBears are once again tied for first place in the South Division.  Jacksonville finished the 10-game road trip with a record of 7-3.  The Pensacola Blue Wahoos are at the Baseball Grounds to begin a five game series starting Wednesday night.

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Suns Top BayBears To Claim First Place

BayBears manager Turner Ward looks on as the Suns score seven runs in the eighth inning in 7-0 win. Photo Courtesy: Mobile BayBears

 By Steve Kolbe 

When the day began, Jacksonville and Mobile each had a share of first place in the South Division of the Southern League, by night’s end the Suns were all alone after a 7-0 win at Hank Aaron Stadium.
Hits were hard to come by for the first seven innings, with the starting pitchers allowing a combined five hits.  Both Graham Taylor of the Suns and Chase Anderson of the BayBears were in control from the moment they stepped on the mound on Monday night.  Taylor retired the first nine batters he faced in the game, and allowed just two singles in his seven innings.  Anderson was just as tough, surrendering only three singles in his seven innings while striking out 10 Suns batters.
Jacksonville broke through in the eighth inning by sending 12 hitters to the plate against relief pitcher Kevin Munson.  After Jose Duarte struck out to lead off the inning, the next six Suns batters would reach base.  Pinch-hitter Donnie Webb walked, Dallas Poulk singled, and Paul Gran was hit by a pitch to load the bases.  With Suns runners all around, Kyle Jensen drove a ball deep into center field for a base-clearing triple to give the Suns a 3-0 lead.  Jensen now has 12 runs batted in this season.  It was Jacksonville’s third triple of the year. 
Jensen wasn’t standing around on third for long.  Kyle Skipworth drove him in with a single to make the score 4-0.  Skipworth and Jensen both finished the night 1-for-5.  The rough inning for Mobile pitcher Kevin Munson continued when Curt Smith lined a double into left field, and Skipworth came in to score increasing the lead to 5-0. 
The inning wasn’t over.  Chris Gutierrez and Jose Duarte drew walks to load the bases for a second time.  Donnie Webb then walked for the second time in the inning to force in the Suns sixth run.  A batter later, Gutierrez scored on a wild pitch and the Suns had a 7-run inning with seven different players crossing the plate.  Jacksonville scored seven runs on six hits by the time the inning came to an end.  It’s the most runs the Suns have scored in an inning this year.  Their previous big inning was  in the seventh, with five runs against Chattanooga in a 7-6 win April 14th.
The shutout was the Suns third of the season.  Jacksonville posted a    2-0 win Opening Night against Huntsville, and a 7-0 win last week in Pensacola.  Three Suns pitchers combined for the three-hitter.  Winning pitcher Graham Taylor is 1-1 on the season.  He allowed just two hits in seven innings, walked three and struck out three.  Kyle Kaminska pitched a perfect eighth, and Garrett Parcell worked the ninth giving up just one hit.  Keith Munson allowed four hits and seven runs in just two-thirds of an inning in the loss and is now 1-2 this season.
The Suns 11 wins this month equals their win total from last April, when they finished with an 11-12 record in the first month of the season.  The road trip comes to an end on Tuesday morning when the Suns play the BayBears at 11:35AM at “The Hank”.  Omar Poveda takes the mound for Jacksonville looking to run his record to 3-0.  Lefty Patrick Corbin gets the start for Mobile

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The Suns Win A Close Affair; Share First Place

Jacksonville back on track with a 4-3 victory at Hank Aaron Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Photo Courtesy: Mobile BayBears

By Steve Kolbe

A day after the Suns had their five-game winning streak come to an end, a fast start on Sunday afternoon propelled Jacksonville to a 4-3 win in Mobile.  The Suns and BayBears are once again tied for first place in the South Division of the Southern League with identical 10-8 records.
Paul Gran tripled off of starting pitcher Derek Eitel to start the game.   It was the second triple of the season for the Suns.  After Ryan Patterson walked, Curt Smith drove in the first run of the game when BayBears third baseman Matt Davidson committed an error allowing Gran to score for a 1-0 Suns lead, with Patterson advancing to third on the miscue.  Kyle Jensen followed with a sacrifice fly to right for his eighth RBI of the season, and Jacksonville led 2-0.  Mobile has been outscored in the first inning this season 14-3. 
The BayBears have committed five errors in the series and 23 total in the season’s first 18 games.  During the 2012 season, Mobile had the fewest errors in the league with only 98.
Mobile cut the lead in half in the second inning against Suns starter Zach Neal when they loaded the bases with no outs.  BayBears catcher Rossmel Perez grounded into a double play with Brent Clevlen scoring from third to make it 2-1.  It could have been worse, but Neal was able to limit the damage and avoid the big inning. 
Jacksonville scored in the third inning, when Curt Smith made it to first safely to avoid hitting into a double play.  Jensen then drove in his second run of the game with a double to left field to increase the Suns lead to 3-1.
Mobile cut the lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the fourth when Marc Krauss walked to start the inning, and scored when Archie Gilbert doubled into left-center to drive in his first run of the season.  Krauss reached base in all four of his trips to the plate during the afternoon, finishing with a single and three walks.
The Suns scored the eventual game-winning run in the sixth when Jake Jefferies and Chris Gutierrez singled, and Donnie Webb reached base on an error.  With the bases loaded and no outs, pitcher Zach Neal grounded into a double play, with Jefferies scoring to make the score 4-2 Jacksonville.
Reliever Josh Schmidt took over for Neal and pitched the seventh.  The BayBears scored their final run of the game in the inning when Gilbert singled, and then stole both second and third.  He now has six stolen bases this season after swiping 26 last year.  Gilbert scored from third on a ground out by Raoul Torrez and Mobile trailed 4-3, but that’s as close as they would get. 
Evan Reed pitched the last two innings to earn his fifth save of the season.  He allowed one hit and struck out two.  Mobile did get the tying run aboard in the bottom of the ninth, when Archie Gilbert singled for his third hit of the game.  Knowing that Gilbert already had two stolen bases and that he wanted to get in scoring position, Reed tossed numerous times over to first in an attempt to keep the speedster close.  Reed finally caught Gilbert leaning the wrong way, and picked him off to end the game and give the Suns the 4-3 win.  It was the third base runner that Suns hurlers have picked off on the road trip.  Omar Poveda and Wade Korpi each had a pick off against Pensacola, with Korpi’s coming in the bottom of the twelfth in a game the Suns won in the very next inning.
Zach Neal improved his record to 2-1, pitching six innings and allowing six hits and two runs.  He’s allowed only three runs in his first three starts of the season.  Schmidt pitched the seventh, allowing a hit and a run.  Since letting a ninth inning lead slip away in a loss to Huntsville, Reed has now converted his last four save opportunities.
Paul Gran finished 1-for-3, scored a run, and stole a base.  Chris Gutierrez went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles.  Curt Smith drove in his sixth run of the season.  The Suns are now 8-1 when they score the first run of the game, the BayBears are 0-5 when they give up the game’s first run.
The Suns have won six of the first eight games on the season’s first road trip, and five of those wins have been by a single run.  Game four of the series in Mobile is Monday night at 7:05PM with Graham Taylor scheduled to make his fourth start of the season.  The BayBears counter with Chase Anderson, who will be making just his second start at the double-A level.

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BayBears Stop Suns 8-1

BayBears ace Trevor Bauer improved his record to 4-0 with 8-1 win over the Suns on Saturday night. Photo Courtesy: Mobile BayBears

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns five-game winning streak came to an end on Saturday night with an 8-1 loss to Mobile at Hank Aaron Stadium.  The BayBears became the first team in the South Division to reach 10 wins this season, and once again are alone in first place with a record of 10-7.  

BayBears starter Trevor Bauer entered the game with a league-best 3-0 record and a 0.57 earned run average.  Suns starter Bryan Evans came into the game looking for his first win of the year.  Bauer, the third overall draft pick in 2011, was sharp throughout the game.  And with his fastball reaching 97 miles per hour, he allowed only four hits in his seven innings of work.  Evans matched Bauer pitch-for-pitch throughout the night, including getting the BayBears to hit into three double plays.  Evans held Mobile  hitless through the first five innings. 

In was in the sixth inning that the BayBears finally broke though against Evans.  Leadoff hitter Trevor Bauer drew a walk on four pitches.  It was the fourth time in the game that Evans walked the leadoff batter in an inning, and this time he couldn’t pitch his way out.  After Bauer advanced to second on a wild pitch, he then scored the game’s first run on a sacrifice fly by Wladimir Sutil to make it 1-0.  Mobile scored four runs in the inning, with the big hit coming of the bat of the Southern League’s top hitter Matt Davidson, who blasted a two-run homer to left-center field.  By the end of the inning Mobile had collected four hits and scored four runs. 

Suns reliever Chris Squires took over for Evans in the sixth, and in his one-and-a-third innings of work allowed two runs on four hits.  The BayBears tacked on two more runs in the seventh, when the first four batters in the inning reached base. Catcher Rossmel Perez led off the inning with his second double of the season.  Pinch hitter Kyle Greene walked, and Raoul Torrez singled to load the bases.  Wladimir Sutil then drove in his second run in as many innings to increase the lead to 5-0.  Brent Clevlen added a run by lifting a sacrifice fly to center, and the Suns trailed 6-0. 

It was more of the same in the home half of the eighth for Mobile hitters, when Alfredo Marte singled off of Suns lefty Wade Korpi to lead off the inning.  That brought Marc Krauss to the plate, and after hitting a long foul ball to right he straightened a pitch out and hit a two-run home run over the right field fence for an 8-0 BayBears lead.  The runs were the first that Korpi has allowed in his last three appearances. 

Trevor Bauer improved to 4-0 with the win.  He pitched seven innings and scattered four hits while striking out eight and walking only two.  The only Suns batter to reach second base was Ryan Patterson, who doubled in the seventh.  In the game, Jacksonville had just four runners in scoring position.  Bryan Evans pitched five-and-a-third innings and lost his first game of the season (0-1).  The BayBears nine hits and their eight runs all came from the sixth inning on.  The Suns were limited to just four hits in the game, and scored their only run in the ninth inning on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Patterson.  It was the first run that Jacksonville has scored in the ninth inning this season. 

Game three of the series is 2:05PM on Sunday afternoon with Zach Neal scheduled to make the start for the Suns.  He’s 1-1 with a 0.69 ERA in his two starts this season.  Neal has allowed only one run in his 13 innings pitched.  Charles Brewer takes the hill for the BayBears looking for his first win of the year.  Brewer has already allowed two home runs in his first three starts this year, after giving up just two home runs all of last season.

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Suns Continue Winning Ways In Mobile

BayBears starter Tyler Skaggs struck out a career-best 12 batters in a loss to the Suns at Hank Aaron Stadium. Photo Courtesy: Mobile BayBears

By Steve Kolbe

With a share of first place on the line, the Jacksonville Suns continued their winning ways on the road, powering past Mobile 5-1 at Hank Aaron Stadium.  Jacksonville has used a five game winning streak to improve to 9-7 and tie the BayBears atop the South Division.  Last April, the longest winning streak the Suns put together was two games, when they finished the first month of the season 11-12.  The Suns had two five game winning streaks all year during 2011, May 23-28 and June 16-23.  They’ve matched that mark already. 

The first meeting of the season between the Suns and BayBears began as a pitcher’s duel, with Jacksonville’s Jose Alvarez and Mobile’s Tyler Skaggs stealing the spotlight.  Alvarez breezed along until the fourth inning, when Brent Clevlen hit his first home run of the season to give the Bay Bears a 1-0 lead.  The BayBears had three hits in the game, and all were off the bat of Clevlen.  He finished 3-for-4 with a single, double, and a homer.  

Jacksonville managed just three hits in the first six innings against Skaggs, who was cruising along allowing just a pair of singles by Shawn Bowman and a double by Kyle Skipworth.  Skaggs tied his career high for strikeouts in a game by fanning 12 of the first 22 Suns batters he faced in the game. 

Everything changed for the Suns in the top of the seventh inning.  With one out, Curt Smith reached base with an infield single.  It appeared that Chris Gutierrez was going to pop out to first baseman Yazy Arbelo, but he dropped the ball for an error and gave Gutierrez another swing.  He made it count, ripping a double into right-center and Smith scored all the way from first to tie the game 1-1.  Jose Duarte put Jacksonville in front 2-1 when his double to left drove in Gutierrez.  Gutierrez has driven in four runs and scored five times in his last four games. 

The rough inning for Skaggs continued when pinch-hitter German Duran came to the plate for just the second time this season, and launched a two-run home run over the left field wall.  It was a towering blast that padded the Suns lead to 4-1.  Mobile entered the game with a team ERA of 3.10, second-best in the league behind the Jackson Generals.  The Suns have scored 30 runs during their five game streak. 

In the eight inning, Shawn Bowman hit his third home run of the season to straight-away center to increase the lead to 5-1.  The Suns have hit 16 home runs this season, most in the league and five more than both Jackson and Mobile.  Bowman and Kyle Skipworth are tied for third in the league with three round trippers each. 

The Suns bullpen was strong once again.  Jose Alvarez went four innings, allowing two hits and one run while striking out four and didn’t factor in the decision.  The losing pitcher was Tyler Skaggs, he pitched six-and-a-third innings and allowed seven hits and four runs.  Kyle Kaminska pitched two innings without allowing a hit and earned his second win of the season.  Wade Korpi pitched the seventh, Garrett Parcell the eighth, and A.J. Ramos the ninth.  Overall, Jacksonville relievers tossed five innings and allowed just one hit.  Jacksonville hurlers struck out eight without walking a batter.  

Shawn Bowman finished the night 3-for-4.  Kyle Skipworth was 2-for-4 with two doubles.  Skipworth is batting .340 in his last seven games in the starting lineup.  He’s hit safely in each game, going 10-for-29.  The win was Jacksonville’s first when they allow their opponent to score first, they were 0-6 entering the game. 

Game two of the series is Saturday night at Hank Aaron Stadium.  The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05PM with Bryan Evans making the start for Jacksonville looking for his first win of the year.  Former first-round draft pick Trevor Bauer takes the mound for the BayBears.  He leads the Southern League with a record of 3-0 and a 0.57 ERA.  Bauer was the third overall pick by the Diamondbacks in the 2011 draft.

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