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.