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