Monthly Archives: May 2012

Suns Stop BayBears 9-0

Suns catcher Kyle Skipworth hit two doubles, drove in two runs and scored twice in a 9-0 win over the Mobile BayBears May 30, 2012 at the Baseball Grounds. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe 

In their most lopsided win of the season, the Jacksonville Suns blanked the Mobile BayBears 9-0 on Wednesday afternoon.  The Suns had lost their first seven games against the BayBears at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville this season by a combined score of 31-6.
 
BayBears mistakes helped the Suns take the lead in the second inning against starter Derek Eitel.  Third baseman Matt Davidson committed two costly throwing errors in the inning, allowing both Kyle Skipworth and Ryan Patterson to reach base.   Davidson has committed a team-high 14 errors.  With one out in the second, Chris Gutierrez put the Suns in front 3-0 with his first home run of the season, a no-doubt blast over the left field wall.  The Suns improved to 20-5 when they score the game’s first run.  The BayBears have committed a league-high 61 errors.  Last season Mobile had the fewest errors in the Southern League with only 98.
 
In the third, Paul Gran led off the inning when he was hit by a pitch.  With two outs, Kyle Skipworth popped up in foul ground but BayBears catcher Rossmell Perez dropped the ball.  Skipworth made the most of his second chance, hitting a double to right field to put runners on second and third.  Kyle Jensen and Ryan Patterson followed with back-to-back RBI singles to increase the Suns lead to 5-0.
 
The Suns loaded the bases in the fourth inning when pitcher Bryan Evans singled for his first hit of the season, and BayBears pitcher Derek Eitel walked both German Duran and Paul Gran on four straight pitches.  Jake Smolinski then drove in his fourteenth run of the season with a sacrifice fly to left, with Evans scoring for a 6-0 Suns advantage.
 
Jacksonville added to the lead with a two-out rally in the eighth inning against reliever Yonata Ortega.  After striking out Donnie Webb and retiring German Duran on a liner, Ortega hit Paul Gran in the numbers.  Gran was hit twice in the game, and this season has been hit by the pitch a team-high 10 times.  Struggling with his command, Ortega issued four-pitch walks to both Jake Smolinski and Shawn Bowman to load the bases.  Kyle Skipworth came to the plate and smashed his second double of the game, driving in both Gran and Smolinski to increase the lead to 8-0.  Shawn Bowman completed the scoring when he came home on an Ortega balk.
 
Both managers were ejected from the game by home plate umpire Jay Pierce.  In the fourth inning, Suns skipper Andy Barkett was throw out of a game for the first time this season.  When Brent Clevlen hit a ball down the left field line that was ruled fair for a double, Barkett came out for an animated discussion.  BayBears manager Turner Ward also had a run-in, and was tossed in the seventh for arguing balls and strikes. 
 
Kyle Skipworth finished 2-for-5 for his seventh multi-hit game of the season.  He drove in two runs and scored two runs, and has now hit safely in six of his last seven games.  Chris Gutierrez was 2-for-4 with a three-run home run.  Jake Smolinski went 2-for-3 with a RBI and scored a run.  Eight Suns players had at least one hit on the day.   Mobile pitchers had held Jacksonville hitters to a .180 batting average during the seven game winning streak.
 
The Suns have blanked their opponents five times this season, with two of the shutouts coming against the BayBears.  Mobile has been held off the scoreboard only twice this season, both times against the Suns.  Graham Taylor and two relievers combined on a 7-0 three-hitter April 23 at Hank Aaron Stadium.
 
Jacksonville starter Bryan Evans (1-4) won for the first time this season.  He allowed just three hits and struck out four over his six innings of work.  In his last three starts, Evans has allowed just five runs over 15 innings.  Corey Madden pitched two innings and allowed two hits, and A.J. Ramos tossed the ninth for the Suns.
 
With the win the Suns improved the record to 24-29 overall, and 10-18 at the Baseball Grounds.

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BayBears Sweep Double Header From Suns

 By Steve Kolbe
 
The Mobile BayBears swept both games of a double header against the Jacksonville Suns on Tuesday at the Baseball Grounds.  The BayBears edged the Suns 3-2 in game one, and claimed game two with a 3-1 win.
 
In the first game of the night, the Suns took an early lead in the first inning against Mobile starter Brett Lorin.  Shortstop Danny Black drew a lead off walk, and German Duran reached on an error by the pitcher to put runners on first and second with no outs.  Duran was reinstated from the 7-day disabled list prior to the game.  With one out, Shawn Bowman drove in his 24th run of the season with a double to right field with Black scoring to give the Suns a 1-0 advantage.  The Suns scored a run in the first inning for the 14th time this season, and lost for just the third time when crossing the plate in the first (11-3).
 
The BayBears gained the edge in the top of the second against Jose Alvarez.  With one out, Alfredo Marte started the rally with a double to center.  Brent Clevlen followed by jumping on the first pitch and doubled to left field, with Marte scoring to tie the game 1-1.  Mobile took the lead 2-1 when Wladimir Sutil hit a two-out single to drive in Clevlen.
 
Jacksonville used another walk to tie the game in the third.  Jake Smolinski was issued a free pass by Brett Lorin on a 3-2 pitch.  A single by Bowman put runners on the corners for the Suns, and Kyle Skipworth delivered with a single with Smolinski racing home to even the score 2-2.  Skipworth has hit safely in five of his last six games.  Smolinski leads the Suns with 26 runs scored.
 
In the top of the seventh, the last inning of the game, Ed Easley led off with a single to left against reliever Kyle Kaminska.  Pinch hitter Yazy Arbelo then drew a one out walk to put runners on first and second.  Mobile center fielder Evan Frey was 0-for-3 on the night, but in the seventh he drove the ball into left-center field where Suns center fielder Donnie Webb tried to make a diving catch but came up short.  Easley scored from second base to give the BayBears a 3-2 lead, and that’s the way the game would end.
 
The Suns went 10-5 in the month of April against opponents from the South Division.  In May, Jacksonville is 4-12 against division foes with seven of the loses against the BayBears.
 
Kyle Skipworth and Shawn Bowman each finished with two hits and drove in a run.  Danny Black and Jake Smolinski both walked and scored.  Seven different players for the BayBears had a hit, with five of them doubles.  Evan Frey drove in the game-winning run with a double in the seventh.     
 
Suns starter Jose Alvarez allowed two runs on fours hits in five innings of work.  Three of his last five starts have been no decisions.  Kyle Kaminska suffered the loss, allowing  a run on three hits and is 4-3 on the season.  BayBears starter Brett Lorin allowed two runs on five hits in four innings and wasn’t around for a decision.  Mobile reliever Kevin Munson allowed just one hit in his two innings to improve to 2-3 on the year.  Matt Gorgen pitched the seveth to earn his fifth save of the season.
 
In game two BayBears starting pitcher Mike Bolsinger stole the show, pitching five and a-third innings of no-hit ball.
 
Mobile took a 1-0 lead in the third against Suns starter Zach Neal, when Evan Frey and David Nick hit back-to-back doubles with Frey scoring the first run of the game.  The BayBears improved to 23-7 when they score the first run. 
 
Suns reliever Wade Korpi took over In the fifth inning, and  Dan Kaczrowski led off with a single.  With two outs, David Nick singled and Matt Davidson drew a walk to load the bases.  Marc Krauss then doubled to right field, with Nick and Davidson crossing the plate to increase the lead to 3-0.
 
Jake Smolinski broke up Bolsinger’s no-hit bid in the sixth inning with an infield single.  Curt Smith followed with a triple to straight-away center, with Smolinski scoring the Suns lone run of game two.   
 
The Suns have lost seven straight home games to the BayBears, and have been outscored 31-6 in those contests.  Mobile now leads Jacksonville by eight games in the standings.  The BayBears and Jackson Generals are tied for the most wins in the league with 31, and the Generals come to Jacksonville next week.   
 
David Nick went 3-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored.  Four of Mobile’s eight hits were doubles.  In the two games of the double header, the BayBears had nine doubles.  Jake Smolinski and Curt Smith were the only two Suns with a hit.  Smolinski scored two of the Suns three runs on the night.
 
Mike Bolsinger (2-1) allowed one run on two hits in six innings.  Evan Marshall pitched a perfect ninth for his 11th save of the season.  Four of his 11 saves this season have come against the Suns at the Baseball Grounds.  Suns starter Zach Neal (3-6) pitched four innings allowing one run on four hits. 
 
Game three of the series is Wednesday afternoon at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, with the first pitch scheduled for 1:05 p.m.
 

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Suns Slip Past Lookouts 4-3

The Jacksonville Suns won the series finale over the Lookouts 4-3 at AT&T Field May 27, 2012. Photo Courtesy: Chattanooga Lookouts

  By Steve Kolbe 

The Jacksonville Suns took an early lead and won their second straight game, defeating the Chattanooga Lookouts 4-3 in the series finale at AT&T Field on Sunday night. 
 
The Suns started the scoring in the second inning against Lookouts starter Ethan Martin.  Kyle Skipworth singled with one out, and then Kyle Jensen walked on four pitches.  The Suns took a 1-0 lead when Jeff Dominguez singled to right field with Skipworth crossing the plate, and Jensen advancing to third base on the play.  Donnie Webb then drove in Jensen with a sacrifice fly to right field to increase the lead to 2-0.
 
The Lookouts cut into the Suns lead in the bottom of the third against Suns starter Omar Poveda.  Matt Wallach led off the inning with an infield single, and made his way to second on a perfect sacrifice bunt by Lookouts starting pitcher Ethan Martin. Nick Buss then singled to right to put runners on the corners with one out.  After a line out by Luis Nunes, it appeared that Poveda was going to wiggle out of the jam.  But Poveda’s pickoff attempt to first went in the dirt and past  Jeff Dominguez toward the stands, and Matt Wallach huslted home to cut the Suns lead to 2-1. 
 
With a one-run lead and the Suns trying to hand Martin his first lose of the season, the Suns scored two more times in the fifth inning.   Jeff Dominguez led off the fifth with a walk on four pitches, and stole second base to put himself in scoring position.  Donnie Webb then jumped on a 2-2 pitch for a RBI single to center, with Dominguez scoring to pad the Suns lead to 3-1.  Webb advanced to second on the throw to the plate.  Omar Poveda helped his cause with a textbook sacrifice bunt to push Webb to third base, and Danny Black’s sacrifice fly drove in Webb for a 4-1 Suns advantage.
 
The Lookouts added a run in the home half of the fifth inning to get within 4-2.  Nick Buss tripled into the gap in right-center field, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Luis Nunez.  Buss is second in the league with six triples this season.
 
In the sixth inning, Blake Smith led off with a single and Poveda issued a free pass to Pedro Baez on four pitches.  Poveda found his control to strike out Kyle Russell on three pitches for the first out of the inning.  With one out, Jake Lemmerman singled to left with Smith scoring and the Suns lead was down to one, 4-3.  The Suns summoned Corey Madden from the bullpen, and he retired the next two batters to end the inning.
 
Omar Poveda allowed three runs on six hits over five and a-third innings, and struck out a season-high seven batters to improve his record to 4-2.  The Suns bullpen shut down the Lookouts, allowing just one hit over three and two-thirds innings of work.  Evan Reed pitched the ninth to earn his tenth save of the season. 
 
Jacksonville handed Lookouts starter Ethan Martin his first defeat of the season.  Martin and Huntsville’s Tyler Thornburg were the only two remaining starters in the Southern League without a loss.  Martin is now 5-1 after allowing four runs on four hits in his six innings. 
 
With tropical storm Beryl bearing down on Jacksonville, the weather could be a factor for the upcoming homestand.  The Suns are scheduled to begin a five game series against the first place Mobile BayBears on Monday night.
  
 
 
 

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Skipworth Hits For Cycle; Suns Win Slugfest 13-10

Jacksonville Suns catcher Kyle Skipworth hit for the cycle including a grand slam against the Chattanooga Lookouts May 26, 2012 at AT&T Field. Photo Courtesy: MiLB.com

By Steve Kolbe 

Suns catcher Kyle Skipworth hit for the cycle to lead the Suns past the Lookouts 13-10 in a slugfest at AT&T Field in Chattanooga on Saturday night.  The win snapped the Suns four game slide, and also ended Chattanooga’s six game win streak.
 
The scheduled starter for the Lookouts Nathan Eovaldi didn’t take the mound as expected.  Instead, right-hander Luis Vasquez was pressed into service and started a game for the first time this season.  The Suns  came out swinging against Vasquez and sent nine men to the plate in the first inning. 
 
Leadoff man Danny Black doubled to right field to start the game, and Jake Smolinski drove in Black with a RBI single  to put the Suns in front 1-0 before many fans had even taken their seats.  With two outs, Kyle Skipworth hit a ground rule double to put runners on second and third and bring Kyle Jensen to the plate.  Jensen capped the inning by smashing his sixth home run of the season, a three-run blast to right-center field for a 4-0 Suns advantage.  The Suns improved their record to 11-2 when scoring a run in the first inning.  Jensen and Skipworth share the team lead with six round-tippers each.
 
In the second, Jacksonville added another run when Danny Black led off for the second straight inning, this time reaching base on an error by the pitcher.  After Paul Gran bunted his way on and Jake Smolinski was hit by a pitch, the bases were loaded with no outs.  Shawn Bowman then grounded into a force out, with Black thrown out at the plate.  With one out, Kyle Skipworth’s hit a sacrifice fly to right field with Gran tagging from third to increase the lead to 5-0.
 
The Lookouts scored their first run of the night against Suns starter Matthew Neil in the home half of the second, when Travis Denker led off the inning with his third home run of the season to cut the lead to 5-1.  The Lookouts have hit 10 home runs this season against the Suns, their most against any club.
 
Having just arrived at the ballpark prior to the game, reliever Eammon Portice took over on the hill for Vasquez in the third, and had similar results.  The Suns scored to make it 6-1 when Matthew Neil walked with two outs, and Danny Black drove him in with a single to right field.  Black reached base in each of the first three innings.
 
In the fourth, Jake Smolinski walked to lead off the inning, and Shawn Bowman singled behind him.  With two on and no outs, Skipworth drove in his second run of the night with a single.  Later in the inning, Russell Mitchell drove in his tenth run of the year, with Bowman coming in to score on a ground out and the Suns had built an 8-1 advantage.
 
The Lookouts came to life in the bottom of the fourth against Neil.  Singles by Travis Denker and Brahiam Maldonado, and a walk to Pedro Baez loaded the bases with one out.  Jake Lemmerman then drove in the first run of the inning, when Bowman committed an error on a grounder hit in his direction with Baez scoring to make the score 8-2 Suns.  Matt Wallach brought the Lookouts closer with a base-clearing double into the right field corner, and at the end of four innings Jacksonville led 8-5.
 
Before the fifth inning began, the Lookouts made a call to the bullpen and summoned another newcomer, Bret Montgomery.  After striking out the first batter of the inning, five straight Suns hitters would reach base against Montgomery.  Danny Black hit his second double of the night, Paul Gran scratched out an infield single, and Jake Smolinski drove in Black with a single.  With the score 9-5 Suns, Shawn Bowman walked on four pitches to load the bases and set the stage for Kyle Skipworth.  With one mighty swing, Skipworth sent the ball sailing high into the Chattanooga night and over the right field fence for the Suns first grand slam of the season.  By the end of the inning, the Suns had scored five runs on four hits to expand the lead to 13-5.  Jacksonville scored runs in each of the first five innings in the game.  During their four game losing streak, the Suns had plated a total of only nine runs.
 
Chattanooga chipped away by scoring three runs in the bottom half of the fifth.  Luis Nunez singled to lead off the inning, and scored on Travis Denker’s double to straightaway center.  The inning was highlighted by a no-doubt-about-it two-run home run to left field off the bat of Pedro Baez, and the score was 13-8.  Baez has hit a two-run homer in two straight games, and he now has 26 runs batted in.  Suns relief pitcher Zach Neal took over for Matthew Neil and struck out Jake Lemmerman for the final out of the inning.
 
The Lookouts didn’t go away quietly, and scored two more runs in the seventh.  J.T. Wise single to left, and Denker doubled behind him.  Baez cashed in a run with a ground out with Wise scoring and Denker moving to third on the play.  With two outs, Lemmerman singled to drive in Denker to cut the lead to 13-10, but that’s as close as Chattanooga would get. 
 
The 13 runs are the most that the Suns have scored in a game this season.  In the first eight games of the season series against the Lookouts, Jacksonville had scored a total of 26 runs. 
 
During the 2011 campaign the Suns hit four grand slams, third-most in the Southern League.  Alex Romero, Luke Montz, Kevin Mattison, and Jake Smolinski each hit one.
 
For the Suns, Kyle Skipworth finished 4-for-4 and hit for the cycle.  He doubled in the first, singled in the third, hit his grand slam in the fifth, and tripled in the seventh.  Skipworth drove in six runs and scored twice.  Danny Black went 3-for-6, drove in a run, and scored two others.  Jake Smolinski was 2-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored.  Paul Gran had two hits and scored twice. 
 
For the Lookouts, Travis Denker went 4-for-5 with two doubles and a home run.  He drove in two runs and scored four times.  Nick Buss, Brahiam Maldonado, and Matt Wallach each finished with two hits in the losing cause.
 
Matthew Neil pitched four and two-thirds innings in his second start for the Suns.  He allowed eight runs on 10 hits and did not figure in the decision.  Zach Neal tossed two and a-third innings to earn his third win of the season.  Evan Reed struck out two of the three batters he faced in a flawless ninth to record his ninth save. 
 
In the spot start, Luis Vasquez allowed five runs on five hits in the first two innings to fall to 1-2.  The Suns are 2-7 this season against the Lookouts, with both of the wins coming against Vasquez.  The 13 runs are the most that the Lookouts have surrendered in a game this season.
 
The series finale is set for Sunday night from AT&T Field with the first pitch scheduled for 6:15 p.m.  The Suns will send RHP Omar Poveda (3-2, 4.54) to the mound for his ninth start of the season.  Jacksonville will try to hand RHP Ethan Martin (5-0, 3.28) his first loss of the year.  Martin is one of only two starting pitchers in the Southern League with a perfect record.

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Suns Fall Short In Extra Innings

Lookouts right fielder Blake Smith hit a solo home run in the third inning off of Suns starter Graham Taylor. Smith leads Chattanooga with seven home runs and 28 runs batted in. Photo Courtesy: Chattanooga Lookouts

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns struck out a season-high 17 times and ended up on the wrong side of a 14-inning affair on Friday night, with the Lookouts winning 5-4 at AT&T Field in Chattanooga.  The Suns lost in extra innings for the first time this season and are now 2-1 when working overtime, with all three of the games on the road.  The Lookouts have gone into extra innings five times in their last 11 games.  Chattanooga is now 3-3 in extra-inning games this season. 

The Suns scored the first run of the game in the second inning against Lookouts starter Chris Withrow, when Shawn Bowman walked to lead off the inning and later scored on a single by Russell Mitchell to give Jacksonville a 1-0 advantage.  Mitchell has driven in nine runs this season. 

The Lookouts used the long ball to take the lead in the bottom half of the second against Suns starter Graham Taylor. After Brahiam Maldonado led off the home half of the inning with a single, Pedro Baez smashed his second home run of the season over the left field fence, a two-run blast that put the Lookouts in front 2-1. 

In the third inning, the Lookouts flexed their muscle again when Blake Smith hit a solo home run to right field off of Taylor to increase the lead to 3-1.  Taylor has given up a team-high seven home runs this season. 

Jacksonville cut into the lead in the fourth when Shawn Bowman led off inning by reaching base again, this time with a single.  Playing in his second straight game, catcher Jake Jefferies drove in Bowman with his second double of the year, and the Suns trailed 3-2.  

In the fifth, the Suns reclaimed the lead when Paul Gran walked, and Jake Smolinski reached on an error by shortstop Jake Lemmerman.  With two on and one out, Bowman continued his strong night at the plate when he doubled into the gap in right-center field, with Gran scoring from second and Smolinski hustling around from first  to give the Suns a 4-3 edge.  That would be the last run of the night.  After scoring four runs on four hits in the first five innings, the Suns had just three hits in the games final nine innings. 

In the home half of the seventh, Rafael Ynoa led off the inning with his first triple of the season.  He wasn’t on base for long, with Nick Buss driving him in with a single on a two strike pitch to tie the game 4-4.  Ynoa would later leave the game after he was injured on a head first slide into first base. 

In the fourteenth inning, lead off hitter Nick Buss was hit by a Josh Schmidt pitch and Luis Nunez singled to left.  After a ground out by J.T. Wise, the Suns walked Blake Smith intentionally to load the bases and take their chances with the pitcher, Blake Johnson.   With Chattanooga out of position players, Johnson was forced to grab a bat and take a trip to the plate.  With the Suns infield in, Johnson helped his own cause with his first hit of the season, sending a grounder back up the middle for the game-winning RBI to give the Lookouts a 5-4 victory.  In the series Lookouts pitchers have five hits against the Suns, with at least one hit in every game. 

This season, 20 of Jacksonville’s first 48 games have been decided by a single run, with the Suns 10-10 in those games.  The Suns won eight of their first 12 one-run games this year, but have won just two of the last eight games decided by the smallest of margins.  

Suns starter Graham Taylor took the mound at 7:20 p.m. for his tenth start of the season.  He allowed four runs on 10 hits over six innings and was long gone when the game ended four hours and nine minutes later.  Relievers Kyle Kaminska, A.J. Ramos, and Bobby Bramhall combined to pitch seven scoreless innings.  Josh Schmidt allowed two hits and the game-winning run the 14th inning to fall to 1-3 on the season. 

Chris Withrow started the game for the Lookouts, and allowed four runs on four hits over five innings.  Before the night was over, Lookouts manager Carlos Subero had made six calls to the bullpen.  In the end, Blake Johnson pitched two hitless innings to earn the win and improve to 2-3.    Both teams combined to use a dozen pitchers.  For the Lookouts, only Luis Vasquez and Allen Webster were left in the bullpen at the end of the night.  Zach Neal, Wade Korpi, and Evan Reed were the only Suns hurlers not to have their names called. 

Jacksonville hitters struck out a season-high 17 times on Friday.  In five of the last eight games, Suns batters have struck out at least 11 times.   Shawn Bowman went 3-for-4, drove in two of the Suns four runs and scored twice.  Jake Jefferies, Russell Mitchell, Danny Black, and Paul Gran each had one hit. 

The Lookouts tied a season-high with 16 hits with 11 players with at least one hit on the night.  Pedro Baez, Luis Nunez, Blake Smith, Jake Lemmerman, and Chris Withrow each finished with two hits apiece. 

Chattanooga has taken the first three games of the series, and won a season-high six straight games.  For the second time in the series the Suns scored the first run but ended up on the losing end.  Jacksonville is now 17-4 this season when scoring the first run of the game.  The Suns have been outscored 19-9 during their four game losing streak, and overall the Suns have just five wins in 21 games and have fallen into fifth place in the South Division.  The Lookouts increased their season-high winning streak to six games. 

Game four of the series is Saturday night with the first pitch slated for 7:15 p.m. from AT&T field in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  RHP Matthew Neil (0-0, 3.60) will make his second start of the season for the Suns.  Neil made his double-A debut May 20 against Pensacola, allowing two runs on five hits over five innings and did not figure in the decision.  The Lookouts will send RHP Nathon Eovaldi (2-2, 3.18) to the mound for his ninth start of the season.

 

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Lookouts Handle Suns 4-1

Lookouts starting pitcher Matt Magill allowed just two hits and struck out ten batters over seven innings to improve his record to 4-2. Photo Courtesy: Chattanooga Lookouts

 By Steve Kolbe 

Chattanooga Lookouts starting pitcher Matt Magill was nearly untouchable, allowing just two hits over seven innings as the Lookouts topped the Suns 4-1 at AT&T Field on Thursday night.

Magill retired the first nine Suns batters he faced in the game, four by strike out.  The only two hits he allowed were doubles to Jeff Dominguez in the fourth inning and Shawn Bowman in the fifth.  The Lookouts scored their first run of the night in the second inning, when Blake Smith drew a leadoff walk from Suns starter Bryan Evans.  With one out, Brahiam Maldonado doubled off the wall in left field with Smith scoring to put Chattanooga in front 1-0.  The walk to Smith was the first issued by Evans in his last three starts. 
 
In the seventh, Evans again walked Smith to lead off the inning and then hit Travis Denker with a 3-2 pitch.  With two on and no one out, the Suns made the call to the bullpen.  Corey Madden came into the game to face Brahiam Maldonado, who has been one of the best hitters in the series so far for the Lookouts.  Maldonado hit a ball high off the left field wall that was initially ruled a home run.  After a lengthy discussion by the umpiring crew, Maldonado was given a double.  Smith and Denker scored on the play to increase the Lookouts lead to 3-0.  Maldonado has driven in five of the Lookouts 10 runs in the series.  Chattanooga tacked on another run to make it 4-0, when Griff Erickson singled to center field with Maldonado crossing the plate.
 
The Suns lone run of the game came against reliever Allen Webster in the eighth inning.  Jake Jefferies led off with a single, and scored when Donnie Webb drove in his tenth run of the season with a double off the left field wall. 
 
Matt Magill tossed seven innings allowing just two hits to improve his record to 4-2.  He struck out 10 Suns batters and did not issue a walk.  Magill has won four of his last five starts since April 24, allowing a total of five runs.  Bryan Evans pitched six innings allowing three runs on three hits to fall 0-4 on the season.  For the second straight start Evans deserved a better fate.  In his last two starts he has gotten just three hits and one run of offensive support while he’s been on the mound.
 
Jeff Dominguez went 2-for-4, and for the second straight game he finished the night with two doubles.  Shawn Bowman, Jake Jefferies, and Donnie Webb were the only other Suns with a hit.  Like the Suns, the Lookouts had only five hits in the game with Brahiam Maldonado going 2-for-2 with three runs batted in.  Blake Smith walked twice and scored to runs for Chattanooga.
 
The Suns have been outscored 14-5 during their three-game losing streak.  Overall, the Suns have lost 15 of the last 20 games since May 6th to fall to 21-26 on the season.   The Lookouts have won five straight games for the first time this year, and Chattanooga is over .500 (24-23) for the first time since beating the Suns April 13 at the Baseball Grounds.  On that night, the Lookouts improved to 5-4 in the ninth game of the season.  The Lookouts two longest winning streaks this season, four games and five games, have both come at the expense of the Suns.
 
Game three of the series is Friday night with the first pitch slated for  7:15 p.m. at AT&T Field in Chattanooga.  Suns lefty Graham Taylor (2-4, 4.47) will make his tenth start of the season for the Suns.  Right-hander Chris Withrow (1-1, 5.52) will take the mound for the Lookouts.
 

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Suns Lose Lead; Fall To Lookouts 6-3

Lookouts center fielder Nick Buss had two hits and drove in two runs with his fifth triple of the season against the Suns on Wednesday at AT&T Field. Photo Courtesy: Chattanooga Lookouts

By Steve Kolbe 

The Jacksonville Suns built a 3-0 lead over Chattanooga, but the Lookouts scored five times in the sixth inning on the way to a 6-3 win at AT&T Field on Wednesday night.
 
The Suns began the scoring in the second inning against Lookouts starting pitcher Aaron Miller.  Shawn Bowman led off the inning with a walk on four pitches,  Kyle Jensen followed with a single, and Kyle Skipworth also drew a free pass to load the bases with no outs.  Miller then bounced a pitch in the dirt that went all the way to the backstop, with Bowman scoring from third to put the Suns in front 1-0.  The wild pitch was just Miller’s second in 42 innings of work this season.  Jeff Dominguez then sent a sacrifice fly to right field, with Jensen scoring to increase the lead to 2-0.
 
In the top of the third, Jacksonville added another run, when shortstop Danny Black led off the inning with a double to right.  With one out, Jake Smolinski also doubled down the right field line and the Suns had a 3-0 advantage.  Black is 5-for-12 with two runs scored in his first three games with the Suns.
 
In the home half of the third, the pitcher Aaron Miller began the inning when he swung at the first pitch and doubled down the left field line off of Suns starter Jose Alvarez.  Miller is the Lookouts best hitting pitcher and helped his own cause, and is now 4-for-13 this season with a double and a triple.  After Nick Buss grounded out to first with Miller advancing to third, Rafael Ynoa put the Lookouts on the board with a single up the middle to make the score 3-1.
 
The Lookouts sent nine men to the plate in the sixth inning, scoring five runs on four hits.  J.T. Wise doubled to start the inning, and Pedro Baez was hit by a pitch.  With runners on first and second, Brahiam Maldonado came to the plate, and with one swing of the bat, the Lookouts had their first lead of the night 4-3.  The two-run blast to left field was Maldonado’s first home run and first runs batted in this season.
 
With Alvarez still on the mound, Griff Erickson doubled with two outs, and pinch hitter Travis Denker was walked intentionally.  Nick Buss then smashed a base-clearing triple to right-center, and the Lookouts had padded their lead to 6-3.  Buss is now third in the Southern League in triples with five.
 
The Lookouts have won five of the six meetings against the Suns this season.  Jacksonville is now a season-high four games below .500 with a record of 21-25.  After winning nine of the first dozen games on the road, the Suns have now lost six of their last eight road contests.  The Suns lost for just the third time this season after scoring the first run of the game (17-3).
 
Chattanooga has won four straight games, outscoring their opponents 31-18 along the way.  The Lookouts improved to 23-23 on the season.  Chattanooga is perfect on the season with a record of 21-0 when leading after the seventh inning. 
 
Jose Alvarez suffered the loss to fall to 1-2 on the season.  He pitched five and two-thirds of an inning allowing six runs on 10 hits, both season highs.  Aaron Miller pitched six innings, allowing three runs on four hits to improve his record to 3-4.  Two of his three wins this season have come against the Suns.  Miller and two relievers combined to one-hit the Suns in a 1-0 Lookouts win April 12th at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.  Logan Bawcom pitched the ninth inning on Wednesday night to earn his third save of the season for the Lookouts.
 
For Jacksonville, Jake Smolinski finished 2-for-4 and drove in a run and Jeff Dominguez went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.  For Chattanooga, Nick Buss was 2-for-5 and drove in a pair of runs with his fifth triple of the season.  Griff Erickson went 2-for-3 and scored a run.  Nine different Lookouts batters had at least one hit in the game.  The Suns scored three runs on nine hits, the Lookouts plated six runs on 11 hits.  The Suns haven’t out hit an opponent in their last nine games.
 
The Suns will look to bounce back on Thursday with Bryan Evans (0-3, 4.08) starting his ninth game of the season.  Matt Magill (3-2, 3.73) gets the call for the Lookouts.  The first pitch is set for 7:15p.m. from AT&T Field in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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Blue Wahoos Down Suns In Series Finale

Blue Wahoos starting pitcher Tim Crabbe gave up just two hits in six scoreless innings and struck out six against the Suns to earn his second win of the season. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe 

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos used strong starting pitching from Tim Crabbe, and a three-run home run from Yordanys Perez to top the Jacksonville Suns 4-1 on Monday afternoon at the Baseball Grounds.
 
Omar Poveda kept the Pensacola bats silent until the sixth, when he lost his control and walked center fielder Ryan LaMarre on four pitches to lead off the inning.  LaMarre’s 12 stolen bases are third-most in the league, and with Poveda trying to limit his lead from first base, he threw the ball away allowing LaMarre to advance to second on the throwing error.  On the next pitch, Didi Gregorius drove in the first run of the day with a single up the middle, with LaMarre scoring from second base to give Pensacola a 1-0 lead.
 
The Blue Wahoos increased their lead in the eighth inning against Suns reliever Corey Madden.  With one out, Brodie Green and Joel Guzman each singled.  They weren’t on base for long, when Yordanys Perez turned on an 0-2 pitch and hit his second home run of the season to increase Pensacola’s lead to 4-0.   Guzman hit safely in every game in the series going 8-for-21 with 6 RBI. 
 
Perez finished the day 3-for-4 with two singles and the three-run home run.  He tied his career highs for hits and RBI in a single game.  Pensacola has smashed 15 home runs in the month of May, after hitting just 11 in the first month of the season.
 
Suns second baseman Jeff Dominguez hit a solo home run to right field off of reliever Justin Freeman to account for Jacksonville’s only run.  It was his second homer of the season, and first since the opening series of the year, when he hit a three-run home run against Huntsville.  The Suns have now hit a home run in seven of the last nine games. 
 
The win gave the Blue Wahoos their first road series victory of the season, while the Suns have now lost their last three series.  Pensacola is one game below .500 with a record of 22-23 and have moved past the Suns in the standings, with Jacksonville falling to 21-24.  The Suns are 9-16 at the Baseball Grounds, and haven’t won more than two straight home games this season.
 
Omar Poveda suffered the loss even though he allowed just three hits and only one run in six innings of work.  Poveda is now 3-2 on the season.  He struck out six and walked three batters.  Zach Neal and A.J. Ramos each pitched an inning of scoreless ball.  Corey Madden allowed three hits and three runs in the Pensacola half of the eighth.
 
Tim Crabbe pitched six scoreless innings and gave up just two hits to even his record at 2-2, with both of his wins this season coming on the road.  The only hits he allowed in the game were singles by Ryan Patterson and Donnie Webb.  In his last three starts, Crabbe has allowed just ten hits and one earned run over 18 innings.  He earned his first win in nearly a month, with his last victory on April 23rd at Montgomery.  Last season leadoff hitters batted just .167 against Crabbe, and the Suns had their leadoff hitter reach base only once in the game against him.
 
The Blue Wahoos once again relied on the bullpen, using four relievers on Monday.  Curtis Partch, Justin Freeman, and Donnie Joseph each pitched an inning and held the Suns to just one run.  Donnie Joseph tossed the ninth inning to record his Southern League leading tenth save of the season.  Joseph earned a save in all three of the Blue Wahoos wins in the series.
 
The Suns dropped to 4-22 when allowing their opponent to score the first run.  The first run has been a key for the Wahoos as well, with 19 of their 22 wins coming when they cross the plate first.  In the final three games of the series, the Blue Wahoos built leads of 6-0, 3-0, and 4-0.  In the last four games of the series, the Suns had just six hits combined in the first five innings of play, and scored a total of three runs against Blue Wahoos starters.
 
The Suns travel to Chattanooga to open up a five-game set with the Lookouts on Wednesday.  In a match up of southpaws, LHP Jose Alvarez (1-1, 4.23) is set to start his eighth game of the season for the Suns in game one.  LHP Aaron Miller (2-4, 5.65) will start his ninth game of the season for Chattanooga.  The Lookouts outscored the Suns 28-18 and took four-of-five at the Baseball Grounds in April.

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Suns Even Series With Wahoos

Shawn Bowman drove in the game tying run in the eighth inning against the Blue Wahoos with a pinch hit double in the Suns 4-3 win at the Baseball Grounds. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns spotted the Pensacola Blue Wahoos a 3-0 lead on Sunday afternoon, but rallied for a 4-3 win at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.  The last three games in the series have all been decided by one run. 

Matthew Neil had impressive numbers in his eight starts with Jupiter, going 6-0 with a 2.06 ERA.  On Sunday,  the Suns sent the 25-year-old right-hander to the mound  looking to even the series against the Wahoos at two wins apiece.  Neil responded by retiring the first three batters he faced in his double-A debut. 
 
In the top of the second, Josh Fellhauer singled to lead off the inning against Neil, and Joel Guzman drove him in with a double into the gap in right-center field to put the Blue Wahoos in front 1-0.  Guzman is 7-for-17 in the series, including three doubles and a three-run home run.  He has hit safely in all four games.
 
The Wahoos increased the lead in the fifth inning, when Mark Fleury singled with one out and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Pensacola pitcher Daniel Corcino.  Moving the runner into scoring position paid off, when Ryan LaMarre drove in Fleury with a single to right field for a 2-0 Wahoos lead.
 
In the sixth, the Blue Wahoos added a run against Suns reliever  Bobby Bramhall.  Brodie Greene and Josh Fellhauer both singled, and after a force out put runners on first and third, the rarely used suicide squeeze came into play.  Stephen Hunt bunted back to the pitcher Bramhall, with Greene breaking from third base on the pitch, and scoring the Blue Wahoos third run of the day.  
 
Pensacola starter Daniel Corcino was cruising along into the sixth inning.  He allowed just two singles, and at one point retired 11 straight Suns batters, seven by strikeout.  In the sixth, Suns shortstop Danny Black singled to lead off the inning and Donnie Webb followed by hitting a two-run home run into the right field stands to cut the Blue Wahoos lead to 3-2.  It was Webb’s first home run of the season, and the Suns have now hit the long ball in six of their last eight games.
 
The Suns pulled even in the bottom of the seventh against relief pitcher Drew Hayes.  Curt Smith hit his ninth double of the season, and pinch-hitter Shawn Bowman doubled to drive home Smith with the tying run and the Blue Wahoos 3-0 lead had vanished.
 
Late inning heroics have been the norm for the Suns this week with two ninth inning wins, and Sunday afternoon was no exception when it came to late inning thrills.
 
In the bottom of the eight, Kyle Skipworth snapped an 0-for-21 stretch with a one out single off of Clayton Tanner.  After Tanner struck out Russell Mitchell, the stage was set for Kyle Jensen.  Celebrating his 24th birthday, Jensen completed the comeback by gift wrapping the go-ahead run with a double off the left field wall, with Skipworth hustling all the way from first to score putting the Suns in front 4-3.
 
Pensacola threatened in the top of the ninth against Evan Reed, when David Vidal and Mark Fleury hit back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners with one out.  The Blue Wahoos turned to Yordanys Perez, who entered the game as a pinch hitter.  He hit the ball sharply to Suns shortstop Danny Black, who handled it cleanly and started the game-ending double play.  Not to be overlooked was the effort by second baseman Paul Gran, who absorbed a hard slide by Vidal and still made the throw to first to finish the play.
 
It was memorable double-A debut for infielder Danny Black.  He finished 3-for-4 with three singles and scored a run.  Curt Smith went 2-for-4 for his third multi-hit game of the season.  Brodie Greene, Mark Fleury, and Josh Fellhauer each finished the day 2-for-4 for the Blue Wahoos.
 
Matthew Neil’s double-A debut has to be considered a success.  He allowed two runs on five hits over five innings against a Blue Wahoos team that ranks second in the Southern League in batting with a .260 average.  Neil is now 11-3 in his 24 minor league starts.  Evan Reed pitched the final two innings to improve to 3-1, and now has earned both wins for the Suns in this series. 
 
Coming off his worst outing of the season after he allowed six runs over five innings, Daniel Corcino found his touch against the Suns tossing six innings allowing just two runs on four hits.  He struck out a season-high nine batters, fanning at least one in every inning except the sixth.  Corcino, who has the best fastball in the Reds system, threw 105 pitches on the afternoon.  He’s given up more than three earned runs in a game only once in his nine starts this season.  Clayton Tanner pitched one and a-third innings and gave up the winning run to fall to 0-3 on the season.
 
The series finale is 11:05a.m. Monday morning at the Baseball Grounds.  In a match up of right handers, the Suns will send Omar Poveda (3-1, 5.05) to the mound for his sixth start of the season.  The Blue Wahoos counter with Tim Crabbe (1-2, 4.24).

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Suns Comeback Falls Short Against Blue Wahoos

Suns right fielder Kyle Jensen drove in two runs with a double in the seventh inning. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos jumped out to a big lead over the Jacksonville Suns and held on for a 6-5 win at the Baseball Grounds on Saturday night.  The Suns have now lost seven of the last eight home games. 

In a rough first inning for Suns starter Graham Taylor, the first three batters of the game for Pensacola had a hit.  Ryan LaMarre led off the game with a double, and Didi Gregorius singled to put runners on first and third.  Brodie Greene delivered the game’s first run with a single to give Pensacola a 1-0 lead.  With one out, David Vidal singled to left field with Gregorius scoring to increase the lead to 2-0.  In the inning, the Blue Wahoos had scored two runs on five hits. 

The Blue Wahoos doubled their lead in the fifth, when Joel Guzman swung at the first pitch he saw from Taylor and hit his sixth home run of the season, a two-run blast into the right field stands.  Guzman has plenty of power, he led all of double-A baseball in 2010 when he hit 33 home runs for the Bowie Baysox.  It’s the fourth home run that Graham Taylor has allowed this season. 

While his teammates padded the lead, Pensacola starter Kyle Lotzkar cruised through four innings allowing just two singles.  He was replaced by reliever Mark Serrano in the fifth inning.  The only two Suns players with hits against Lotzkar were Jake Smolinski and Chris Gutierrez.  After the game, Gutierrez was promoted to triple-A New Orleans. 

Pensacola scored two more runs in the seventh off of reliever Kyle Kaminska to take command of the game.  LaMarre once again led off the inning with his second double of the game, and Brodie Greene drove him in to make it 5-0.  Joel Guzman then singled to drive in Greene for a 6-0 Pensacola advantage. 

In the bottom of the seventh, the Suns came to life against a Pensacola bullpen struggling with control.  Paul Gran led off the inning when he was hit in the shoulder by Mark Serrano.  Jeff Dominguez singled moving Gran to third, and Dominguez took second on a throw to the infield.  Jake Smolinski knocked in the Suns first run with an infield single for his 10th run batted in this season to make it 6-1.  With two outs, Kyle Jensen double to left and to drive in two runs with Dominguez and Smolinski scoring to cut the lead in half with the Blue Wahoos in front 6-3. 

Reliever Wilkin De La Rose entered the game and struggled to find the plate.  He walked three straight batters as Jake Jefferies, Russell Mitchell, and pinch-hitter Curt Smith all were given a free pass.  Smith’s walk came with the bases loaded to force in a run, and the Suns trailed 6-4.  Paul Gran started the inning when he was hit by a pitch, and at the plate for the second time in the inning he was hit by the first pitch from De La Rosa to force in another run and Jacksonville had cut the Blue Wahoos lead to 6-5.  The Suns sent 11 men to the plate and scored five runs on just three hits in the inning.   

The Suns stranded a season-high 13 runners on base, and twice during the night left the bases loaded.  Jacksonville center fielder Ryan Patterson struck out and flied out with the bases loaded and is now 0-for-4 this season with the bases full. 

Suns starter Graham Taylor pitched six innings, allowing eight hits and four runs to fall to 2-4.  He had allowed a total of four runs in his last two starts.  Taylor is 1-3 at the Baseball Grounds this season.  Mark Serrano pitched two and a-third innings, allowing one hit and two runs and earned the win to improve his record to 3-0.  Donnie Joseph pitched the ninth for his league-leading ninth save of the season.  He has closed the door on the Suns in each of the last two games. 

With the loss, Jacksonville is now 8-15 at the Baseball Grounds this season.  The Suns fell to 3-21 when allowing the first run of the game, and are now 9-9 in games decided by a single run.  Jacksonville is 3-10 against team’s from the South Division in the month of May. 

The Blue Wahoos collected 13 hits on the night, with eight players recording at least one.  Ryan LaMarre finished 3-for-4 with two doubles and scored two runs.  LaMarre is batting .306 on the road this season with 15 runs scored,  10 extra-base hits, and six stolen bases.  LaMarre swiped his 12th base of the season on Saturday, and is now seventh in the league in stolen bases.  Brodie Greene, Joel Guzman, and David Vidal had two hits apiece.  For the Suns, Jeff Dominguez and Jake Smolinski each finished 2-for-4 with a run scored.  Kyle Jensen drove in two runs for the Suns.  Paul Gran, Curt Smith, and Jake Smolinski each drove in a run. 

The Suns will look to get back on track on Sunday afternoon with new arrival Matt Neil on the mound.  The right-hander is schedule to make his first start double-A start.  RHP Daniel Corcino (2-2, 3.64) takes the hill for his ninth start of the year for Pensacola. The first pitch from the Baseball Grounds is 3:05PM ET and can be seen on CW-17 in Jacksonville.

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