By Steve Kolbe
The Suns and Biscuits split a doubleheader on Sunday May 13th at Riverwalk Stadium with Jacksonville winning the first game 6-2, and Montgomery claiming game two 7-1.
In the first game of the day, the Suns took the lead in the fourth inning off of Montgomery starter Jake Thompson. Dallas Poulk led off the inning with a single, and later scored when Kyle Jensen sent a sacrifice fly to center to put Jacksonville in front 1-0. The lead was short lived, with Montgomery sending eight men to the plate and scoring twice with two outs in the bottom half of the fourth . At one point, five straight batters reached base in the inning against Suns reliever Bobby Bramhall, with Greg Sexton and Brad Coon each driving in a run with and RBI single for a 2-1 Biscuits advantage.
The Suns took the lead for good in the fifth inning when Russell Mitchell led off with a single, and Jake Jefferies followed with a double to put runners on second and third. Chris Gutierrez then drove in his ninth run of the season with a sacrifice fly to tie the game 2-2, and Jake Smolinski singled to knock in Jefferies with the go-ahead run and give Jacksonville a 3-2 lead.
Suns designated hitter Kyle Jensen hit his fourth home run of the season in the sixth, when he jumped on the first pitch from relief pitcher Marquis Fleming and sent it over the right field wall to increase the Suns lead to 4-2.. It was Jensen’s fourth home run of the season. Later in the inning, Donnie Webb drove in Ryan Patterson with a sacrifice fly and Dallas Poulk added an RBI single with Jefferies scoring to expand the lead to 6-2.
The win snapped the Suns six game losing streak. Jacksonville had four extra-base hits in the game, one more than their total in the previous six games. The Suns improved to 15-1 when scoring the first run of the game.
Corey Madden (1-0) pitched an inning and a third to earn his first win of the season. Bryan Evans, who beat Montgomery for his first career double-A victory last August, started game one of the twin bill for the Suns. Evans was forced to leave the game after he was injured on a play at the plate in the first inning, when he was sent into the air and landed on his back after tagging out the runner Ty Morrison. Biscuits starter Jake Thompson (0-4) dropped his fourth straight game to fall to 0-4 on the season. He allowed three runs on five hits in four and two-thirds innings of work.
In the night cap, the Biscuits used the big inning to defeat the Suns 7-1. Montgomery jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the third inning against Suns starter Zach Neal, when David Wendt tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Emeel Salem.
Montgomery broke the game open by scoring five times in the fifth inning to increase the lead to 6-0. The big hit in the inning was a fly ball to left field off the bat of Kyeong Kong with the bases loaded. Three runs scored when Jake Smolinski fell down trying to make the tough catch and was given an error on the play. Tyler Bortnick and Emeel Salem also drove in a run in the inning against Neal and reliever Wade Korpi.
The Suns scored their only run of the second game when Paul Gran walked in the sixth inning and then scored on a ground out by Smolinski. The Biscuits tacked on a run in the bottom half of the sixth, when David Wendt singled and was driven in by Ty Morrison. Wendt finished the game 3-for-3 with three runs scored.
Alex Koronis (1-0) pitched two innings for his first win of the season. Spot starter Merrill Kelly, normally a long reliever, and two relief pitchers combined to allow the Suns just three hits in the seven inning game. Zach Neal (2-5) pitched four and two-thirds innings and suffered his fourth straight loss after allowing just one earned run.
Game four of the series is set for Monday night at Riverwalk stadium with the first pitch scheduled for 8:05PM ET. LHP Graham Taylor (2-3, 4.81) will start his eighth game of the season for Jacksonville. RHP Shane Dyer (4-2, 2.18) takes the mound for Montgomery for his eighth start of the year.