By Steve Kolbe
The Jacksonville Suns hammered out a season-high 14 hits, and used a late inning rally for a 9-6 win over the Blue Wahoos in Pensacola on Saturday night. The Suns took sole possession of third place in the South Division with the victory.
The Suns took the lead in the first inning against Blue Wahoos starter Tim Crabbe. Chris Gutierrez walked to start the game for the second straight night, and German Duran doubled off the left field wall to put runners on second and third with no outs. Kyle Jensen then gave the Suns a 1-0 lead with a ground ball to the right side of the infield for his 30th RBI of the season. The Suns improved to 21-5 when scoring the first run of the game. The Blue Wahoos fell to 4-19 when they allow the first run.
German Duran increased the Suns lead in the third inning with his second home run of the season, a solo blast to left field for a 2-0 advantage. Duran finished the game 3-for-5 and a triple shy of the cycle. He drove in two runs and scored three times.
Suns starter Omar Poveda allowed just three hits in the first four innings, but struggled in the fifth with the first five Pensacola batters in the inning reaching base. Pensacola sent 10 men to the plate in the inning and scored six times. Pinch hitter Stephen Hunt singled and Ryan LaMarre walked to start the rally. Didi Gregorius hit a ball sharply to first that went under the glove of German Duran and into right field, with Hunt scoring on the error to put the Blue Wahoos on the board. Brodie Greene gave Pensacola a 3-2 lead when he drove in two runs with a single to center, with LaMarre and Gregorius crossing the plate. David Vidal drove in a run with a single to increase the lead to 4-2. The Blue Wahoos used the suicide squeeze with Josh Fellhauer racing home from third, and a sacrifice fly by Mark Fleury to make the score 6-2. The Suns have allowed six runs in an inning three times this season.
The Suns started their comeback in the seventh when Donnie Webb doubled to lead off the inning. With two outs, German Duran singled to right to drive in his second run of the night to cut the lead to 6-3. Shawn Bowman followed with double, with Duran scrambling all the way from first and it was 6-4 Blue Wahoos.
In the eighth, the Suns put together the big inning against reliever Justin Freeman sending eight men to the plate and scoring four runs on five hits. Bowman drove in two runs with his third double of the game. Webb and Gutierrez each had RBI singles and the Suns grabbed an 8-6 lead.
Jacksonville tacked on one more in the ninth when Jeff Dominguez doubled and scored on Webb’s sacrifice fly. German Duran, Shawn Bowman, and Jake Jefferies each finished with three hits. Bowman’s three doubles tied Jake Smolinski and Paul Gran for the most in a game this season.
The Suns improved to 10-6 against the Blue Wahoos this season. Jacksonville has won five of the six games played at Bay Front Stadium. The Suns have won three of their last four games while the Blue Wahoos have lost three straight and nine of the last 13 games.