By Steve Kolbe
The pitchers stole the spotlight at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville on Friday night, with Generals starter Danny Hultzen and a reliever combining on a two-hitter against the Suns in a 1-0 win. The loss dropped the Suns record on Friday nights this season to 1-9.
The Generals scored the only run of the game in the first inning against Jose Alvarez. Nick Franklin singled and scored when Denny Almonte doubled down the left field line to put Jackson in front 1-0. Three of the Generals five hits in the game were in first innng by the first four hitter of the night. The Generals have seven shutouts this season, with five of them on the road.
For the Generals, First Round draft pick Danny Hultzen entered the game with the lowest ERA in the Southern League. He won his fifth straight game to improve to 7-3 on the season, and increased his scoreless inning streak to 22.2 innings. An All-Star selection for the North team, Hultzen pitched eight innings for the first time this season, allowing just two singles and three base runners total. For the Suns, Jose Alvarez had his best start of the season pitching eight innings and allowing just one run. Alvarez gave up just one hit after the first inning, but suffered the loss and dropped to 1-3 on the season.
The Suns have been shutout five times this season, with four of them coming at home. The Generals earned their seventh shutout of the year, and just their second on the road.
Chris Gutierrez and Paul Gran had the only hits for the Suns in the game, and Kyle Skipworth drew a walk. This season, 25 of Jacksonville’s 62 games have decided by one run with the Suns 13-13 in those contests.
With just five wins in their last 17 home games, the Suns dropped to 12-20 at the Baseball Grounds in the first half of the season with three games left to play. During the 2011 campaign, Jacksonville finished with an 18-17 record at home in the first half.
Game three of the series is Saturday with the first pitch scheduled for 6:05PM at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. The Suns will send LHP Graham Taylor (3-5, 4.93) to the mound for his 13th start of the season. For the Generals, RHP Taylor Stanton (1-1, 7.56) will take the hill for his 3rd time this season.