Monthly Archives: July 2012

Suns Slip Past Braves In Ninth

 

Catcher Kyle Skipworth(left)and second baseman Paul Gran each collected three hits in the Suns 8-7 walk-off win over the Mississippi Braves July 19, 2012 at the Baseball Grounds. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

New faces help the Jacksonville Suns come back to win a walk-off thriller 8-7 over the Mississippi Braves on Thursday night at the Baseball Grounds.  The Suns won for just the second time this season when trailing going into the ninth inning (2-43).  Jacksonville also came back to beat Montgomery 5-4 on May 15 when Jake Jefferies hit a three-run home run in the top of the ninth at Riverwalk Stadium.
 
The Braves used the long ball to take the lead against Suns starter James Leverton, who hadn’t surrendered a home run in his previous 10 appearances.  Tim Smith and Christian Marrero each hit solo home runs in the second inning to put the Braves up 2-0.  For Smith it was just his second of the season, for Morrero it was his first home run of the year but he made it count.  Morrero’s blast cleared the right field stands and headed toward the street.   In the third inning, Christian Bethancourth hit his first home run of the year to extend the lead to 3-0. 
 
The Suns broke through in the home half of the third against Mississippi starting pitcher David Hale.  With one out, Chris Gutierrez doubled to the wall in left field to extend his hitting streak to 14 games.  Paul Gran then drove in his 21st run of the season with a single to center, with Gutierrez motoring around from second to cut the Braves lead to 3-1.  With two outs, Kyle Skipworth smashed a two-run home run to tie the game 3-3.  Skipworth has hit four round trippers in the last three games, and his 11 home runs this season match his total last year’s campaign.
 
In the fifth inning, Phil Gosselin led off with his second triple of the season and scored on Jason Christian’s RBI-single to center to give the Braves a 4-3 edge.  In the seesaw affair, the Suns stormed back in the bottom of the fifth.  Chris Gutierrez walked to lead off the inning, but Hale retired both Paul Gran and Kyle Jensen on fly balls.  With two outs, Kyle Skipworth doubled to drive in Gutierrez to tie the game 4-4.  Ben Lasater then followed with a double for his first RBI of the season, with Skipworth rumbling home to vault the Suns back into the lead 5-4. 
 
The Braves jumped ahead in the sixth against Suns reliever Mike Ojala.  Joe Terdoslavich led off with a double into the left field corner, and scored when Joe Leonard singled to knot the game 5-5.  After a single by Marrero put runners on the corners, Phil Gosselin hit a sacrifice fly to center with Leonard tagging from third for a 6-5 Mississippi advantage.
 
The Suns used three singles in the seventh inning to tie the score 6-6.  Paul Gran led off the inning with a base knock, and scored on Shawn Bowman’s two-out RBI-single.  In a game where no lead was safe, the Braves went back in front in the eighth inning against Kyle Kaminska.  After Joe Leonard doubled and Christian Marrero singled, pinch hitter Alden Carrithers swung at the first pitch he saw and sent a fly ball into center field, with Marrero scoring on the sacrifice to give the Braves a 7-6 lead going into the ninth.
 
Mississippi turned to their closer Mark Lamm, who entered the night with 10 saves.  Paul Gran led off the ninth inning with a single to left field to start the rally.  After Kyle Jensen went down on strikes, Kyle Skipwroth and Ben Lasater each walked to load the bases with one out.  Lamm then retired Shawn Bowman with one pitch on a foul pop to the catcher.  With two outs, center fielder Danny Pertusati took center stage and stole the spotlight in his first Double-A game.  Pertusati singled to right field past the diving second baseman, with both Gran and pinch runner Donnie Webb scoring to give the Suns the walk-off win 8-7.  Pertusati was mobbed in the infield by his new teammates to celebrate the win.  The Suns scored seven of their eight runs in the game after there were two outs in an inning.
 
Kyle Skipworth and Paul Gran each had three hits.  Skipworth finished 3-for-4 with three RBI’s and two runs scored.  He has hit four home runs and driven in seven over the last three games.  Gran collected three singles, drove in a run, and scored three of the Suns eight runs.  Chris Gutierrez extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a double in the third inning.  It’s his second streak this season of at least 14 games.  The last time that Gutierrez was held without a hit was July 1st against Pensacola. 
 
Suns starter James Leverton allowed four runs on five hits in five innings of work, including three home runs.  He struck out a season-high seven batters.  After being acquired by the Marlins on July 9, Jon Link pitched the ninth to earn the win in his first game with Jacksonville.  Suns pitchers did not issue a walk for the eleventh time this season.  Braves closer Mark Lamm took the loss to drop to 0-4 this season.
 
The Suns have won three straight games for the first time since April 28 to May 2 when they won four in a row.  Overall, Jacksonville has won five of the last six games..  This season 35 of the Suns 97 games have been decided by a single run (17-18).  The Braves have dropped six of their last seven games, and have been outscored 49-29 in those games.  Mississippi lost for just the second time this season when taking a lead into the ninth (29-2). 
 
Game two of the series is Friday with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.  RHP Bryan Evans (3-6, 3.97) will take the mound for the Suns.  Evans allowed just one run in five and a-third innings and earned the victory as the Suns topped the Blue Wahoos 6-1 in Pensacola last week.  LHP Brent Leach (0-2, 1.59) is set to start his second game of the season for the Braves. 
 

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Suns Finish Season Series With Blue Wahoos

 By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns edged the Blue Wahoos 5-4 in 10 innings on Tuesday night at Bayfront Stadium.  The Suns finished the season with a record of 16-11 against their in-state rival.
 
Kyle Skipworth led the Suns at the plate with two home runs and three RBI’s in the game.  Skipworth has hit six of his 10 home runs this season against Pensacola, and five of them at Bayfront Stadium.  
 
Jacksonville had leads of 2-0, 3-1, and 4-3 but the Blue Wahoos rallied back every time.  With the Suns ahead 4-3 in the bottom of the eighth, the Wahoos scored the game-tying run with two outs to even the score at 4-4 and send the game into extra innings.
 
In the tenth inning Chris Gutierrez singled, went to second on a wild pitch, took third on a pass ball, and scored when Kyle Jensen hit an infield single to give the Suns the lead 5-4.  Jacksonville improved to 15-18 in games decided by one run.  The Suns are 4-2 in extra inning games this season.
 
Kyle Skipworth and Chris Gutierrez each had two hits for the Suns.  Miguel Rojas and Ryan LaMarre had multi-hit games for the Blue Wahoos.  Josh Schmidt (4-3) pitched the ninth for the win.  A.J. Ramos earned his 12th save of the season.
 
The Suns begin a nine game homestand on Thursday night when the Mississippi Braves come to the Baseball Grounds for a four game series.
 

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Suns Edge Blue Wahoos

 

Jake Smolinski(left)walked three times in the Suns 2-1 win over the Blue Wahoos July 16, 2012 at Bayfront Stadium. Photo Courtesy: Pensacola Blue Wahoos

By Steve Kolbe

Klye Skipworth hit a solo home run in the sixth inning to lead the Jacksonville Suns past the Pensacola Blue Wahoos 2-1 on Monday night at Bayfront Stadium.
 
The Suns took the lead in the third inning against Blue Wahoos starter J.C. Sulbaran.  After retiring the first eight batters of the game, Sulbaran surrendered a single to Suns pitcher Graham Taylor with two outs in the third.  Jake Smolinski then walked, and Chris Gutierrez beat out an infield single to load the bases.  Paul Gran walked on a full count to force in Taylor to give the Suns a 1-0 lead.  Jacksonville improved to 35-14 when scoring the first run of the game.
 
Kyle Skipworth increased the lead to 2-0 when he led of the sixth inning by smashing his eighth home run of the season off of reliever Wilkin De La Rosa.  Skipworth has hit four of his eight home runs off of Blue Wahoos pitching, with three of them at Bayfront Stadium.  The Suns have hit 21 of their 62 round trippers this season off Blue Wahoos pitching, the most against any team.
 
Graham Taylor pitched six scoreless innings, allowing just three singles.  The Suns went to the bullpen with Kyle Kaminska entering the game in the seventh.  Pensacola first baseman Beau Mills greeted Kaminska with a solo home run to right field to cut the Suns lead to 2-1, but that would be all the offense the Wahoos could generate in the game.   Kaminska has given up a long ball in the seventh inning in each of his last two outings.
 
The win was just the fourth this season for the Suns when they have been held to three runs or less (4-33), with two of the four wins against the Blue Wahoos.
 
The Suns collected just five hits in the game, and have a total of 19 in the first three games of the series.  Chris Gutierrez finished 2-for-4, and pitcher Graham Taylor went 2-for-2 and scored a run.  With a pair of singles, Taylor is the first Suns pitcher with a multi-hit game this season.  Jake Smolinski and Paul Gran each had three of the Suns nine walks in the game. 
 
Jacksonville is 15-11 overall this season against Pensacola, and 9-4 at Bayfront Stadium with one game left to play.  A win in the series finale on Tuesday would give the Suns their fourth series win over the Blue Wahoos this season.  Pensacola hasn’t lost two straight games in nearly a month (June 25 and 26).
 
Graham Taylor (5-8) snapped a four game road losing streak, winning for the first time since April 23.    In his last two starts overall, Taylor has allowed just one run over 11 innings of work.  Josh Schmidt pitched the eighth for the Suns, striking out two of the four batters he faced.  A.J. Ramos entered the game in the ninth inning and retired the side in order, including a strike out of David Vidal to end the game.  Ramos earned his 11th save of the season, and has a save in each of the Suns last five wins.  J.C. Sulbaran (6-7) allowed one run on three hits in four and two-thirds innings.  He entered the game second in strikeouts in the Southern League, with 33 of his 94 strikeouts against the Suns over four games.  Sulbaran had just four strikeouts Monday night  and also walked four batters.
 
The final game of the season between the the Suns and Blue Wahoos is Tuesday night, with the first pitch slated for 8:00 p.m.  RHP Matthew Neil (1-5, 5.72) takes the hill for the Suns.  He has lost his last five decisions.  RHP Wirfin Obispo (1-0, 2.28) is scheduled to make his first start of the season from the Blue Wahoos.

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Wahoos Shortstop Billy Hamilton Hits Inside The Park Home Run

Daniel Corcino(above)allowed just one run and struck out six in the Blue Wahoos 6-2 win over the Suns. Photo Courtesy: Pensacola Blue Wahoos

By Steve Kolbe

Pensacola shortstop Billy Hamilton hit the first inside-the-park home run in team history, and the Blue Wahoos evened the series against the Suns with a 6-2 win on Sunday afternoon at Bayfront Stadium.

Suns lefty Jose Alvarez came off the disabled list to make his first start since July 2nd, when he was forced to leave a game against Pensacola with a groin injury. The Blue Wahoos jumped out to the lead in the second inning against Alvarez. Bill Rhinehart led off with a double, but Alvarez was able to retire the next two Blue Wahoos batters. Miguel Rojas drew a two-out walk to put runners on second and third, and Mark Fleury then doubled down the right field line with both Rhinehart and Rojas scoring to give Pensacola a 2-0 advantage. Fleury entered the game batting just .143 against left handed pitchers. Blue Wahoos starting pitcher Daniel Corcino helped his own cause by driving in Fleury with a RBI-single to make the score 3-0. The Blue Wahoos improved to 38-14 when scoring the first run of the game, the Suns dropped to 10-37 when allowing the first run.

The Suns scored their first run of the day in the second inning when Paul Gran drove in his 19th run of the season, with Jake Smolinski scoring to cut the Blue Wahoos lead to 3-1.

Pensacola tacked on a run in the fourth when Beau Mills doubled and went to third on a single by Miguel Rojas. With runners on the corners, Fleury drove in his third run of the game when he grounded into a double play, with Mills scoring to pad the lead to 4-1.

Shortstop Billy Hamilton made Pensacola history in the seventh, when he hit a ball to right-center field off of Suns reliever Mike Ojala. Right fielder Kyle Jensen made a diving attempt only to have the ball deflect off his glove, hit center fielder Donnie Webb, and roll all the way to the warning track. Hamilton was given the green light, rounded third, and scored standing up to put Bayfront Stadium’s first inside-the-park home run in the books.

Beau Mills hit a solo home run in the eighth to increase the Blue Wahoos lead to 6-1. Kyle Jensen hit a solo home run in the ninth for the Suns to make it 6-2. It was Jensen’s 12th homer of the season.

Daniel Corcin0 (7-4) allowed one run on five hits over six and a -third innings for the win. Jose Alvarez (2-5) took the loss surrendering four runs on six hits in his four innings of work.

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Suns Beat Blue Wahoos; Win I-10 Panhandle Challenge

 

Catcher Kyle Skipworth drove in a pair of runs to lead the Suns past the Blue Wahoos 6-1. Jacksonville improved to 14-10 this season against Pensacola to clinch the season series. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

 By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns scored three times in the first inning and cruised to a 6-1 win over the Blue Wahoos on Saturday night at Bayfront Stadium.  The Suns improved to 14-10 overall (8-3 on the road) against the Blue Wahoos, and clinched the season series.
 
The Suns jumped out to the lead in the first inning against Wahoos starter Kyle Lotzkar.  Jake Smolinski was hit by a pitch and Chris Gutierrez walked.  With one out, Curt Smith hit a ground ball to shortstop Billy Hamilton who committed an error, with Smolinski scoring from second to put the Suns up 1-0.  Kyle Skipworth then drove in two runs with a double to left-center field to increase the lead to 3-0. 
 
The Blue Wahoos scored their lone run in the third inning.  Billy Hamilton walked, stole second base, and went to third on a throwing error.  Josh Fellhauer then drove in Hamilton with a RBI single to cut the Suns lead to 3-1.
 
Jacksonville loaded the bases in the fifth inning with no outs, when Chris Gutierrez and Curt Smith were each hit by a pitch and Paul Gran singled.  Kyle Jensen singled to center with Gran scoring on the play for a 4-1 Suns advantage.  Jensen leads the Suns with 44 runs batted in this season.  Shawn Bowman then drove in his 43rd run of the season with a ground out to make the score 5-1. 
 
Jake Smolinski walked to lead of the sixth inning and went to third when Gutierrez singled.  Paul Gran drove in the final run of the game when he grounded into a double play, with Smolinski scoring and the Suns led 6-1.  Four of the Suns six runs in the game were scored by base runners that had walked, were hit by a pitch, or reached on an error.
 
Kyle Skipworth went 1-for-2 with two RBI’s and had the only extra base hit for the Suns.  Miguel Rojas and Bryson Smith each had two hits for the Blue Wahoos.
 
Bryan Evans (3-6) allowed one run on six hits in five and a-third innings to earn his first win against Pensacola this season.  Jordan Conley and Josh Schmidt combined to pitch three and two-thirds scoreless innings.  Kyle Lotzkar (4-4) surrendered five runs on just two hits in the loss.  He hit three batters and walked four.
 
The Suns have won the season series against the Blue Wahoos to claim the first I-10 Panhandle Series, and will bring the “Golden Skillet” back to the Baseball Grounds. Game two of the series is Sunday afternoon with the first pitch scheduled for 5:00 p.m. EST. 
 

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Suns Down Biscuits

 

Suns left fielder Jake Smolinski(above)went 3-for-4 with two RBI’s in 4-2 win over the Montgomery Biscuits. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

The Suns avoided a sweep with a 4-2 win over the Montgomery Biscuits on Friday night at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.  The win snapped the Suns four-game home losing streak.
 
The Suns scored four unearned runs in the second inning against Biscuits starter Kyle Lobstein.  After Curt Smith and Kyle Jensen singled, second baseman Tyler Bortnick misplayed a ground ball by Jeff Dominguez with Smith scoring all the way from second base on the error to put the Suns ahead 1-0.  Jose Duarte followed with a double down into the right field corner, with Jensen scoring on the play to increase the lead to 2-0.  Duarte has two RBI’s in his last four games in the starting lineup.  Jake Smolinski added to the lead when he singled up the middle for two RBI’s to give the Suns a 4-0 advantage.
 
The Biscuits scored a run in the third when Ty Morrison grounded out with the bases loaded to make the score 4-1.  Montgomery added another run on a solo home run from catcher Mayo Acosta in the seventh inning.
 
Jake Smolinski went 3-for-4 with two RBI’s to lead the Suns at the plate.  Hak-Ju Lee was the only Biscuits player with more than one hit.  With his two singles, Lee has now reached base safely in 27 straight games.
The Suns had 19 hits in the three game series, 16 singles and three doubles. 
 
Jacksonville manager Andy Barkett was ejected in the first inning for after Biscuits center fielder Ty Morrison appeared to trap a ball hit by Chris Gutierrez, who was initially called safe at second base.  After a discussion between the three umpires, the call was reversed and they ruled Gutierrez out, with Barkett erupting.  After he was ejected, Barkett went to home plate and covered it with dirt.  It’s the fourth time this season that Barkett has been thrown out.
 
James Leverton (1-0) allowed one run on four hits in five and a-third innings for his first win with the Suns.  A.J. Ramos pitched the final two innings to earn his tenth save of the season.  Ramos has a save in each of the Suns last four victories.  Kyle Lobstein (4-5) allowed eight hits and no earned runs in the loss.
 
The Suns begin a four game set in Pensacola on Saturday night with the first pitch slated for 7:30 p.m.  It’s the final meeting of the season between the two teams, with the Suns needing one win to clinch the season series.  The Suns are 13-10 against the Blue Wahoos.

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Biscuits Shut Down Suns 2-1

 

Alex Colome allowed just three singles and struck out nine over six innings in the Biscuits 2-1 win over the Jacksonville Suns. Photo Courtesy: Montgomery Biscuits

By Steve Kolbe

The Suns were held to just four singles in a 2-1 loss to the Montgomery Biscuits on Thursday night at the Baseball Grounds.  Montgomery has outscored the Suns 8-3 in the first two games of the series.   The Biscuits moved ahead of the Blue Wahoos into sole possession of first place in the South Division.
 
The starting pitchers, Matthew Neil for the Suns and Alex Colome for the Biscuits, combined to allow just four singles in the first four innings of the game.  Jacksonville failed to take advantage of some control issues by Colome.  He walked a season-high six batters in his six innings of work, but didn’t surrender a run.
 
Montgomery took the lead in the fifth inning against Neil.  Michael Sheridan hit a high fly ball to left field that fell in fair territory between the trio of Jose Duarte, Chris Gutierrez, and Curt Smith.  Sheridan ended up on second, and scored when Brett Nommensen singled up the middle to put the Biscuits up 1-0.  The Suns are 10-36 when allowing the first run of the game.
 
Biscuits shortstop Hak-Ju Lee helped generate a run in the sixth inning when he led off with a walk, stole second base, and went to third on Neil’s second wild pitch of the night.  With one out, Omar Luna hit a sacrifice fly to center, with Lee beating the throw to the plate to increase the lead to 2-0.
 
The Suns scored their only run of the game in the seventh inning against reliever Shane Dyer.  Jose Duarte walked, Jake Jefferies singled, and Donnie Webb walked to load the bases with no outs.  Chris Gutierrez then grounded into a double play, with Duarte scoring to make the score 2-1.
 
The Biscuits have won five straight games against the Suns, and improved to 9-3 overall in the season series.  Jacksonville is 9-13 in games this season with the designated hitter. 
 
The Suns fell to 14-18 in one-run games this season, and Jacksonville is now 3-32 when scoring fewer than three runs in a game.
 
Omar Luna was the only player to collect two hits in the game.  The Suns have 10 hits in the series against the Biscuits, but only one for exrtra bases.
 
Suns starter Matthew Neil (1-5) allowed two runs on five hits in five and two-thirds innings, and has lost his last five decisions.  Alex Colome (5-3) allowed just three singles over his six innings of work.  He stuck out nine, one shy of his season high.  Colome allowed six runs on eight hits in just three innings the last time he faced the Suns June 26 at Riverwalk Stadium.  Kirby Yates pitched two innings of hitless ball to earn his eighth save of the season.  The Biscuits are the only team in the Southern League to have two pitchers with eight saves of more (Adame Liberatore-8; Kirby Yates-8).
 
The Suns will look to salvage the final game of the series Friday night, with the first pitch slated for 7:05 p.m. from the Baseball Grounds.  LHP James Leverton (0-0, 2.25) will start his third game of the season for the Suns.  LHP Kyle Lobsein (4-4, 4.47) takes the mound for the Biscuits.
 
 

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Biscuits Top Suns; Lee’s Hit Streak Reaches 21

 

Shortstop Hak-Ju Lee set the Montgomery franchise record by extending his hitting streak to 21 games. Lee doubled in the ninth inning in the Biscuits 6-2 win over the Jacksonville Suns to break the record that had stood since 2005. Photo Courtesy: Montgomery Biscuits

By Steve Kolbe

In the start of an important stretch with Jacksonville playing seven straight games against teams ahead of them in the South standings, the Suns fell to the Biscuits 6-2 on Wednesday at the Baseball Grounds.  The Biscuits kept pace with Penasacola for the divsion lead with the win (12-8).
 
Suns starter Graham Taylor was reinstated off the disabled list prior to the game against the Biscuits, and made his first appearance since allowing six runs on 10 hits in five innings in a loss at Montgomery.  Taylor pitched well, throwing 87 pitches and allowing just three singles over the first four innings. 
 
In the fifth, leadoff man Michael Sheridan didn’t waste any time giving the Biscuits a 1-0 lead, swinging at the first pitch from Taylor and clubbing his sixth home run of the season into the right field bleachers.  The Suns fell to 10-35 when allowing the first run of the game.
 
The Biscuits took command of the game in the sixth against Suns reliever Josh Schmidt.  Ty Morrison walked to lead off the inning, and Ryan Garko was grazed in the jersey by a pitch.  With one out, Tyler Bortnick singled to load the bases.  Already with a home run, Sheridan came through in the clutch when he doubled to right field with Morrison and Garko both scoring to increase the Biscuits lead to 3-0.  Sheridan was 1-for-7 with the bases loaded entering the game.  Schmidt retired Brett Nommensen on a grounder back to the pitcher, but with two outs Brad Coon singled to drive in a pair of runs to make the score 5-0.  The Biscuits batted around in the inning, scoring four times on three hits.
 
The Suns scored their only two runs of the night in the home half of the sixth against Montgomery starter Nick Barnese.  Donnie Webb led off with a single to center.  With one out, Jake Smolinski reached on shortstop Hak-Ju Lee’s eighteenth error of the season to put runners on first and second.  Curt Smith followed with a RBI-single to center, driving in Webb to put the Suns on the scoreboard.  Smith has 39 RBI’s this season.  After Ben Lasater singled to load the bases, Montgomery brought in reliever Joe Cruz.  Kyle Jensen dove in his 42nd run of the year with a grounder to first base, with Smolinski scoring on the play to cut the lead to 5-2, but that’s as close as the Suns would get.
 
In the ninth inning, Mark Thomas doubled to deep center and Hak-Ju Lee doubled into the right field corner with Thomas crossing the plate to add to the lead at 6-2.  Lee set the Montgomery team record with his 21st consecutive game with a hit, breaking the team record held by Rico Washington during the 2005 campaign.  In 13 of the 21 games during the streak Lee has had only one hit, and he has waited until his final at-bat four times to extend the streak.  Lee has hit safely against the Suns six times in the 21 games.
 
Suns starter Graham Taylor (4-8) allowed one run on five hits over five innings in the loss.  Nick Barnese (1-0) allowed five hits and two unearned runs to earn the win in just his fourth start.  He missed the first half of the season with after straining his shoulder during spring training.   Adam Liberatore allowed one hit over the final two innings to earn his eighth save of the season.  Three of his eight saves have come against the Suns. 
 
Kyle Jensen went 2-for-4 and his double was the Suns only extra base hit in the game.  Ty Morrison, Tyler Bortnick, and Michael Sheridan each had three hits for Montgomery.  Sheridan drove in three of Biscuits six runs.  Montgomery leads the Southern League in batting (.267).
 
The Biscuits improved to 8-3 against the Suns this season, and have scored at least six runs in six of the eight victories.  Montgomery has won four in a row in the season series going back to June 28th, scoring 29 runs along the way.  With the loss, Jacksonville fell to 2-7 against teams from the South Division in the second half.
 
The capital letters “SR” were inscribed in the dirt behind home plate in honor of Suns Owner Peter Bragan, Sr., who passed away at the age of 89 this past Saturday. 
 
Game two of the series is set for Thursday with the first pitch scheduled for 7:35 p.m. from the Baseball Grounds.  RHP Matthew Neil (1-4, 6.04) will make his tenth start of the season for the Suns.  He has lost his last four decisions.  RHP Alex Colome (4-3, 4.72) gets the call for the Biscuits.
 

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Suns Single Their Way Past Stars

 

The Suns beat the Stars 3-1 at Joe Davis Stadium in game one of a three-game series. Jacksonville finished with six hits, all singles. Photo Courtesy: Huntsville Stars

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns avoided being swept in a series for the first time this season, with a 3-1 win over the Huntsville Stars Monday night at Joe Davis Stadium.  The season series between the two teams ends with each side winning four of the eight games.
 
The Stars scored their lone run in the third inning against starter Zach Neal.  Josh Prince hit an infield single and took second on a throwing error by third baseman Curt Smith.  When Prince attempted to steal third, Neal’s throw went past Smith with Prince scoring on the Suns second error of the inning.
 
Huntsville starter Hiram Burgos retired the first 12 Suns batters of the game until Curt Smith singled in the fifth inning. 
 
Jake Jefferies led off the sixth inning with a walk, and went to second when Donnie Webb reached on an error.  After a ground out by Jose Duarte moved the runners over a base, Paul Gran drove in Jefferies with a sacrifice fly to tie the game 1-1.  Gran drove in three runs in the three game series.
 
The Suns took a 2-1 lead in the eighth when Kyle Jensen led off with a walk, and pinch hitter Shawn Bowman drove him in with a single to right.  Bowman had at least one hit in all three games against the Stars.
 
 Jacksonville added an insurance run in the ninth.  Jeff Dominguez reached on an error by third baseman T.L. Mittelstaedt, and Jensen drove him in with a RBI single to make the score 3-1.  The win improved the Suns record to 10-33 when they allow the first run of the game. 
 
The Suns had the leadoff man in an inning reach base three times in the last three innings, and all three times he came around to score.  The Suns scored all three of their runs in the game with two outs.  Jacksonville won for just the third time in the last nine road games. 
 
Curt Smith, Kyle Jensen, and Shawn Bowman each had a single in the game.  Jensen and Bowman drove in a run and are tied for the team lead with 42 RBI’s.  Hunter Morris went 2-for-4 on Monday, and in the series finished with three home runs, two triples, five RBI’s, and scored four runs.  Morris leads the Southern League in hits (104), RBI’s (67), doubles (27), and extra-base hits (46).  He’s second in the league in batting average (.314) behind Jackson’s Nick Franklin.
 
In his second straight solid outing, Suns starter Zach Neal allowed five hits and one unearned run over five innings.  Jordan Conley (1-1) allowed one hit in his two innings of work for the win.  A.J. Ramos again showed why he’s the most dominant closer in the league, breezing through the final two innings for his ninth save of the season.  Ramos earned the save in all three of the Suns wins on the road trip.
 
The Suns begin a three game series against the Montgomery Biscuits on Wednesday with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.

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Stars Hit Six Home Runs In 10-5 Win Over Suns

Stars first baseman Hunter Morris(above)hits one of his two solo home runs in 10-5 win over the Jacksonville Suns at Joe Davis Stadium. Photo Courtesy: Huntsville Stars

By Steve Kolbe

 
The Jacksonville Suns surrendered a season-high six home runs to the Huntsville Stars in a 10-5 loss on Sunday afternoon at Joe Davis Stadium.  The Stars have hit a total 47 home runs this season, with seven of them coming in the last two games against Suns pitching.
 
After a 10 minute delay due to rain, Huntsville got right to work in the bottom of the first by sending eight men to the plate against Suns starter Bryan Evans.  The first two batters reached base, when Lee Haydel led off with a single and Josh Prince walked.  With one out, Hunter Morris blistered a triple to right field with both runners scoring to put the Stars in front 2-0.  Morris drove in three runs and scored twice in the Stars win in game one of the series, and he would be a factor again throughout the day.  Hainley Statia added a run when he jumped on the first pitch that he saw from Evans, hitting a double to right field, with Morris cruising home to make the score 3-0. 
 
The Suns scored their first run of the game in the second inning against Stars pitcher Johnnie Lowe. Curt Smith hit the first of his three singles on the day, and moved to second base on a fielders choice.  After a Shawn Bowman walk put runners on first and second, Jose Duarte drove in his fifth run of the season with a single to right field, with Smith scoring from second to cut the lead to 3-1.  Duarte had gone without an RBI since April 20 (72 games).
 
In the third inning, Paul Gran and Chris Gutierrez both singled against Lowe to start a rally, and with two outs Curt Smith singled to drive in two runs to even the score 3-3.  The Suns scored all five of their runs in the game after there were two outs in an inning.
 
In the home half of the third, leadoff man T.J. Mittelstaedt hit his first Double-A home run off of Evans to put the Stars back in front 4-3.  It was also Mittelstaedt’s first Double-A RBI, and it gave Huntsville a lead they wouldn’t give up.
 
In the sixth inning the Stars sent eight men to the plate for the second time in the game.  Hunter Morris led off the inning with a solo home run to increase the lead to 5-3.  Morris has homered and tripled in two straight games, and his day was far from over.  After an infield single by Hainley Statia, Kentrail Davis added his name to the long ball list by smashing a two-run home run deep to right field to pad the Stars advantage to 7-3.  It was the third home run that Bryan Evans allowed in the game.
 
The Suns summoned Kyle Kaminska from the bullpen, and he was given a rude reception when pinch hitter Domnit Bolivar hit his first home run of the season to pad the lead at 8-3.  The Stars hit three home runs in the sixth inning.
 
In the seventh, Kyle Jensen crushed a two-run home run to the deepest part of Joe Davis Stadium to get the Suns to within two runs at 8-5.  Jensen leads the Suns with 11 home runs this season, and he’s tied for the team lead with 41 RBI’s with Shawn Bowman.
 
Huntsville belted two more home runs in the seventh inning off of Kaminska.  The first two batters of the inning, T.J Mittelstaedt and Hunter Morris, hit back-to-back solo home runs and the Stars led 10-5.  It’s the first time this season that a team has hit back-to-back home runs against the Suns.  Jacksonville has allowed double-digit runs against four times this season.
 
The Stars hit six home runs in the game, one shy of tying the Southern League record for the most home runs in a single game.  Seven is the record, set by six different teams over a 31 year span from 1961 through 1997.  Knoxville hit seven against Jacksonville July 28, 1997, and Huntsville hit seven against Chattanooga July 18, 1997.  Six round trippers are the most that the Suns have allowed in a game this season, and the most that the Stars have hit in a single game this year.  Three of the home runs in Sunday’s game were hit by the leadoff man in an inning.
 
Curt Smith went 3-for-5 with three singles, and he’s now 8-for-14 this season against Huntsville.  Smith had a hand in four of the Suns five runs, with two RBI’s and two runs scored.  Shawn Bowman had a multi-hit game, going 2-for-3.  Hunter Morris, Hainley Statia, and Kentrail Davis each collected three hits for the Stars.  Morris had a hand in seven of the 10 runs, with 4 RBI and three runs scored.  In the series, Morris has had a hand in 12 of the Stars 17 runs (7 RBI and 5 runs scored).  Lee Haydel and T.J. Mittelstaedt finished with two hits each.  Eight of the Stars 15 hits in the game went for extra-bases.  Seven different Stars players scored at least one run.
 
Bryan Evans (2-6) pitched five and a-third innings allowing seven runs on nine hits, both season highs.  Evans has allowed seven home runs in his last four starts, after giving up just two in his first 13 starts of the season.  Kyle Kaminska pitched an inning and two-thirds giving up three runs on six hits.  Kaminska was tagged for three home runs in the game.  He had allowed two home runs total in his previous 24 outings.  Stars starting pitcher Johnnie Lowe allowed three runs on six hits over his four innings of work and didn’t figure in the decision.  Dan Merklinger (2-7) pitched two innings of hitless baseball to earn the win.
 
The series finale is Monday night from Joe Davis Stadium with the first pitch scheduled for 6:43 p.m. local time.  RHP Zach Neal (4-6, 4.26) will start his tenth game of the season for the Suns.  Neal earned the win last week at Tennessee after getting the start when Rob Rasmussen was traded to the Houston Astros just prior to the game July 4 at Smokies Park.  RHP Hiram Burgos (4-1, 2.05) will take the mound for the eleventh time this season for the Huntsville Stars.   The Suns have not been swept in a series this season.
 
 
 

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