Pertusati Paces Suns In 11-5 Win

 

The top four in the Suns batting order drove in every run, and Jacksonville collected 13 hits against Mobile pitching in an 11-5 win over the BayBears at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville August 10, 2012. Photo Courtesy: Mobile BayBears

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns scored eight unanswered runs in an 11-5 win over the Mobile BayBears on Friday afternoon at the Baseball Grounds.  The Suns have won two of the first three games of the series, and improved to 18-10 at home in the second half of the season.
 
Danny Pertusati gave the Suns a 2-0 lead in the first inning with a two-run home run off of BayBears starter Brett Lorin.  The Suns improved to 46-18 when scoring the first run of the game.  Mobile took the lead 3-2 in the top half of the second with a two-out rally, with Brett Lorin driving in two of the runs with a single to center and Wladimir Sutil driving in another with his 14th double of the season.  The Suns tied game 3-3 in the bottom of the second, when Alfredo Lopez walked and scored on Jake Smolinski’s single up the middle. 
 
Mobile took a 5-3 advantage in the top of the third, but that would be all the offense the BayBears could generate.  The Suns scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth to take the lead 6-5.  Pertusati provided the big hit with a two-run triple.  Jacksonville tacked on another run in the sixth inning to make the score 7-5, and put the game away with a four-run eighth inning for the 11-5 final.  The Suns have scored 10 or more runs in a game eight times this season and twice in the last dozen games
 
Danny Pertusati went 3-for-4 with two home runs and five RBI’s, one shy of Kyle Skipworth’s season-high of six RBI’s May 26th at Chattanooga.   Pertusati has hit all four of his home runs against the BayBears.  Ben Lasater finished 4-for-5 with a RBI.  Zach Cox drove in three runs, and Jake Smolinski reached base three times and scored twice.  The top four players in the Suns batting order combined to go 10-for-15 with 10 RBI’s and seven runs scored.  After collecting 12 singles in the first two games, the Suns finished with five extra-base hits in the game (2 doubles, 2 home runs, and a triple).
 
Bryan Evans (5-6) allowed five runs on five hits over five innings to win his third straight decision.  Brett Lorin (3-8) surrendered six runs on eight hits in four innings to drop his third straight game.
 
Game four of the series is Saturday night with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.  LHP Brian Flynn (2-0, 4.08) will take the mound for the Suns in search of his third straight win.  RHP Chase Anderson (3-3, 2.62) gets the call for the BayBears. 
 

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BayBears End Suns Winning Streak

 

The Mobile BayBears defeated the Suns 6-2 at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. The loss ended the Suns nine-game home winning streak. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns nine-game home winning streak came to an end, with a 6-2 loss to the Mobile BayBears on Thursday night at the Baseball Grounds.   The Suns loss, combined with the Biscuits 6-4 win over the Jackson Generals, dropped Jacksonville into a first place tie with Montgomery in the South Division. 
 
Mobile took the lead in the top of the fourth inning against Suns starter Graham Taylor.  After Alfredo Marte led off with a walk and Matt Davidson singled, Brent Clevlen belted a three-run home run to left field to put the BayBears up 3-0.  It’s the 13th home run that Taylor has surrendered this season.  Since returning to Mobile from Triple-A Reno, Clevlen has reached base in 11 straight games.  The Suns dropped to 15-40 when allowing the first run of the game.
 
After being held without a hit through the first four innings by BayBears starter Mike Bolsinger, the Suns dented the scoreboard in the home half of the fifth.  Alfredo Lopez singled and Graham Taylor walked to put runners on first and second with one out.  Jake Smolinski then launched a 3-0 pitch down the left field line toward the foul pole, with the ball bouncing off the top of the wall mere inches from a game-tying three-run home run.  Lopez scored from second on the play to make the score 3-1, with Taylor going to second base and Smolinski being held to a long single.  Paul Gran then singled to load the bases, and Zack Cox singled up the middle with Taylor scoring from third to cut the lead to 3-2, but Smolinski was thrown out by center fielder Evan Frey on a close play at the plate.
 
Mobile increased the lead in the eighth inning against Suns reliever Arquimedes Caminero.  Matt Davidson walked and Brent Clevlen singled, and both runners advanced to second and third on a wild pitch.  Ryan Strieby then singled with both base runners crossing the plate, and the BayBears led 5-2.  Strieby took second on a throw to the plate, and later scored when Ed Easley hit a ground rule double down the right field line to add to the lead at 6-2.
 
Brent Clevlen went 2-for-4 with three RBI’s and two scored.  Ed Easley also finished with two hits.  Matt Davidson scored twice for the BayBears.  The BayBears scored more than three runs in a game for just the ninth time in their last 32 games.  The Suns had seven hits, all were singles, including Smolinski’s 321 foot single off the wall.  In the first two games of the series, all 12 of the Suns hits have been base hits. 
 
Graham Taylor (7-9) allowed three runs on four hits over six innings and lost for the first time in his last six starts.  Taylor had been touched for just three runs in his previous five starts, and given up just one run in his previous 20 innings before Thursday.  Mike Bolsinger (4-2) surrendered two runs on four hits in his five innings of work for the win.
 
The middle game of the series is Friday at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, with the Suns and BayBears meeting in a matinee that starts at 1:05 p.m.  In a match up of right handers, Bryan Evans (4-6, 3.94) takes the mound for Jacksonville and Brett Lorin (3-7, 5.10) will start for Mobile.
 

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Suns Tame BayBears 2-0

 

Suns starter Matthew Neil(above left)pitched six shutout innings, and  Ben Lasater (above right)drove in both runs with a pinch-hit single in the Suns 2-0 win over the Mobile BayBears. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns won their ninth straight home game and a season-high six straight overall, with a 2-0 shutout over the Mobile BayBears on Tuesday night at the Baseball Grounds.  The Suns have outscored their opponents by a combined 47-21 during their home winning  streak.  Four of the last six victories have been by shutout.  Jacksonville is 8-13 against Mobile this season, with each team scoring 71 runs in the season series.  Three of the Suns eight wins have been shutouts.
 
Suns starter Matthew Neil entered the game in search of his first win since June.  He surrendered just five singles over his six innings of work, and only once did he allow more than one base runner in an inning.  Neil and three relievers combined on a five-hitter, all singles.
 
The Suns were held without a hit through the first four innings by BayBears starter Derek Eitel, until Danny Pertusati singled in the fifth inning to give the Suns first hit of the game.  Jacksonville scored the only runs of the night in the bottom of sixth.  Curt Smith and Paul Gran singled to put runners on first and third with one out.  After Kyle Jensen struck out, the BayBears intentionally walked Pertusati to get to the pitcher’s spot.  Ben Lasater emerged from the dugout to pinch hit for Matthew Neil, and after running the count full against Eitel, delivered by smashing a single to center field with both Smith and Gran crossing the plate to give the Suns a 2-0 lead.  Jacksonville improved to 45-18 when scoring the first run of the game.
 
Mobile won eight of the first 10 meetings between the two teams at the Baseball Grounds.  The Suns improved to 17-9 at home in the second half with the win, and are alone in first place for the first time since May 4th.  Jacksonville has won 11 of the last 14 games, limiting opponents to three runs or fewer 10 times.
 
The BayBears fell to 8-18 on the road, and after finishing the first half in the South Division with a 40-30 record,  the BayBears have struggled to a 17-29 record in the second half.
 
Matthew Neil (2-6) allowed five hits over six innings to earn his second Double-A victory, and win his first game since June 1st at Pensacola.  The win is Neil’s first at home this season.  A.J. Ramos entered the game in the eighth inning with two on and one out.  He retired the all five batters that he faced in the game, striking out three, for his 17th save of the season.  Derek Eitel (7-9) allowed two runs on four hits, struck out four and walked six in the loss.  He has dropped five of his last six decisions.
 
Five different Suns players had one hit.  Ben Lasater increased his RBI total to eight by driving in two runs with his single in the sixth inning.  Shortstop Chris Gutierrez had his nine-game hitting streak come to an end.  He went 0-for-1 before leaving the game in the fifth inning after being hit in the left forearm with a pitch.  Evan Frey and Alfredo Marte each finished with two of the BayBears six singles.  The two teams were a combined 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position. 
 
Game two of the series is Thursday night from the Baseball Grounds, with the first pitch slated for 7:35 p.m.  LHP Graham Taylor (7-8, 3.81) is scheduled to start for the Suns.  RHP Michael Bolsinger (3-2, 3.78) will take the mound for the BayBears.

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Suns Complete Sweep Of Biscuits; Take First Place

 

Jose Alvarez tossed a two-hitter in the Suns 4-0 rain-shortened win against the Biscuits. Jacksonville completed a five game sweep over Montgomery to win five in a row for the first time this season. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns completed a five-game sweep over the Montgomery Biscuits, with a 4-0 rain-shortened victory on Tuesday night at the Baseball Grounds.  The Suns took over sole possession of first place in the South Division with the win.  It’s the first time since the 30th game of the first half that the Suns have been alone in first.
 
Suns starter Jose Alvarez has been the Suns starter for five of the 10 shutouts tossed against Jacksonville this season.  Against Montgomery on Tuesday, he turned in his second straight dominating performance in the last week.  
 
After suffering a complete game 1-0 loss last Thursday in Mobile, Alvarez was sharp from the first pitch against the Biscuits.  He retired the first seven Biscuits batters of the game, and allowed just two base runners all night.  Mark Thomas doubled in the third inning, and Omar Luna legged out an infield single in the fifth for the only two Montgomery hits.
 
The Suns scored all the runs that Alvarez would need in the home half of the second inning against Biscuits starter Nick Barnese.  Leadoff man Curt Smith was hit by a pitch to start the rally, and Kyle Skipworth singled to left to put runners on first and second.  Paul Gran drove in the first run of the night with a single to right field, with Smith scoring to give the Suns a 1-0 lead.  Barnese then hit Kyle Jensen to load the bases, and with one out walked Donnie Webb to force in Skipworth from third base to increase the Suns advantage to 2-0.  With two outs, Chris Gutierrez hit his 20th double of the season, driving in Jensen and Webb to complete the four-run inning.  Gutierrez finished 1-for-3 to increase his hitting streak to nine games.
 
The Suns have outscored their opponents 122 to 78 in the first two innings this season.  Jacksonville has won eight straight home games, and 10 of the last 13 overall.
 
The two teams played through the rain until the middle of the eighth, when the umpires called for the tarp.  After a 40 minute delay, the game was officially ruled complete, with the Suns earning their third shutout of the series.  The Suns have 11 shutouts this season, with nine of the 11 at the Baseball Grounds.
 
The Suns began the series four games behind the Biscuits in the South.  After completing their first sweep of the season, the Suns are one game up.  Jacksonville outscored Montgomery 25-8 in the five games.  It’s just the second five-game losing streak this season for the Biscuits, who were swept by Birmingham in the first half.  The Suns and Biscuits will square off one more time, with a five-game series at Riverwalk Stadium August 24th-28th.
 
Jose Alvarez (5-6) pitched a two-hitter in the win, allowing just a single and a double.  He struck out five and didn’t walk a batter.  Alvarez also tossed a two-hitter against the Tennessee Smokies June 22nd in a 2-0 victory to earn pitcher of the week honors.  Nick Barnese (2-1) allowed four runs on four hits, and lost for the first time this season.  Barnese missed the first half of the season after suffering a shoulder strain during spring training.   
 
The first place Suns begin a five game series with the Mobile BayBears on Wednesday at the Baseball Grounds, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.  LHP Graham Taylor (7-8, 3.81) will start for Jacksonville.  Taylor was named the Southern League Pitcher of the Week after blanking the Biscuits in the first game of the last series.

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Suns Win Fourth Straight Over Biscuits; Tie For Division Lead

Jake Smolinski(above left)and Curt Smith (above right)combined to go 5-for-6 with five RBI’s and five runs scored in the Suns 11-7 win over the Montgomery Biscuits August 6, 2012 at the Baseball Grounds. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

 
The Jacksonville Suns moved into a tie for first place in the South Division of the Southern League, collecting a season-high 15 hits in an 11-7 win over the Montgomery Biscuits on Monday night at the Baseball Grounds.  The Suns began the five game series trailing the Biscuits by four games in the standings. 
 
The Biscuits took the lead in the top of the third inning against Suns starter Brian Flynn.  Mark Thomas legged out an infield single to start the inning and went to second on a pass ball.  With one out, Hak-Ju Lee singled to left field with Thomas scoring from second to put Montgomery in front 1-0.  The Biscuits scored the first run for the second straight game, with Lee providing the RBI both times.  After a single by Ty Morrison put runners on first and third, Mikie Mahtook plated Lee from third with a ground out and the Biscuits were up 2-0. 
 
The Suns evened the score 2-2 in the home half of the third against Biscuits starter Matt Buschmann.  Donnie Webb walked to set up Jake Smolinski, who hit a two-run home run to left-center.  Smolinski entered the season with seven career home runs.  He has hit all five of his homers this season in the last 44 games. 
 
The two teams traded runs in the fourth inning.  Michael Sheridan drove in a run with a RBI double for the Biscuits in the top half of the inning, and Curt Smith countered with a solo home run for the Suns in the home half.  Smith has hit nine home runs this season, with two of them in his last three games in the starting lineup.  The Suns have belted at least two home runs in five of the last nine games, and now have a total of 82 round trippers on the season.
 
Jacksonville batted around in the fifth, scoring five times on four hits to break the game open.  Chris Gutierrez and Zach Cox each drove in a run with a single to give the Suns a 5-3 lead.  Curt Smith plated two more runs with a double, with both Gutierrez and Cox crossing the plate to increase the advantage to 7-3.  An error by third baseman Greg Sexton on a ground ball by Paul Gran then allowed Smith to score for an 8-3 Suns edge.
 
In the sixth inning, after singles by Jake Jefferies and Jake Smolinski, Zach Cox hit a fly ball with left fielder Shawn O’Malley unable to make the catch by the foul line,  going head-over-heels onto the lawn in foul ground, with the ball falling to the ground.  The triple drove in both Smolinski and Jefferies to give the Suns a comfortable 10-3 lead.
 
The Suns and Biscuits again traded runs in the seventh inning.  After the Biscuits loaded the bases on three straight singles against Suns reliever Rett Varner, Ty Morrison drove in his 32nd run of the season for Montgomery with a ground out to cut the lead to 10-4.  Donnie Webb got the run back for the Suns with a double in the home half of the inning, with Paul Gran scoring to make it 11-4 Jacksonville.
 
With Jordan Conley on in relief, the Biscuits made it interesting in the eighth.  Greg Sexton hit a solo home run and Derek Dietrich smashed a two-run home run to cut the Suns lead to 11-7.  After a double by Mark Thomas, left fielder Shawn O’Malley hit a ball deep to right field, with Suns right fielder Danny Pertusati leaping up at the wall to commit highway robbery and deny O’Malley the home run.  A.J. Ramos entered the game to record the final out of the eighth inning, and also pitched the ninth.
 
The Suns and Biscuits combined for 29 hits in the game.  17 of the 18 hitters  in the game with the exception of Suns catcher Kyle Skipworth (0-for-5) had at least one hit.  The top four batters in the Suns lineup combined to finish 8-for-16 with nine RBI’s and seven runs scored.  Eight players in the lineup had at least one of the Suns season-high 15 hits.  Curt Smith went 3-for-4 with three RBI’s.  Jake Smolinski, Chris Gutierrez, Paul Gran, and Jake Jefferies each had two hits.  In his Suns debut, Zach Cox was 2-for-5 with a triple, three RBI’s, and a run scored.  Every player in the Biscuits lineup had at least one hit.  Mark Thomas, Greg Sexton, Omar Luna, and Michael Sheridan each had a multi-hit game for the Biscuits.  Jacksonville has outscored Montgomery 21-8 in the series.
 
Brian Flynn (2-0) allowed three runs on six hits to win his second straight start.  Flynn, a 6-8 left hander, was acquired by the Marlins from the Tigers just before the trade deadline last week.  Matt Buschmann (5-7) surrendered eight runs on eight hits in the loss.  He shutout the Suns 1-0 on May 11th, allowing just one hit over six innings.
 
The Suns have won seven straight games at the Baseball grounds, outscoring opponents 41-21.  It’s the longest home winning streak for the Suns since May 2-14, 2010, when they also won seven in a row.
 
The Suns look to take sole possession of first place with a win on Tuesday.  Jacksonville hasn’t been alone at the top of the division since May 4th in the first half of the season.  The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. from the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.  LHP Jose Alvarez (4-6, 3.74) takes the mound for the Suns.  RHP Nick Barnese (2-0, 4.30) will try to avoid the sweep for the Biscuits. 

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Suns Win Third Straight Over Biscuits; One Game Out

Bryan Evans(above)was sharp in the Suns 7-1 win over the Montgomery Biscuits. He allowed just one run, and tied his season high with eight strikeouts. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

 By Steve Kolbe

The Suns won for the sixth straight time at the Baseball Grounds, pulling to within one game of first place in the South Division, with a 7-1 win over the Montgomery Biscuits on Sunday night.  The Suns began the series four games off the pace in the division.  
 
The Biscuits snapped a 21-inning scoreless streak when Hak-Ju Lee hit a home run off of Suns starter Bryan Evans on the first pitch of the game.  It’s the only run of the series for Montgomery, with the Suns outscoring the Biscuits 10-1 in the first three games.  The Biscuits have been held to 14 hits, with only two for extra bases.
 
The Suns took the lead in the home half of the first off of Biscuits starter Jake Thompson.  Jake Smolinski led off with a double, and went to third on a single by Chris Gutierrez.  Paul Gran then drove in the first run of the night with a sacrifice fly, with Smolinski coasting home to tie the game 1-1.  After Kyle Skipworth reached on an error by first baseman Michael Sheridan, Curt Smith drove in Gutierrez with a RBI single to put the Suns in front to stay 2-1. 
 
In the second inning, Gutierrez walked with two outs and scored all the way from first on Paul Gran’s fourth triple of the season to straight-away center field to make the score 3-1.  Jacksonville has outscored opponents 118-78 in the first two innings this season.
 
The first four batters for the Suns reached base in the fifth with Jacksonville adding to the lead.  The big hit came off the bat of Kyle Skipworth, who homered to right-center field for the second straight night for his 16th round tripper of the season to make the score 4-1.  Skipworth has hit nine of the Suns last 18 homers.  Taylor Krick drove in a run with a groundout, and Donnie Webb plated a run with a sacrifice fly and the Suns were up 6-1.
 
Jacksonville tacked on one more in the eighth inning.  With runners on first and third, Gutierrez drove a run with a ground out to put the Suns up 7-1.  The Suns improved to 14-13 against the South Division in the second half with the win.
 
Eight of the nine Suns hitters in the game either drove in or scored at least one run.  Chris Gutierrez went 1-for-4 to extend his hit streak to six games and scored twice.  Jake Smolinski finished 2-for-4 for his 20th multi-hit game of the season.
 
The Suns have won eight of their last 11 games, and allowed three runs or fewer eight times.  Jacksonville pitchers have given up just two runs and 19 hits over the last four games.  On the 19 hits, only three have been for extra bases (one HR, two doubles).
 
Bryan Evans (4-6) allowed one run on three hits in 5.1 innings of work for the win.  He tied his season-high with eight strikeouts.  Evans is now 2-3 at the Baseball Grounds.  Jake Thompson (7-10) surrendered six runs on seven hits and lost his fourth straight game. 
 
The Suns can tie the Biscuits for first place with a win Monday night.  Jacksonville hasn’t won four games in a row since April, and the Biscuits haven’t lost four straight since April.
 
 The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. from the Baseball Grounds.  LHP Brian Flynn (1-0, 3.86) will start his third game for the Suns.  RHP Matt Buschmann (5-6, 4.00) gets the call for the Biscuits.
 
 
 

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Suns Two-Hit Biscuits For Second Straight Shutout

By Steve Kolbe
 
In a game that was delayed twice by rain for a total of 3 hours and 21 minutes, four Jacksonville pitchers combined on a two-hitter in the Suns 1-0 victory over the Montgomery Biscuits on Saturday night.  The Suns have limited the second-best hitting team in the Southern League to just nine hits in the series, with just one for extra bases.  The Suns have now tossed a pair of two-hitters this season.
 
A day after Graham Taylor and A.J. Ramos combined to blank Montgomery, Matthew Neil and three relievers combined for the Suns 10th shutout of the season.  Eight of the Suns shutouts this season have been at the Baseball Grounds, and eight different Suns pitchers have a shutout win.
 
  The Suns have won five straight home games for the first time this season, and have outscored opponents 23-13 along the way.  Overall, Jacksonville is 14-7 in the last 21 games.  After having just five wins all season when scoring less than three runs in a game (5-37), the Suns have won two straight when being held to under three runs.
 
After the second rain delay of the night, Kyle Skipworth provided the only run of the game in the bottom of the second when he smashed his 15th home run of the season off of Biscuits reliever Marquis Fleming.
Skipworth has hit eight homers and 12 RBI’s in his last 16 games.   Skipworth has surpassed his total from the 2011 campaign, when he finished with 11 round trippers in 106 games. 
 
The Suns have scored the first run of the game in eight of their last nine contests, and have a record of 43-18 when crossing the plate first.  The Suns improved to 20-14 in games played on Saturday and Sunday.
 
Suns starter Matthew Neil didn’t allow a hit in his two innings of work, but wouldn’t return after the second rain delay.  James Leverton (3-0) took over and allowed just two hits and struck out five over four innings for the win.  In his last four appearances, Leverton has two wins and a save.  Edgar Olmos tossed two innings of hitless baseball in his first appearance with the Suns since he started a game April 15th.  Arquimedes Caminero was overpowering in the ninth, retiring all three batters he faced on pop ups, to earn his first save with the Suns.
 
Montgomery had been shutout only twice all season entering the series, and hadn’t suffered a shutout loss in 57 games before arriving in Jacksonville.   After not recording a shutout in a span of 38 games, Jacksonville has two straight for the second time this season (June 10th with 7-0 and 9-0 wins over the Jackson Generals).  Eight different Suns pitchers have earned a win in a Jacksonville shutout this season.
 
The Suns had just three hits in the game.  In addition to the Skipworth’s home run, Alfredo Lopez had a single, and Chris Gutierrez extended his hit streak to six games with a single in the first inning.  He has hit safely in 10 of his last 12 games.  Catcher Mark Thomas had both hits for the Biscuits, the rest of the team went 0-for-25 on the night.
 
The home stand continues Sunday night with game three of the series from the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, with the first pitch scheduled for 6:05 PM.  RHP Bryan Evans (3-6, 4.05) will start his 22nd game of the season for the Suns.  RHP Jacob Thompson (7-9, 5.20) takes the hill for the Biscuits.

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Graham Taylor Shines In Shutout Over Biscuits

 

Graham Taylor earned his third shutout of the season, allowing seven singles over eight innings in the Suns 2-0 win over the Biscuits at the Baseball Grounds August 3, 2012. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

 By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns returned home with the stage set for a show down with first place Montgomery, and Graham Taylor delivered a dominating performance leading the Suns to a 2-0 win over the Biscuits Friday night at the Baseball Grounds.  With the Suns claiming the first game of the five game series, the Biscuits lead in the South Division has been cut to three games.
 
The Suns scored all the runs that Taylor would need in the home half of the fourth inning against Biscuits starter Merrill Kelly.  With one out, Kyle Skipworth walked to start the rally and designated hitter Kyle Jensen singled to put runners on first and third.  Shawn Bowman drove in the first run of the game with a single to left center, with Skipworth racing home to put the Suns on top 1-0.  It was Bowman’s 45th RBI of the season, and his first since July 19th.  Ben Lasater then collected the Suns third straight single in the inning, with Jensen scoring for a 2-0 lead.  Lasater has driven in three runs in his last three games.  The Suns have scored the first run of the game in seven of the last eight, and are 42-18 when they cross the plate first.
 
By blanking the Biscuits for the first time in 2012, Jacksonville now has nine shutouts this season.  Montgomery was shutout for the first time since May 28th, a span of 57 games.  It’s just the third time this season that the Biscuits have been kept off the scoreboard, with the Mississippi Braves doing the honors the previous two times (April 13th 4-0 and May 28th 6-0).
 
The Suns have won four straight at the Baseball Grounds, outscoring their opponents 22-13.  Overall, the Suns improved to 13-7 in their last 20 games. 
 
Chris Gutierrez went 2-for-3, and now has at least one hit in five straight games and nine of his last 11.  Omar Luna led all hitters going 3-for-4 with three singles.  Mike Mahtook also collected two hits for the Biscuits to increase his hitting streak to eight games.  Montgomery shortstop Hak-Ju Lee singled to extend his on-base streak to 46 games dating back to June 11th.  Suns catcher Kyle Skipworth threw out both would-be base stealers on the night, including Hak-Ju Lee, who entered the game with 37 stolen bases and had been caught only eight times.
 
For the second straight night, the Suns starting pitcher went eight innings.  On Thursday, Jose Alvarez pitched a complete game in a 1-0 loss at Mobile.  On Friday, Graham Taylor (7-8) threw 101 pitches and scattered seven singles in the win.  In his last four starts, Taylor has allowed just three runs over 27 innings of work, and he has won his last three decisions.  Biscuits starter Merrill Kelly (6-2) allowed two runs on five hits in the loss.  He is 6-0 as a reliever, and 0-2 as a starter this season.
 
Closer A.J. Ramos entered the game to pitch the ninth, and surrendered a leadoff single to Omar Luna.  Ramos then struck out both Derek Dietrich and pinch hitter Kyeong Kang, and enticed Brett Nommensen to ground out to second to end the game.  Ramos is tied for second in the Southern League with 16 saves.
 
The Suns will look to make it two in a row over the Biscuits on Saturday with the first pitch scheduled for 6:05 PM from the Baseball Grounds.  RHP Matthew Neil (1-6, 5.08) takes the mound for the Suns.  He has lost his last six decisions.  LHP Kyle Lobstein (6-6, 4.03) will start his 22nd game of the season for Montgomery.
 

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BayBears Shut Down Suns

 

David Holmberg and two relievers combined on the Mobile BayBears (Double-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks)1-0 win over the Jacksonville Suns at Hank Aaron Stadium August 2, 2012. Photo Courtesy: Mobile BayBears

By Steve Kolbe

After scoring 24 runs in their previous two games, the Jacksonville Suns were shutout in the series finale 1-0 by the BayBears on Thursday night at Hank Aaron Stadium in Mobile.  The Suns have been blanked 10 times this season, three times by Mobile.  Jacksonville suffered a shutout loss for the first time in a month.
 
The BayBears scored the only run of the night in the bottom of the fourth inning against Suns starter Jose Alvarez.  Brent Clevlen led off with a single and went to third on a fly out by Ryan Strieby.  Alfredo Marte then drove in his 61st run of the season with a ground out to short, with Clevlen coasting across the plate.  Marte made his return to the lineup after serving a three game suspension for throwing a punch in a brawl against Mississippi last week.
 
BayBears starter David Holmberg kept the Suns off balance throughout the night, and at one point retired 10 batters in a row.  The BayBears have four shutouts this season, with three of them against the Suns. Trevor Bauer blanked the Suns May 6th, and Chase Anderson turned the trick May 9th as part of the BayBears five-game sweep of the Suns at the Baseball Grounds in the first half.
 
Chris Gutierrez and Shawn Bowman each finished 2-for-4.  Danny Pertusati’s seventh inning double was the only extra-base hit for the Suns.  Jacksonville was 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position, and left 10 men on base during the night.   It was the first game of the series that the Suns were held without a home run.  Jacksonville belted nine homers off of seven different pitchers in the five games.
 
Suns starter Jose Alvarez (4-6) went the distance in the loss.  He allowed just the one run on five hits over eight innings.  It’s the second time this season that Alvarez has tossed eight innings, the last time he earned Pitcher of the Week honors with a 2-0 shutout against Tennessee.  David Holmberg (3-4) scattered five hits and struck out a season-high seven in 6.2 innings of work for the win.  Eury De La Rosa pitched the final two innings to earn his second save of the season.
 
The Suns lost a game in the standings to South-leading Montgomery, falling four games behind the Biscuits.  The stage is now set for a showdown for first place in the South Division with the Biscuits invading Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville for a five-game series starting Friday night.  LHP Graham Taylor (6-8, 4.09) will take the mound for the Suns.  RHP Merrill Kelly (6-1, 3.55) will start his fourth game of the season for the Biscuits. 
 
 

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Suns Even Series With BayBears

 

Danny Pertusati and Kyle Skipworth each hit a home run in the Suns 9-1 win over the Mobile BayBears at Hank Aaron Stadium August 1, 2012. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns evened their series with the Mobile BayBears at two wins apiece, with a 9-1 win Wednesday night at Hank Aaron Stadium.   The win, combined with Pensacola dropping both games of a doubleheader to Tennessee, has the Suns tied with the Blue Wahoos for second place in the South Division.
 
The Suns took the lead in the top of the second inning against BayBears starter Chase Anderson.  Kyle Skipworth and Kyle Jensen were both hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second with no outs.  Jensen was hit on the hand and would later leave the game with Donnie Webb taking his place in the outfield.  With one out in the inning, Danny Pertusati hit his second home run in as many nights to put the Suns up 3-0.  The Suns improved to 41-18 when scoring the first run of the game.  Jacksonville has outscored opponents 114-77 in the first two innings this season.
 
The long ball continued to play a roll for the Suns in the fourth inning, when Kyle Skipworth belted his 14th home run of the season to increase the lead to 4-0.  The Suns have hit nine home runs (against seven different pitchers) in the four games of this series, after hitting just four in the first 15 meetings of the year against the BayBears. 
 
Brent Clevlen accounted for the lone BayBears run with a solo home run in the home half of the fourth inning of off Suns starter Brian Flynn. 
 
With reliever Eric Smith on the mound for the BayBears in the eighth, the Suns batted around to double the lead.  Chris Gutierrez led off with a double, Paul Gran singled, and Kyle Skipworth walked to load the bases.  Donnie Webb cashed in with a double to the gap in left-center, driving in both Gutierrez and Gran to pad the lead to 6-1.  Webb is now 2-for-4 this season with the bases loaded.  Ben Lasater followed with a single to drive in two more runs to make the score 8-1.  The Suns added a run in the ninth when Kyle Skipworth hit a flyball to left field, Wladimir Sutil was unable to make the catch, allowing Gran to score from second base for the 9-1 final.
 
Paul Gran went 2-for-5 and scored two runs.  Ben Lasater  finished with two hits and drove in two runs.  Kyle Skipworth reached base four times and scored three runs.  He hit a home run, was hit by a pitch, walked, and reached on an error.
 
The Suns have won five of their last seven games, and 12 of the last 17.  The BayBears had their first sub-.500 month of the season by finishing 10-18 in July.  Mobile has just three wins in the last 14 games, a stretch that includes a season-high seven game losing streak.  In the series, the BayBears are 7-for-34 with runners in scoring position, and have left the bases loaded four times.
 
Suns lefty Brian Flynn (1-0) allowed one run on three hits over six innings to earn his first win with the Suns.  Two of the three hits he surrendered were infield singles.  Chase Anderson (3-3) gave up four runs on two hits in his five innings of work in the loss.  Anderson, a Southern League All-Star, entered the game with only three home runs allowed in his previous 15 starts, but both of the hits he surrendered to the Suns on Wednesday were home runs.
 
The Suns look to win the series on Thursday with the first pitch scheduled for 8:05 PM from Hank Aaron Stadium.  LHP Jose Alvarez (4-5, 3.95) will take the mound for the Suns.  LHP David Holmberg (2-4, 4.63) will start for the BayBears.

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Filed under Ahead Of The Curve, Southern League News