Tag Archives: A.J. Ramos

The Suns Are One-Hit, But Win 1-0

Kyle Skipworth’s RBI-single in the fourth inning was the lone hit for the Jacksonville Suns in a 1-0 win over Biscuits starter Matt Buschmann(above)at Riveralk Stadium August 27, 2012. Photo Coutesy: Montgomery Biscuits

By Steve Kolbe 

The Jacksonville Suns were held to just one single and had just three base runners, but blanked the Montgomery Biscuits 1-0 on Monday night at Riverwalk Stadium to take sole possession of first place in the South Division with six games remaining in the regular season.
 
After dropping nine of the first 12 games against the Biscuits, the Suns have now won 10 straight games over Montgomery, outscoring the Biscuits 52-21.  It’s the Suns longest winning streak against any opponent this season.
 
In a pitchers duel, the Suns plated the lone run of the night in the top of the fourth against Biscuits starter Matt Buschmann.  Jake Smolinski drew a leadoff walk, and Zack Cox walked with one out to put runners on first and second.  Smolinski has walked 73 times this season, tied for second-most in the league.  With two outs, Kyle Skipworth hit ground ball on an 0-2 pitch, past the outstretched glove of second baseman Derek Dietrich, and into right field for the RBI-single to give the Suns a 1-0 lead.  Skipworth has just five hits with runners in scoring position and two outs this season (5-for-47 with six RBI).  He has driven in five runs in the series.
 
Fun Fact:  Kyle Skipworth has had the Suns only single in two one-hitters this season.  One win and one loss.  Jacksonville was shutout 1-0 on a one-hitter April 12th by the Chattanooga Lookouts at the Baseball Grounds, with Skipworth collecting a single in the second inning for the only hit of the game against Aaron Miller, Red Patterson, and Shawn Tolleson.
 
The Suns have won five straight, and eight of the last nine games after a season-high seven game losing streak.  The Biscuits have dropped five in a row, and have just three wins in their last 11 outings.
 
The Suns had their steak of scoring at least five runs in a game snapped at eight.  The Biscuits collected seven hits in the game, with six singles and a triple.  The Biscuits had at least one runner on base in every inning except the second, but had more than one base runner in an inning only once.  Omar Luna finished 3-for-4 and has the third-best batting average in the league this season.
 
The Suns have 14 shutouts during the 2012 campaign, doubling their total of seven from last season.  The Suns have held the Biscuits off the scoreboard four times during their 10-game winning streak against Montgomery:
 
*Graham Taylor and A.J. Ramos combined on a 1-0 win over the Biscuits August 3rd. 
*Four Suns pitchers combined on a two-hitter against Montgomery August 4th. 
*Jose Alvarez tossed a complete-game two-hitter in a 4-0 win over the Biscuits August 7th.
 
Bryan Evans (6-8) put together one of his strongest outings of the season.  He threw 92 pitches, 60 for strikes, and allowed four singles and a triple in his seven innings for the victory.  Evans has won four of his last six decisions, with two of the wins coming at the expense of the Biscuits. 
 
Matt Buschmann (6-8) surrendered a lone RBI-single to Kyle Skipworth in the loss.  Buschmann enticed the Suns into 16 ground outs, and allowed just three base runners in the game, all in the fouth inning.  Kirby Yates pitched the ninth for the Biscuits to combine with Buschmann on the one-hitter.
 
The Suns bullpen slammed the door on the Biscuits.  James Leverton allowed a single in the eighth, and A.J. Ramos pitched the ninth to earn his second save of the series and 21st of the season.  Ramos has the second-most saves in the Southern League. 
 
The win didn’t come without some late-inning drama.  Omar Luna led off the home half of the ninth with a single, went to second on a sacrifice bunt, and took third on a wild pitch by Ramos to increase the tension.  Ramos then retired Kyeong Kang on a fly ball to right field to end the game.  Suns relievers have allowed just nine singles in 18.2 scoreless innings over the last five games.
 
Jacksonville has won the first four games of the series by a combined score of 23-11.  The Suns will look to complete the sweep in the series finale Tuesday night from Riverwalk Stadium, with the first pitch scheduled for 8:05 PM.  RHP Brian Flynn (2-0, 3.41) will step on the mound for the Suns.  RHP Jake Thomspson (7-10, 5.30) gets the call for the Biscuits.

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Suns Stun Biscuits 9-6; One Game Out Of First Place

 

Second baseman Alfredo Lopez drove in four runs in the Suns 9-6 win over the Biscuits at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery, Alabama. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe 

The Jacksonville Suns scored seven unanswered runs in a 9-6 victory over the Montgomery Biscuits on Saturday night at Riverwalk Stadium.  The Suns have won the first two games of the five-game series to trim the Biscuits lead in the South Division to just one game.

The Suns dented the scoreboard in the first inning against Biscuits starter Shane Dyer.  Chris Gutierrez singled and scored when Zack Cox doubled to left field to put the Suns up 1-0.  The Suns improved to 49-22 when scoring the first run of the game. 

Montgomery stormed back in the home half of the first against Suns pitcher Matthew Neil.  The first three batters of the inning each singled, with Derek Dietrich driving in Ty Morrison to tie the game at 1-1.  A throwing error by Jose Duarte allowed Shawn O’Malley to score to give the Biscuits the edge 2-1.  Ryan Garko then lifted a sacrifice fly to left, with Dietrich coasting across the plate for a 3-1 Biscuits lead. 

The Suns got one back in the top of the second.  Kyle Jensen led off with a walk, and Jose Duarte singled to put runners on first and third.  Alfredo Lopez delivered with a RBI single, with Jensen scoring to cut the lead to 3-2.  Lopez would finish the night 3-for-3 with four runs batted in.  Suns second basemen have thrived ninth in the batting order in the last two weeks.  The four RBI’s by Lopez are the most by a Suns number nine hitter a game this season.  Dallas Poulk was playing second base and batting ninth when he drove in three runs August 19th against Birmingham. 

The Biscuits scored three more runs on three hits in the bottom of the second off of Neil to take command with a 6-2 lead.  Mikie Mahtook drove in two runs with a double, and Ryan Garko plated another with a sacrifice fly.  Montgomery collected eight hits in the first two innings, then just three singles in the last seven. 

The Suns solved Shane Dyer and pulled even in the third.  Kyle Skipworth drove in two runs in the inning with his 16th double of the season to cut the lead to 6-4.  Kyle Jensen scored on a wild pitch to make the score 6-5, and Alfredo Lopez knocked in a run with a single to even the score 6-6.  

Jacksonville scored three runs in the eighth inning with a two-out rally to take a 9-6 lead.  Lopez drove in two runs with a seeing-eye single up the middle, and Jake Smolinski drove in a run with his 23rd double of the season.  The Suns finished with a season-high 16 hits and tied their season-high for doubles in a game with seven.  Jacksonville had at least one base runner in every inning except the fourth, and every player in the Suns lineup reached base at least once in the game. Paul Gran was the only Suns player without a hit, but he reached base when he was hit by a pitch for a league-leading 18th time this season. 

The Suns had six players record a multi-hit game.  Alfredo Lopez and Jose Duarte each finished with three hits.  Chris Gutierrez, Zack Cox, Kyle Skipworth, and Kyle Jensen each collected two hits in the game.  Lopez drove in four to double his RBI total to eight.  Skipworth drove in a pair of runs and now has 59 RBI’s this season.  Ty Morrison went 3-for-3 and scored two runs for the Biscuits.  Ryan Garko and Mikie Mahtook each drove in a pair of runs for Montgomery. 

The Suns have won six of their last seven games, outscoring opponents 50-33.  Jacksonville improved to 21-14 when using the designated hitter.  After dropping nine of the first 12 games in the season series to the Biscuits, the Suns have won eight straight over their division rival by a combined score of 44-18 with three shutouts.  The Suns are a win away from claiming a series for the first time in three trips to Riverwalk Stadium this season. 

Suns starter Matthew Neil allowed and Biscuits starter Shane Dyer did not figure in the decision.  Neil allowed six earned runs on eight hits in just 1.2 innings, his shortest outing of the season.  Dyer surrendered six runs on eight hits in 2.2 innings of work. 

The Suns bullpen combined to pitch 7.1 scoreless innings.  Edgar Olmos allowed just two singles in 3.1 innings after taking over for Neil in the second inning.  Grant Dayton (2-0) tossed three hitless innings for the Suns in the win.  Chris Rearick (2-1) allowed three runs on five hits over two innings in the loss.  A.J. Ramos pitched the ninth to earn his 20th save of the season.

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Buss Takes Lookouts To 11th Inning Win

By Steve Kolbe

It hasn’t happened often, but Suns closer A.J. Ramos was unable to lock down a win for Jacksonville on Friday night at AT&T Field, with the Chattanooga Lookouts scoring the game-tying run in the 10th inning, and an inning later winning in walk-off fashion when left fielder Nick Buss hit a three run home run for a 6-3 victory.   All eight of the Suns extra inning games this season have been played on the road, with Jacksonville 4-4 in those games. 

The Lookouts have won the first four games of the series by a combined count of 25-11.  The Suns are just 3-11 against the Lookouts this season, and have won just two of the nine games played in the Volunteer State.   

Jacksonville dented the scoreboard first on Friday against Lookouts starter Zack Lee.  Kyle Jensen belted a solo home run to right field in the top of the second inning to put the Suns in front 1-0.  Jensen leads the Suns, and is tied for third in the Southern League with 18 round trippers this season.  Four of his 18 homers have come at the expense of Lookouts pitching.
 
The Lookouts responded in the home half of the second against Suns lefty Brian Flynn.  With one out, Luis Nunez singled to start the rally. Brahiam Maldonado followed with a double to the gap in left-center field, with the speedy Nunez scoring all the way from first base to tie the game 1-1.
 
In the fourth inning the Lookouts put together a two-out rally against Flynn.  After J.T. Wise and Blake Smith struck out, Chattanooga collected three straight singles.  Nunez again record the first hit in the inning, and Maldonado singled to put runners on first and third.  C.J Retherford then sent a pop up into shallow right field that fell just out of the reach of Suns second baseman Paul Gran, with Nunez coasting home on the bloop single to give the Lookouts a 2-1 edge. 
 
With the game in the hands of both bullpens, the Suns faced three Lookouts pitchers in the eighth inning.  Paco Rodriguez gave up back-to-back singles to Ben Lasater and Kyle Skipworth to start the eighth.  Rodriguez then turned the game over to Chris Withrow, who struck out Kyle Jensen, but then walked Danny Pertusati on four pitches to load the bases.  On a delivery to Paul Gran, Withrow’s pitch went all the way to the backstop with Lasater hustling home on the pass ball to even the score 2-2.  Withrow suffered an injury on the pitch and was forced to leave the game. 
 
With Lookouts closer Steven Ames on the mound in the 10th inning, Danny Pertusati tripled to straight-away center.  Donnie Webb followed with an infield single with Pertusati crossing the plate to give the Suns a 3-2 edge.  
 
With the lead, and looking to snap their losing skid, Jacksonville summoned A.J. Ramos from the bullpen.  Rafael Ynoa grounded out to first, and Jake Lemmerman went down on strikes.  With two outs in the bottom of the 10th, J.T. Wise hit his fourth double of the series to keep the Lookouts hopes alive.  
 
Blake Smith came to the plate and fell behind in the count 0-2.  That normally means lights out with Ramos on the mound, but with the Lookouts down to their last strike, Smith doubled to right field with Wise scoring the equalizer.  It’s just the fourth time this season that Ramos has failed to lock  down a save in 21 opportunities.
 
Things went from bad to worse in the bottom of the eleventh inning.   After singles by Aaron Miller and Griff Erickson, Nick Buss stepped in and smashed his sixth home run of the season over the right field wall to hand the Lookouts a walk-off 6-3 win.  Ramos has allowed just two home runs in 61 innings of work this season.  Ramos gave up the long ball for the first time since May 2nd, when Birmingham Barons first baseman Andy Wilkins hit a two-run homer against him. 
 
Zack Cox went 3-for-6 with three singles.  Kyle Jensen and Danny Pertusati each collected two hits.   Suns batters struck out 11 times in the game, and have gone down on strikes 48 times in the series.  Luis Nunez finished the night 3-for-5 and scored two runs for the Lookouts.  Rafael Ynoa, Griff Erickson, and Brahiam Maldonado each were 2-for-5. 
 
The Lookouts have found their way to the win column in six of last seven games, and improved to 18-11 at home in the second half.  The Suns fell to 9-15 on the road, and have lost a season-high five straight road games.  Jacksonville’s six-game overall losing streak is the longest by the club since a six-game slid May 6th-11th, when the Suns were outscored 26-3 and shutout three times. 
 
Suns starter Brian Flynn allowed two runs on seven hits, and struck out four without walking a batter in five innings.  Lookouts starter Zach Lee also lasted five innings, giving up a run on six hits.  A.J. Ramos (3-2) allowed four runs, all earned, on five hits over two innings in the loss.  Ramos had allowed just five earned runs all season entering the game.  Steven Ames (2-3) tossed two innings for the Lookouts in the win.
 
The Suns will try to salvage the series finale on Saturday with the first pitch slated for 7:15 PM from AT&T Field in Chattanooga.  LHP Jose Alvarez (5-7, 4.10) will start his 22nd game of the season for Jacksonville.  RHP Andres Santiago (0-0, 3.60) is set to start his first game of the season for Chattanooga.  The Suns havn’t been swept in a series this season.
 
 
 

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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 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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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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Suns Walk To 6-4 Win Over Smokies

The Jackonville Suns walked eight times, including five times in the seventh inning, in a 6-4 win over the Smokies. Four of the Suns runs in the game were scored by batters who were issued a base on balls. Photo Courtesy: Tennessee Smokies

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns used a combination of power and patience at the plate to even their series against the Tennessee Smokies, with a 6-4 win at the Baseball Grounds on Friday night.  The Suns improved to 10-9 at home in the second half of the season. 

Donnie Webb gave the Suns a 1-0 lead in the second inning, when he launched a solo home run over the right-center field fence off of Smokies starting pitcher Ty’Relle Harris.  Webb has hit three of his seven home runs this season against Tennessee pitching, with all three of the round trippers at the Baseball Grounds.  Kyle Skipworth and Donnie Webb have accounted for the last seven Suns homers in the last 10 games. 

The Suns added another run in the second when Jose Alvarez walked and Danny Pertusati singled to put runners on first and second.  Chris Gutierrez then singled to center to drive in Alvarez to increase the lead to 2-0.  Suns pitchers have now scored nine runs this season. 

Jacksonville doubled the lead in the third inning.  Kyle Skipworth singled and went to second on a wild pitch, and that was followed by a walk to Donnie Webb.  With two outs, Suns second baseman Alfredo Lopez hit a ground ball to Justin Bour at first, with Skipworth scoring to make the score 3-0.  With the bases loaded, Danny Pertusati was hit by a pitch forcing in Webb for a 4-0 Suns advantage. 

The Smokies scored twice in the fourth to cut the lead to 4-2.  Junior Lake drove in a run with a double, and Juan Apodaca plated a run with a sacrifice fly.  Lake has nine hits in the series, including three home runs and four doubles.  He has driven in nine runs and scored six times.

Tennessee inched closer in the seventh when Greg Rohan hit a towering solo home run to left field off of Alvarez, and the Suns lead was 4-3.  Rohan has hit three of the Smokies nine home runs in the series. 

In the home half of the seventh, Smokies relievers Zach Rosscup and Kevin Rhoderick combined to walk five Suns batters, with Josh Schmidt and Alfredo Lopez each forcing in a run with a base on balls to make the score 6-3.  The Suns sent eight men to the plate and scored two runs in the inning without the benefit of a hit.  The Smokies added a run in the eighth when Lake drove in his second run of the night and the score was 6-4 Suns, but that’s as close as Tennessee would get.  The Suns have won six of their last nine home games.  

Chris Gutierrez was the only Suns player with two hits in the game.  Alfredo Lopez went 0-for-3 but drove in two runs in his Double-A debut.  Jose Alvarez reached base twice and scored a run.  Josh Schmidt walked to drive in a run in the seventh inning.  He has two of the Suns RBI’s by pitchers this season.

Greg Rohan, Juan Apodaca, and Junior Lake each collected two hits for the Smokies.  Lake has hit safely in 11 straight games and is 9-for-19 over the last four games.  Rohan has hit three home runs in the series against the Suns.

Jose Alvarez (4-5) allowed three runs on six hits in his six innings of work.  Two of his four wins this season have been against the Smokies, and Alvarez has given up just three runs in 14 innings in those outings.  A.J. Ramos pitched the ninth for his 15th save of the season.  Ramos has earned a save in nine of the Suns last 12 victories.  Five of his 15 saves this season have been against Tennessee.

The Suns will look to win the series Saturday with the first pitch slated for 6:05 p.m. from the Baseball Grounds.  After earning Southern League Pitcher of the Week honors, lefty Graham Taylor (5-8, 4.23) will take the hill for Jacksonville.  RHP Nick Struck (11-9, 3.52) will start his 22nd game of the season for Tennessee.  Struck leads the league in wins (11) and starts (21), and ranks 7th in ERA (3.52).  He is 0-4 against the Jackson Generals and 11-5 against the rest of the league.

   

 

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Skipworth Powers Suns Past Smokies

 

Kyle Skipworth(above)collected three extra-base hits, including his 12th home run of the season, in the Suns 6-4 victory over the Tennessee Smokies. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

In a seesaw affair at the Baseball Grounds, the Suns snapped the Tennessee Smokies three game winning streak with a 6-4 victory on Thursday night.  Jacksonville is now four games behind South-leading Montgomery.
 
Tennessee collected three hits against Suns starter Brian Flynn to take the lead in the first inning for the second straight game.  Junior Lake began the game with a single to right field, and Jae-Hoon Ha hit a base knock to put runners on first and third.  With one out, Justin Bour drove in his 77th run of the season with a single, with Lake cruising home to put the Smokies in front 1-0.  The Smokies entered the game with a record of 32-20 when scoring the first run, the Suns just 12-38 when falling behind.  
 
The Suns scored the equalizer in the home half of the first against Smokies starter Dallas Beeler.  Danny Pertusati and Jeff Dominguez both singled to center to put runners on the corners with one out.  Kyle Jensen then singled to drive in Pertusati to even the score at 1-1.  Each team had a carbon copy first inning, scoring a run on three singles. 
 The Suns have scored 56 runs this season in the first, the most runs they have plated in any inning.
 
Tennessee edged in front in the third inning, when Dustin Harrington led off with his first triple of the season, and he scored when Junior Lake doubled down the third base line to make the score 2-1.  Lake had a hand in nine straight Smokies runs over two games up to that point, with five RBI’s and four runs scored. 
 
The long ball took center stage in the fourth inning, with both teams trading home runs.  Justin Bour belted his 10th home run of the season to increase the Smokies lead to 3-1.  With the RBI, Bour took over the Southern League lead with 78 runs batted in.  The Smokies have hit eight home runs against seven different Suns pitchers in the first three games of the series.
 
Kyle Skipworth answered in the home half of the fourth when he muscled a solo home run, a blast to right-center that barely cleared the high wall to bring the Suns within a run.  Skipworth has hit five round trippers in his last seven games, and is tied with Kyle Jensen for the team lead with 12 homers on the season.  The Suns catcher has surpassed his total from the 2011 campaign, when he finished with 11 home runs in 106 games.
 
Jacksonville took the lead for the first time in the game in the bottom of the fifth.  Jeff Dominguez singled and went to second on a throwing error by Smokies first baseman Justin Bour.  Dominguez then scored from second base to even the score 3-3, when Kyle Jensen singled to left and Greg Rohan over ran the ball.  Skipworth continued his torrid pace when he put the Suns ahead 4-3 with a double to right-center, with Jensen rumbling around to score.
 
After the Smokies tied the game 4-4 on a solo home run by Greg Rohan in the top of the sixth, the Suns once again had an answer in the home half of the inning.  Donnie Webb led off with his eighth triple of the season against relief pitcher Tony Zych.  Jose Duarte came through with a pinch-hit single to put runners on first and third.  Webb scored the go-ahead run when Zych threw a wild pitch all the way to the backstop, and the Suns were up 5-4.  With two outs in the inning, Jeff Dominguez hit his third single of the night to drive in Duarte from second to pad the Suns lead to 6-4.
 
Kyle Skipwoth went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and a home run, drove in two runs and scored another.  Jeff Dominguez finished 3-for-5 with three base hits.  Every Suns batter, including pitcher Brian Flynn reached base at least once in the game.  For the Smokies, Junior Lake went 3-for-5 for his fifth straight multi-hit game.  Nate Samson also had three singles for Tennessee.  The two teams combined for 25 hits on Thursday, and in the series the Smokies have had at least 11 hits in every game.   
 
In an unfortunate incident in the bottom of the fourth inning, Kyle Jensen hit a fly ball down the right field line with  Smokies right fielder Jae-Hoon Ha giving chase.  The ball landed in the stands, but Ha collided with the wall hitting his chin with his head snapping back before he fell to the warning track.   Ha was given medical attention on the field by trainers from both teams as well as medical personnel on site.  An ambulance was summoned and Ha was taken to Shands Hospital.  
 
Lefty Brian Flynn made his first appearance with the Suns after being acquired by the Marlins from Detroit in a deal that sent Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to the Tigers.  He allowed four runs on 11 hits over 5.2 innings of work.  James Leverton (2-0) entered the game in the top of the sixth with two on and two outs.  He retired Junior Lake on a grounder to short, and with the out would earn his second win of the season.  A.J. Ramos pitched the ninth and locked down his 14th save of the season.  Smokies starter Dallas Beeler allowed four runs on eight hits over his five innings and didn’t figure in the decision.  He struck out a season-high eight batters.  Tony Zych (0-1) surrendered two runs on five hits in the loss.
 
Game four of the series is Friday with the first pitch slated for 7:05 p.m. from the Baseball Grounds.  LHP Jose Alvarez (3-5, 3.91) is set to start his 18th game of the season for the Suns.   
 

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Taylor Pitches Suns Past Braves

Suns starter Graham Taylor(above)allowed one run in seven innings of work to help Jacksonville edge the Mississippi Braves 2-1 at the Baseball Grounds. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe 

 
The Jacksonville Suns (15-15) reached the .500 mark for the first time since the eighth game of the second half, slipping past the Mississippi Braves 2-1 on Sunday afternoon at the Baseball Grounds.
 
Before many were in their seats on the sunny afternoon, Braves leadoff hitter Todd Cunningham hit his first home run of the season off of Suns starter Graham Taylor to give Mississippi the early 1-0 edge.  It was the lone mistake that Taylor made in the game. The first three Braves batters of the afternoon each reached base, but Taylor settled down and allowed just four total base runners (three singles and a walk) over his last six innings of work.  The Braves have hit just 31 home runs on the season, fewest in the Southern League, but blasted four in the series against the Suns.
 
In a game dominated by the starters, the Suns had trouble solving Braves right hander Zeke Spruill, with just two singles over the first four innings.  In the fifth, Curt Smith and Danny Pertusati each singled to start the inning.  After Graham Taylor grounded into a force at third, Jake Smolinski singled to left field with Pertusati scoring from second base to tie the score 1-1.  After going hitless in the Suns four game series against the Blue Wahoos, Smolinski collected at least one hit in his three games against the Braves. 
 
In the Suns eighth inning, it was all about the sacrifice.  Two days after driving in all five of the Suns runs, Donnie Webb once again found himself in the center of the offense.  He led off the eighth with a double, when Braves left fielder Tim Smith made a diving attempt on the ball only to come up empty handed.  Jake Smolinski gave himself up when he dropped down a sacrifice bunt, with Webb hustling to third base.  Chris Gutierrez continued the unselfish play with a sacrifice fly to left, with Webb coasting home to give the Suns a 2-1 lead and the win.  For Gutierrez, it was his first RBI of the season against Mississippi. 
 
Graham Taylor allowed one run on five hits over his seven innings of work in the no-decision.  In his last three outings, the lefty has surrendered only two runs in 18 innings.  Josh Schmidt (5-3) pitched the eighth inning on Sunday to win for the second time in his last three appearances.  He also tossed an inning last week in a victory at Pensacola.  Suns closer A.J. Ramos entered the game in the ninth and gave up a single and a walk, but he struck out Cunningham to end the game and earn his 13th save of the season.  Ramos rebounded from a tough loss in game two of the series, when he was nicked for five runs in the ninth in the Braves 8-5 comeback win.
 
Braves starter Zeke Spruill (6-10) pitched a complete game in the loss.  He allowed two runs on seven hits, and the only extra base hit he allowed was an eighth inning double to Donnie Webb.
 
Jeff Dominguez and Danny Pertusati each finished with two singles for the Suns.  Chris Gutierrez saw his 15-game hitting come to an end, but he drove in the game-winning run with a sacrifice fly for his 30th RBI of the season.  Gutierrez batted .340 (19-for-58) during the streak.
 
The Suns have won seven of their last nine games, with five of the victories by a single run.  Jacksonville claimed the season series over Mississippi by winning five of the nine meetings.  The Suns have won back-to-back series for the first time since early June.  The Braves have dropped eight of their last 10 games, and currently reside in the basement of the South Division.
 
The Suns begin a five-game series against the Tennessee Smokies on Tuesday night with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m..  RHP Matthew Neil (1-5, 5.59) is expected to take the mound for the Suns.  Jacksonville has taken both previous series from Tennessee this season, winning five of the eight games.

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Braves Rally In Ninth For Win Over Suns

The Braves scored five runs in the ninth inning against Suns closer A.J. Ramos for an 8-5 win at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville July 20, 2012. Photo Courtesy: Mississippi Braves

By Steve Kolbe

The Mississippi Braves scored five runs in the ninth inning to defeat the Suns 8-5 on Friday night at the Baseball Grounds.  The Braves won for the first time this season when trailing going into the ninth (1-43).  The Suns lost for just the second time when leading heading into the ninth inning (37-2). 

The Suns took a 2-0 lead in the home half of the fifth, when Donnie Webb hit a two-run home run to right field off of Braves starter J.R. Graham.  It was Webb’s first home run since June 23rd and his sixth round tripper of the season. 

Mississippi scored three runs on three hits in the seventh inning against Suns starter Bryan Evans to take a 3-2 advantage.  Todd Cunningham drove two of the runs with a double off of reliever Jordan Conley.  In the home half of the seventh, the Suns loaded the bases when Kyle Jensen and Danny Pertusati walked, and Jeff Dominguez singled.  Donnie Webb then doubled in the gap in right-center to clear the bases and put the Suns in front 5-3. 

A.J. Ramos entered the game for the ninth, and for just the third time this season was unable to lock down the win.  The Braves took advantage of three walks, and a pair RBI singles by Christian Bethancourt and Joe Terdoslavich to tie the game 5-5.  With the bases loaded and two outs, Keenan Wiley hit a ball to center field that glanced of off Donnie Webb’s glove while he was attempting to make the catch, with three runs crossing the plate to give the Braves an 8-5 win. 

Only three Suns players had hits in the game.  Donnie Webb went 2-for-5 and drove in all five runs.  It’s the second-most runs batted in for a Suns player in a game this season (Kyle Skipworth drove in six at Chattanooga May 26th).  Jeff Dominguez had three singles, and Chris Gutierrez singled to increase his hitting streak to 15 games.  Christian Bethancourt, Joe Terdoslavich, and Jason Christian each collected two hits for the Braves. 

Starter Bryan Evans allowed three runs on six hits over six and a-third innings in a no decision.  A.J. Ramos (3-1) allowed five runs (2 ER) on two hits in the ninth inning and lost for the first time this season.  All three batters he walked in the inning came around to score.  Cory Rasmus (2-3) allowed just one hit over two innings to earn the win. 

The Suns missed out on a chance to get back to the .500 mark for the first time since June 28, when they were 4-4.  Playing at home hasn’t been an advantage lately for the Suns, with just two wins in their last seven games at the Baseball Grounds.

Game three of the series is Saturday from the Baseball Grounds with the first pitch scheduled for 6:05 p.m.  LHP Jose Alvarez (2-5, 4.05) will start for the Suns.  RHP Gary Moran (3-7, 3.15) takes the hill for the Braves.

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