The Suns take two from the Tennessee Smokies, 11-3 and 10-3, on a stormy day June 25, 2012 at the Baseball Grounds. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns
By Steve Kolbe
The Jacksonville Suns won both games against the Tennessee Smokies on Monday at the Baseball Grounds to take three of the five games in the series. Jacksonville claimed the first game 11-3, and then won the regularly scheduled game 10-3.
When the rain suspended game four of the series Sunday, the Suns were trailing 2-1 in the third inning. When play resumed on Monday morning at 11:00 a.m., Suns reliever Zach Neal took over on the mound for Graham Taylor. Taylor allowed two runs on five hits over two and a-third innings before the game was suspended.
The Suns took the lead in the bottom of the third. Jake Smolinski led off with a walk, and came around to score on Paul Gran’s second triple of the season to tie the game 2-2. Kyle Skipworth then hit a ground ball to shortstop Junior Lake, who committed the first of his two errors in the inning, with Gran crossing the plate to put the Suns in front 3-2.
With Alan Oaks on the mound for the Suns, Tennessee tied the game in the sixth inning. Jim Adduci beat out an infield single, and Mike Burgess drove him in with a double to tie the game at 3-3.
The Suns took the lead for good in the sixth inning against Smokies pitcher Eric Jokisch. Jeff Dominguez led off with a double down the third base line, and Jose Duarte singled to right to put runners on the corners. After a sacrifice bunt by Zach Neal moved Duarte over to second, Donnie Webb drove in two runs with a single to give the Suns a 5-3 lead.
In the seventh inning, Kyle Skipworth was awarded first base on catchers interference, and Curt Smith then walked. With two outs, Jeff Dominguez smashed his third home run of the season to increase the Suns lead to 8-3. Dominguez has hit two three-run home runs this season, both at the Baseball Grounds.
The Suns padded the lead in the eighth inning with a two out rally. Jake Smolinski was hit by a pitch, Paul Gran singled, and Kyle Skipworth walked to load the bases. Shawn Bowman then cleared the bases with a double to left-center field to make the score 11-3. Bowman is 3-for-6 with nine RBI this season with the bases loaded.
Paul Gran went 3-for-5 with a RBI and scored two runs. Donnie Webb, Shawn Bowman, and Jeff Dominguez each had two hits in the first game. Bowman leads the Suns with 36 RBI.
Pitcher Alan Oaks arrived at the ballpark on Monday morning after being transferred from Jupiter of the Florida State League to Jacksonville. He earned the win, allowing a run on three hits. Smokies pitcher Eric Jokisch (3-1) allowed 10 runs on eight hits and lost for the first time this season.
In the regularly scheduled game, Suns starter Matthew Neil retired the first nine batters that he faced before running into trouble in the fourth. Jim Adduci walked to lead off the inning, but was erased when Jae-Hoon Ha grounded into a double play. With two outs, the Smokies collected four straight hits to start the scoring. Junior Lake singled and scored when Justin Bour doubled to right field to give Tennessee a 1-0 advantage. Bour leads the Southern League with 55 runs batted in. Nelson Perez followed by hitting his first triple of the season, with Bour scoring to build a 2-0 lead. Nate Samson made it 3-0 when he singled up the middle, with Perez cruising across the plate.
The Suns began the comeback in the home half of the fourth against Smokies starter Dallas Beeler. Kyle Jensen doubled with one out, and scored when Aaron Dudley collected his first hit and first RBI with the Suns to cut the lead to 3-1. Jacksonville drew even in the fifth, with Jake Smolinski and Kyle Jensen each driving in a run to tie the score 3-3.
The Suns broke the game open in the sixth when they batted around, and tied their season-high for runs in a inning by scoring seven times, all with two outs. Paul Gran led off with a double, and Jeff Dominguez walked with one out to put runners on first and second. After pinch hitter Kyle Skipworth struck out, Donnie Webb drew a walk to load the bases with two away. Chris Gutierrez snapped an 0-for-6 stretch with a clutch single to drive in two runs and put the Suns ahead 5-3. After Jake Smolinski was hit by a pitch, the bases were full of Suns again. Kyle Jensen delivered with a single to center, with Webb and Gutierrez scoring on the play to make the score 7-3. Jensen is 3-for-6 with nine RBI with the bases loaded this season.
Already with a hit and RBI, Suns first baseman Aaron Dudley cleared the bases with one swing of the bat when he blasted a home run into the right field seats and the Suns had a 10-3 lead. The Suns scored seven runs in an inning for the second time this season. In a 7-0 win in Mobile on April 23rd, the Suns scored all seven of their runs in the eighth inning.
Kyle Jensen finished 3-for-3, drove in three runs and scored twice. He is second on the team with 35 RBI. Aaron Dudley went 2-for-4 with four RBI. Donnie Webb, Jake Smolinski, and Kyle Jensen each scored twice.
Kyle Kaminska (5-3) pitched a scoreless sixth inning for the win. His last victory was May 2nd at Birmingham. Kevin Rhoderick (1-3) allowed five runs on five hits.
The Suns hit seven home runs against the Smokies, with Donnie Webb hitting two of the long balls. It’s the first time this season that Jacksonville has hit a home run in every game of a series. Jacksonville has now scored 10 or more runs in a game four times this season.
The Suns begin a five game series in Montgomery on Tuesday night with the first pitch scheduled for 8:05 p.m. EST. The Biscuits took three of five from the Suns at Riverwalk Stadium May 11-15.