Tag Archives: Curt Smith

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 Split Marathon Doubleheader With BayBears

 

The Suns and BayBears began a double header on July 31st at 6:05PM central time. The final out of game two was recorded August 1st at 1:05AM central time. Photo Courtesy: Mobile BayBears

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns and Mobile BayBears split a doubleheader at Hank Aaron Stadium, with the BayBears claiming game one in 10 innings 3-2, and the Suns winning the night cap 15-3.  During the twin bill the calendar changed from July to August, with first game starting at 6:06 PM on July 31st, and the final out of game two secured in the books at 1:05 AM August 1st.
 
The Suns took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning in game one when Jake Smolinski hit his fourth home run of the season, a solo blast off of BayBears starter Brett Lorin.  Smolinski has hit all four of his home runs in the second half.
 
The BayBears edged in front in the bottom of the fifth against Suns starter Bryan Evans.  Mobile third baseman Matt Davidson doubled to right-center to drive in Chris Owings to tie the score 1-1.  Brent Clevlen then drew a walk and Ryan Strieby reached on a error to load the bases.   David Nick forced in the go-ahead run with a walk to give the BayBears a 2-1 lead.
 
Kyle Skipworth hit a solo home run in the top of the sixth inning off of Mobile reliever Eury De La Rosa to tie the game 2-2.  Skipworth has six home runs and 10 runs batted in over his last 11 games.
 
The game went into extra innings, and the BayBears ended the contest in the tenth inning.  Rossmel Perez and Wladimir Sutil each singled to start the rally against Suns reliever Bobby Bramhall.  Chris Owings then walked to load the bases.  Matt Davidson walked on a full count to force in pitcher Bo Schultz with the winning run in the 3-2 victory.  The Suns have played seven extra-inning games this season(4-3), with all of them on the road.
 
Curt Smith, Ben Lasater, and Jake Smolinski each finished with two hits for the Suns.  Matt Davidson had two hits and drove in two of the BayBears runs in the game.  The BayBears were 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position, and left 16 men on base.
 
Bobby Bramhall (1-2) allowed one run on two hits in the loss.  Suns pitchers combined to walk 11 batters in the game.  Bo Schultz (1-2) pitched the tenth inning for the win.
 
In game two, the Suns started quick and never looked back in the 15-3 win.  Curt Smith and Paul Gran each drove in a run in the first inning to put the Suns up 2-0.  Jacksonville has scored at least one run in the first inning 33 times this season (24-9).
 
Mobile countered in the home half of the first against Suns starting pitcher James Leverton, scoring three times to take a 3-2 lead.  David Nick drove in two runs with a single, and Brent Clevlen drove in a run with an infield hit.  The Suns would go on to score 13 unanswered runs the rest of the night.
 
In the top of the second, after Shawn Bowman was hit by a pitch, Danny Pertusati put the Suns in front to stay with his first Double-A home run.  His blast to left-center gave the Suns a 4-3 lead.  The Suns have hit at least two home runs in the first three games of the series at Hank Aaron Stadium
 
In the fifth inning, Curt Smith hit his eighth home run of the season and Jake Jefferies drove in a run with a single to increase the lead to 7-3.  Smith finished the game with four RBI’s.  Jacksonville exploded for a season-high seven runs in the seventh inning, capped by a three-run home run by Kyle Jensen.
 
Seven different Suns players scored a run in the game, with six players crossing the plate at least twice.  Jake Smolinski, Chris Gutierrez, Curt Smith, Kyle Jensen, and Shawn Bowman each scored two times.  Danny Pertusati scored three runs for Jacksonville.  Seven different Suns drove in at least one run.  Curt Smith drove in four runs, Kyle Jensen drove in three, and Danny Pertusati and Jake Smolinski each had two RBI’s.
 
Game four of the series is Wednesday with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 PM from Hank Aaron Stadium.  LHP Jose Alvarez (4-5, 3.95) takes the hill for the Suns.  LHP David Holmberg (2-4, 4.63) will start for the BayBears.
 

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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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Smokies Slug Three Home Runs To Down Suns

Tennessee shortstop Junior Lake hit a pair of two-run home runs in the Smokies 7-5 win over the Jacksonville Suns July 25, 2012 at the Baseball Grounds. Photo Courtesy: Tennessee Smokies

 By Steve Kolbe

The Tennessee Smokies powered past the Suns by hitting three home runs for the second straight game in a 7-5 victory Wednesday afternoon.  The Suns have given up 10 home runs in their last six games at the Baseball Grounds.
 
Suns starter Bryan Evans struggled with his control in the first inning, walking the first three batters of the game to load the bases.  Justin Bour drove in the first run of the day with a sacrifice fly to right field, with Junior Lake scoring to put the Smokies in front 1-0.  Bour leads the Southern League with 76 RBI’s. 
 
In the second inning Junior Lake connected for a two-run homer off of Evans to increase the Smokies lead to 3-0.  Lake has hit three of his six home runs this season against Suns pitching.
 
The Suns closed the gap in the home half of the second against Tennessee starter Dae-Eun Rhee.  With one out, Shawn Bowman reached on an error by first baseman Justin Bour.  Curt Smith then singled to center, and when center fielder Jae-Hoon Ha ran past the ball, Bowman went to third and Smith advanced to second.  Jake Jefferies knocked in both base runners with a single to center to cut the Smokies lead to 3-2. 
 
Jacksonville tied the game 3-3 in the fifth inning when Danny Pertusati reached base on an infield single, and scored when pinch hitter Jose Duarte double into the left field corner.  After a single by Jake Smolinski put runners on the corners, Duarte hustled home on a ground out by Chris Gutierrez to put the Suns in front for the first time 4-3. 
 
Junior Lake hit his second two-run homer of the day off Suns reliever Jordan Conley in the top of the sixth, and the Smokies were on top 5-4.  Lake had a hand in all seven runs for the Smokies, driving in four of the  seven runs in the game, and scoring three others..  Nelson Perez added some insurance in the ninth inning when he belted the Smokies third two-run home run of the game to pad the lead to 7-4.  Danny Pertusati drove in a run in the Suns half of the ninth to make the final score 7-5.
 
The Smokies had at least one base runner in every inning on Wednesday.  In the series Tennessee has scored 16 runs on 23 hits.  The Smokies went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left a dozen men on base, including the bases loaded twice.
 
Suns starter Bryan Evans allowed three runs on three hits, and walked six batters in a season-low two and two-thirds innings.  Evans had walked a total of six batters in his previous four starts.  Jordan Conley (1-2) surrendered two runs on five hits in the loss.  Smokies starter Dae-Eun Rhee (7-5) allowed four runs on nine hits in the win.  Frank Batista pitched the final two innings to tie for the league lead in saves with 18.
 
Game three of the series is Thursday night with the first pitch scheduled for 7:35 p.m.  LHP Brian Flynn is expected to make his first start for the Suns.  RHP Dallas Beeler (4-6, 4.11) will take the mound for Tennessee.

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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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