Tag Archives: Evan Reed

Braves Spoil Suns Chance At .500

 By Steve Kolbe

The Suns scored twice in a ninth inning rally, but fell short in a 4-3 loss to the Mississippi Braves Saturday night at Trustmark Park.
 
The game was scoreless through the first six innings with Suns starter Graham Taylor allowing just two hits, and Braves starter David Hale surrendering only three singles.  Jacksonville scored the first run of night in the seventh inning, when right fielder Kyle Jensen led off by hitting his eighth home run of the season to give the Suns a 1-0 edge.
 
Taylor ran into trouble in the Braves half of the seventh.  With one out, Joe Terdoslavich walked and Christian Bethancourt and Keenan Wiley both singled to load the bases.  The Suns left Taylor on the mound to face pinch hitter Ian Gac, who hit a hard grounder that glanced off the glove of third baseman Shawn Bowman and deflected into left field, with Terdoslavich and Bethancourt scoring to give the Braves a 2-1 lead.
 
Mississippi scored two more insurance runs in the eighth inning against reliever Evan Reed.  Todd Cunningham singled to right and stole second base.  Tim Smith then singled to left, driving in Cunningham to increase the lead to 3-1.  Pinch runner Alden Carrithers stole second base, and he scored when Joe Terdoslavich doubled to the left field wall for a 4-1 Braves advantage. 
 
The Suns rallied in the ninth inning against Braves closer Mark Lamm, scoring two runs on three hits.  Kyle Jensen and Kyle Skipworth singled to put runners on the corners with one out.  Curt Smith then drove in Jensen with a single to cut the lead to 4-2.  Paul Gran’s sacrifice fly to right field plated Skipworth to make the score 4-3, but Lamm stuck out Jose Duarte to end the threat. 
 
Suns shortstop Chris Gutierrez finished 2-for-4 with two singles and extended his hit streak to 15 games.  He is batting .360 (20-for-56) during the streak.  Not to be out done, Braves center fielder Todd Cunningham singled in his last at bat to extend his hit streak to 15 games.  The longest hitting streak in the Southern League this season is a 16-game streak by Pensacola’s Henry Rodriguez.
 
Kyle Jensen and Curt Smith also finished with two hits for Jacksonville.  Jensen hit his first home run in the month of June.  Christian Bethancourt, Joe Terdoslavich, and Keenan Wiley had two hits each for Mississippi.
 
Suns manager Andy Barkett was ejected in the middle of the fourth inning.  Curt Smith appeared to have stolen second base, when the throw from Braves catcher Christian Bethancourt got away from Phil Gosselin covering the bag.  Smith was called out, and Barkett was then thrown out by third base umpire Matt McCoy when he argued the call.  Barkett has been tossed out three times this season, and twice by the same umpiring crew.
 
Graham Taylor (4-6) pitched six and two-thirds innings, and had a two-hitter going into the seventh.  He allowed two runs on six hits and stuck out four.  David Hale (5-3) tossed seven innings, allowing four singles and the solo home run to Jensen.  Hale entered the night having walked the fifth-most batters in the league, but on Saturday he didn’t issue a free pass.  Mark Lamm wiggled his way out of the ninth inning jam to earn his eighth save of the season.
 
The Suns have scored the first run in all four games of the series, but have lost twice.  Jacksonville is 27-7 this season when crossing the plate first.  The Suns are 19-15 on the road this season, and are one of just three teams that can finish the first half with 20 or more road victories.
 
The series finale is Sunday from Trustmark Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 6:00 p.m. EST.  RHP Matthew Neil (1-1, 4.67) will start his 6th game of the season for the Suns.  LHP Sean Gilmartin (4-6, 3.40) takes the hill for his 14th start of the year for the Braves.  Three of Gillmartin’s wins have been complete games, most in the Southern League.
 

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Suns Hang On For Win Over Blue Wahoos

The Suns took three of five games in the series from the Blue Wahoos with a 2-1 win Wednesday June 6, 2012 at Bayfront Stadium. Photo Courtesy: Pensacola Blue Wahoos

By Steve Kolbe

Suns center fielder Donnie Webb drove in both runs for Jacksovnille in a 2-1 win over the Pensacola Blue Wahoos on Wednesday night at Bayfront stadium.  The Suns improved to 8-4 in series finales this season. 

The Suns started the scoring in the third inning against Pensacola starter Daniel Corcino.  Webb led off with a triple, and scored when Chris Gutierrez lifted a sacrifice fly to center field to put the Suns up 1-0.  Webb has hit four of his five triples this season against the Blue Wahoos.  The Suns are 22-6 when scoring the first run of the game, while the Blue Wahoos dropped to 4-20 when they allow the first strike. 

In the fifth inning, Webb connected for his second home run of the season to increase the lead to 2-0.   The Suns have hit 13 home runs in the last 22 games.  Both of Webb’s round trippers this season have come against Blue Wahoos pitcher Daniel Corcino.  Webb finished the series 6-19 and drove in four runs in the five games.

Pensacola scored a run in the eighth inning when Ryan LaMarre came home on a sacrifice fly by Josh Fellhauer to cut the lead to 2-1, but that would be the last run of the night.  The Suns improved to 12-8 against the Blue Wahoos this season, and close calls have been the norm between the in-state rivals, with 11 of the 20 meetings decided by only one run.

Jacksonville improved to 17-13 on the road this season, with nine of the wins by just a single run.  The Suns moved into sole possession of third place in the South Division, one game ahead of Pensacola.   The Suns denied the Blue Whoos their first three-game win streak since they won three in a row against Montgomery in the first series of the season. 

The Suns won for just the second time this season when scoring two runs or less (2-23).  Their previous win was 2-0 on Opening Night against Huntsville April 5th at the Baseball Grounds. 

The center fielders stole the show at the plate.  For the Suns, Donnie Webb finished 3-for-4 and scored both runs.  For the Blue Wahoos, Ryan LaMarre went 3-for-4 with three singles and scored Pensacola’s lone run.  All six of the Blue Wahoos hits in the game were singles. 

Suns starter Matthew Neil made his Double-A debut against the Blue Wahoos May 20th, and on Wednesday he earned his first career Double-A win against Pensacola.  Neil allowed five singles and struck out a season-high six batters over six innings.  Evan Reed closed out the game for his 12th save of the year, and is now tied for the league lead.  In his fourth start against Jacksonville this season, Daniel Corcino suffered his third straight loss and fell to 2-4 on the season.  He allowed two runs on five hits in five innings of work.

The Suns return home on Thursday to face the top team in the Southern League, with the 37-23 Jackson Generals making their lone visit of the season to the Baseball Grounds. 

 

 

 

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Jensen’s Home Run Hits Scoreboard; Suns Top BayBears

Suns right fielder Kyle Jensen smashed a three-run home run that hit the scoreboard at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville May 31, 2012 in 5-3 win over the Mobile BayBears. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

A towering three-run home run by Kyle Jensen helped the Jacksonville Suns to a 5-3 win over the Mobile BayBears on Thursday night at the Baseball Grounds. After losing both games of a double header on Tuesday, the Suns have now won two straight to even the series and more importantly gain ground on the BayBears in the South Division. 

Mobile took the lead in the third against Suns starter Graham Taylor when Wladimir Sutil led off the inning with his seventh double of the season.  After a sacrifice bunt by the pitcher Gaby Hernandez pushed Sutil to third, Alfredo Marte drove him in with a sacrifice fly to put Mobile on top 1-0.  Marte is tied for third in the Southern League with 33 RBI. 

The Suns drew even in the fifth, when Kyle Skipworth was hit by BayBears pitcher Gaby Hernandez to lead off the inning.  Kyle Jensen then hit a ground ball to third baseman Matt Davidson, but instead of starting a double play, the ball rolled under his glove and into left field with Skipworth going all the way to third and Jensen to second.  It was the third error committed by Davidson in the last two games.  Jeff Dominguez stepped in and sent a sacrifice fly to center for his tenth RBI of the season, with Skipworth scoring to tie the game 1-1. 

In the sixth, the Suns broke the game open scoring four runs on four hits against Hernandez.  Chris Gutierrez led off with a walk, and was sacrificed to second by Paul Gran.  Jake Smolinski scratched out an infield single to put runners on the corners with one out.  Shawn Bowman delivered with his 25th RBI of the season, a line drive single to center field with Gutierrez scoring to put the Suns in front 2-1.  Kyle Jensen cleared the bases with a manager’s best friend, the three-run home run.  Jensen turned on a Hernandez pitch and smashed a mammoth blast that hit the scoreboard in left field to make the score 5-1.  Jensen leads the Suns with seven home runs.  

Brent Clevlen hit a solo home run off of Taylor in the seventh to cut the Suns lead to 5-2, and Alfredo Marte hit a solo home run off of Evan Reed in the eighth to edge the BayBears closer but that would be all for the Mobile offense.  Reed struck out the side in the eighth.  The home run by Marte is the first round tripper that Reed has given up this season.  Mobile tied the Jackson Generals for the most home runs in the league with 40.  The Generals are at the Baseball Grounds next week for a five game series. 

Five different players had one hit for the Suns, with Jensen hitting Jacksonville’s second three-run home run in as many days against Mobile.  For the BayBears, Matt Davidson finished 2-for-4 with a single and a double.  Alfredo Marte hit his 11th home run of the season and drove in two of the BayBears three runs.  Marte and Davidson are now tied for the league lead with 11 homers each.  

The BayBears have been held to three runs or fewer in seven straight games and eight of their last 10, but have managed to win six times.  The Suns have scored at least five runs in two straight games for the first time in 13 games. 

After snapping their eight-game losing streak to the BayBears with a 9-0 victory on Wednesday, the Suns have won two straight over Mobile for just second time this season.  Jacksonville is now 5-24 when allowing their opponent to score first, while the BayBears fell to 23-8 when taking the lead. 

Suns starting pitcher Graham Taylor won for the first time in over a month (April 28th vs. Pensacola) and improved his record to 3-4 with two of the wins against Mobile.  He allowed two runs on six hits over his seven innings of work, throwing 77 pitches, 55 for strikes.  Against Mobile this season Taylor has allowed just three earned runs on 11 hits over 20.2 innings pitched. Taylor has allowed two earned runs or fewer in six of his 11 starts.  Evan Reed fanned three batters in the eighth inning.  A.J. Ramos was overpowering in the ninth, striking out the side for his second save of the season.  BayBears starter Gaby Hernandez allowed five runs on five hits, and has now lost his first two starts with the BayBears after signing with the Arizona Diamondbacks two weeks ago.  

The series is up for grabs on Friday at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05p.m.  RHP Matthew Neil (0-0, 8.38) will start his third game for the Suns.  LHP Tyler Skaggs (3-3, 2.72) is set to start his tenth game of the season for Mobile.

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Suns Slip Past Lookouts 4-3

The Jacksonville Suns won the series finale over the Lookouts 4-3 at AT&T Field May 27, 2012. Photo Courtesy: Chattanooga Lookouts

  By Steve Kolbe 

The Jacksonville Suns took an early lead and won their second straight game, defeating the Chattanooga Lookouts 4-3 in the series finale at AT&T Field on Sunday night. 
 
The Suns started the scoring in the second inning against Lookouts starter Ethan Martin.  Kyle Skipworth singled with one out, and then Kyle Jensen walked on four pitches.  The Suns took a 1-0 lead when Jeff Dominguez singled to right field with Skipworth crossing the plate, and Jensen advancing to third base on the play.  Donnie Webb then drove in Jensen with a sacrifice fly to right field to increase the lead to 2-0.
 
The Lookouts cut into the Suns lead in the bottom of the third against Suns starter Omar Poveda.  Matt Wallach led off the inning with an infield single, and made his way to second on a perfect sacrifice bunt by Lookouts starting pitcher Ethan Martin. Nick Buss then singled to right to put runners on the corners with one out.  After a line out by Luis Nunes, it appeared that Poveda was going to wiggle out of the jam.  But Poveda’s pickoff attempt to first went in the dirt and past  Jeff Dominguez toward the stands, and Matt Wallach huslted home to cut the Suns lead to 2-1. 
 
With a one-run lead and the Suns trying to hand Martin his first lose of the season, the Suns scored two more times in the fifth inning.   Jeff Dominguez led off the fifth with a walk on four pitches, and stole second base to put himself in scoring position.  Donnie Webb then jumped on a 2-2 pitch for a RBI single to center, with Dominguez scoring to pad the Suns lead to 3-1.  Webb advanced to second on the throw to the plate.  Omar Poveda helped his cause with a textbook sacrifice bunt to push Webb to third base, and Danny Black’s sacrifice fly drove in Webb for a 4-1 Suns advantage.
 
The Lookouts added a run in the home half of the fifth inning to get within 4-2.  Nick Buss tripled into the gap in right-center field, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Luis Nunez.  Buss is second in the league with six triples this season.
 
In the sixth inning, Blake Smith led off with a single and Poveda issued a free pass to Pedro Baez on four pitches.  Poveda found his control to strike out Kyle Russell on three pitches for the first out of the inning.  With one out, Jake Lemmerman singled to left with Smith scoring and the Suns lead was down to one, 4-3.  The Suns summoned Corey Madden from the bullpen, and he retired the next two batters to end the inning.
 
Omar Poveda allowed three runs on six hits over five and a-third innings, and struck out a season-high seven batters to improve his record to 4-2.  The Suns bullpen shut down the Lookouts, allowing just one hit over three and two-thirds innings of work.  Evan Reed pitched the ninth to earn his tenth save of the season. 
 
Jacksonville handed Lookouts starter Ethan Martin his first defeat of the season.  Martin and Huntsville’s Tyler Thornburg were the only two remaining starters in the Southern League without a loss.  Martin is now 5-1 after allowing four runs on four hits in his six innings. 
 
With tropical storm Beryl bearing down on Jacksonville, the weather could be a factor for the upcoming homestand.  The Suns are scheduled to begin a five game series against the first place Mobile BayBears on Monday night.
  
 
 
 

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Skipworth Hits For Cycle; Suns Win Slugfest 13-10

Jacksonville Suns catcher Kyle Skipworth hit for the cycle including a grand slam against the Chattanooga Lookouts May 26, 2012 at AT&T Field. Photo Courtesy: MiLB.com

By Steve Kolbe 

Suns catcher Kyle Skipworth hit for the cycle to lead the Suns past the Lookouts 13-10 in a slugfest at AT&T Field in Chattanooga on Saturday night.  The win snapped the Suns four game slide, and also ended Chattanooga’s six game win streak.
 
The scheduled starter for the Lookouts Nathan Eovaldi didn’t take the mound as expected.  Instead, right-hander Luis Vasquez was pressed into service and started a game for the first time this season.  The Suns  came out swinging against Vasquez and sent nine men to the plate in the first inning. 
 
Leadoff man Danny Black doubled to right field to start the game, and Jake Smolinski drove in Black with a RBI single  to put the Suns in front 1-0 before many fans had even taken their seats.  With two outs, Kyle Skipworth hit a ground rule double to put runners on second and third and bring Kyle Jensen to the plate.  Jensen capped the inning by smashing his sixth home run of the season, a three-run blast to right-center field for a 4-0 Suns advantage.  The Suns improved their record to 11-2 when scoring a run in the first inning.  Jensen and Skipworth share the team lead with six round-tippers each.
 
In the second, Jacksonville added another run when Danny Black led off for the second straight inning, this time reaching base on an error by the pitcher.  After Paul Gran bunted his way on and Jake Smolinski was hit by a pitch, the bases were loaded with no outs.  Shawn Bowman then grounded into a force out, with Black thrown out at the plate.  With one out, Kyle Skipworth’s hit a sacrifice fly to right field with Gran tagging from third to increase the lead to 5-0.
 
The Lookouts scored their first run of the night against Suns starter Matthew Neil in the home half of the second, when Travis Denker led off the inning with his third home run of the season to cut the lead to 5-1.  The Lookouts have hit 10 home runs this season against the Suns, their most against any club.
 
Having just arrived at the ballpark prior to the game, reliever Eammon Portice took over on the hill for Vasquez in the third, and had similar results.  The Suns scored to make it 6-1 when Matthew Neil walked with two outs, and Danny Black drove him in with a single to right field.  Black reached base in each of the first three innings.
 
In the fourth, Jake Smolinski walked to lead off the inning, and Shawn Bowman singled behind him.  With two on and no outs, Skipworth drove in his second run of the night with a single.  Later in the inning, Russell Mitchell drove in his tenth run of the year, with Bowman coming in to score on a ground out and the Suns had built an 8-1 advantage.
 
The Lookouts came to life in the bottom of the fourth against Neil.  Singles by Travis Denker and Brahiam Maldonado, and a walk to Pedro Baez loaded the bases with one out.  Jake Lemmerman then drove in the first run of the inning, when Bowman committed an error on a grounder hit in his direction with Baez scoring to make the score 8-2 Suns.  Matt Wallach brought the Lookouts closer with a base-clearing double into the right field corner, and at the end of four innings Jacksonville led 8-5.
 
Before the fifth inning began, the Lookouts made a call to the bullpen and summoned another newcomer, Bret Montgomery.  After striking out the first batter of the inning, five straight Suns hitters would reach base against Montgomery.  Danny Black hit his second double of the night, Paul Gran scratched out an infield single, and Jake Smolinski drove in Black with a single.  With the score 9-5 Suns, Shawn Bowman walked on four pitches to load the bases and set the stage for Kyle Skipworth.  With one mighty swing, Skipworth sent the ball sailing high into the Chattanooga night and over the right field fence for the Suns first grand slam of the season.  By the end of the inning, the Suns had scored five runs on four hits to expand the lead to 13-5.  Jacksonville scored runs in each of the first five innings in the game.  During their four game losing streak, the Suns had plated a total of only nine runs.
 
Chattanooga chipped away by scoring three runs in the bottom half of the fifth.  Luis Nunez singled to lead off the inning, and scored on Travis Denker’s double to straightaway center.  The inning was highlighted by a no-doubt-about-it two-run home run to left field off the bat of Pedro Baez, and the score was 13-8.  Baez has hit a two-run homer in two straight games, and he now has 26 runs batted in.  Suns relief pitcher Zach Neal took over for Matthew Neil and struck out Jake Lemmerman for the final out of the inning.
 
The Lookouts didn’t go away quietly, and scored two more runs in the seventh.  J.T. Wise single to left, and Denker doubled behind him.  Baez cashed in a run with a ground out with Wise scoring and Denker moving to third on the play.  With two outs, Lemmerman singled to drive in Denker to cut the lead to 13-10, but that’s as close as Chattanooga would get. 
 
The 13 runs are the most that the Suns have scored in a game this season.  In the first eight games of the season series against the Lookouts, Jacksonville had scored a total of 26 runs. 
 
During the 2011 campaign the Suns hit four grand slams, third-most in the Southern League.  Alex Romero, Luke Montz, Kevin Mattison, and Jake Smolinski each hit one.
 
For the Suns, Kyle Skipworth finished 4-for-4 and hit for the cycle.  He doubled in the first, singled in the third, hit his grand slam in the fifth, and tripled in the seventh.  Skipworth drove in six runs and scored twice.  Danny Black went 3-for-6, drove in a run, and scored two others.  Jake Smolinski was 2-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored.  Paul Gran had two hits and scored twice. 
 
For the Lookouts, Travis Denker went 4-for-5 with two doubles and a home run.  He drove in two runs and scored four times.  Nick Buss, Brahiam Maldonado, and Matt Wallach each finished with two hits in the losing cause.
 
Matthew Neil pitched four and two-thirds innings in his second start for the Suns.  He allowed eight runs on 10 hits and did not figure in the decision.  Zach Neal tossed two and a-third innings to earn his third win of the season.  Evan Reed struck out two of the three batters he faced in a flawless ninth to record his ninth save. 
 
In the spot start, Luis Vasquez allowed five runs on five hits in the first two innings to fall to 1-2.  The Suns are 2-7 this season against the Lookouts, with both of the wins coming against Vasquez.  The 13 runs are the most that the Lookouts have surrendered in a game this season.
 
The series finale is set for Sunday night from AT&T Field with the first pitch scheduled for 6:15 p.m.  The Suns will send RHP Omar Poveda (3-2, 4.54) to the mound for his ninth start of the season.  Jacksonville will try to hand RHP Ethan Martin (5-0, 3.28) his first loss of the year.  Martin is one of only two starting pitchers in the Southern League with a perfect record.

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Suns Even Series With Wahoos

Shawn Bowman drove in the game tying run in the eighth inning against the Blue Wahoos with a pinch hit double in the Suns 4-3 win at the Baseball Grounds. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns spotted the Pensacola Blue Wahoos a 3-0 lead on Sunday afternoon, but rallied for a 4-3 win at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.  The last three games in the series have all been decided by one run. 

Matthew Neil had impressive numbers in his eight starts with Jupiter, going 6-0 with a 2.06 ERA.  On Sunday,  the Suns sent the 25-year-old right-hander to the mound  looking to even the series against the Wahoos at two wins apiece.  Neil responded by retiring the first three batters he faced in his double-A debut. 
 
In the top of the second, Josh Fellhauer singled to lead off the inning against Neil, and Joel Guzman drove him in with a double into the gap in right-center field to put the Blue Wahoos in front 1-0.  Guzman is 7-for-17 in the series, including three doubles and a three-run home run.  He has hit safely in all four games.
 
The Wahoos increased the lead in the fifth inning, when Mark Fleury singled with one out and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Pensacola pitcher Daniel Corcino.  Moving the runner into scoring position paid off, when Ryan LaMarre drove in Fleury with a single to right field for a 2-0 Wahoos lead.
 
In the sixth, the Blue Wahoos added a run against Suns reliever  Bobby Bramhall.  Brodie Greene and Josh Fellhauer both singled, and after a force out put runners on first and third, the rarely used suicide squeeze came into play.  Stephen Hunt bunted back to the pitcher Bramhall, with Greene breaking from third base on the pitch, and scoring the Blue Wahoos third run of the day.  
 
Pensacola starter Daniel Corcino was cruising along into the sixth inning.  He allowed just two singles, and at one point retired 11 straight Suns batters, seven by strikeout.  In the sixth, Suns shortstop Danny Black singled to lead off the inning and Donnie Webb followed by hitting a two-run home run into the right field stands to cut the Blue Wahoos lead to 3-2.  It was Webb’s first home run of the season, and the Suns have now hit the long ball in six of their last eight games.
 
The Suns pulled even in the bottom of the seventh against relief pitcher Drew Hayes.  Curt Smith hit his ninth double of the season, and pinch-hitter Shawn Bowman doubled to drive home Smith with the tying run and the Blue Wahoos 3-0 lead had vanished.
 
Late inning heroics have been the norm for the Suns this week with two ninth inning wins, and Sunday afternoon was no exception when it came to late inning thrills.
 
In the bottom of the eight, Kyle Skipworth snapped an 0-for-21 stretch with a one out single off of Clayton Tanner.  After Tanner struck out Russell Mitchell, the stage was set for Kyle Jensen.  Celebrating his 24th birthday, Jensen completed the comeback by gift wrapping the go-ahead run with a double off the left field wall, with Skipworth hustling all the way from first to score putting the Suns in front 4-3.
 
Pensacola threatened in the top of the ninth against Evan Reed, when David Vidal and Mark Fleury hit back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners with one out.  The Blue Wahoos turned to Yordanys Perez, who entered the game as a pinch hitter.  He hit the ball sharply to Suns shortstop Danny Black, who handled it cleanly and started the game-ending double play.  Not to be overlooked was the effort by second baseman Paul Gran, who absorbed a hard slide by Vidal and still made the throw to first to finish the play.
 
It was memorable double-A debut for infielder Danny Black.  He finished 3-for-4 with three singles and scored a run.  Curt Smith went 2-for-4 for his third multi-hit game of the season.  Brodie Greene, Mark Fleury, and Josh Fellhauer each finished the day 2-for-4 for the Blue Wahoos.
 
Matthew Neil’s double-A debut has to be considered a success.  He allowed two runs on five hits over five innings against a Blue Wahoos team that ranks second in the Southern League in batting with a .260 average.  Neil is now 11-3 in his 24 minor league starts.  Evan Reed pitched the final two innings to improve to 3-1, and now has earned both wins for the Suns in this series. 
 
Coming off his worst outing of the season after he allowed six runs over five innings, Daniel Corcino found his touch against the Suns tossing six innings allowing just two runs on four hits.  He struck out a season-high nine batters, fanning at least one in every inning except the sixth.  Corcino, who has the best fastball in the Reds system, threw 105 pitches on the afternoon.  He’s given up more than three earned runs in a game only once in his nine starts this season.  Clayton Tanner pitched one and a-third innings and gave up the winning run to fall to 0-3 on the season.
 
The series finale is 11:05a.m. Monday morning at the Baseball Grounds.  In a match up of right handers, the Suns will send Omar Poveda (3-1, 5.05) to the mound for his sixth start of the season.  The Blue Wahoos counter with Tim Crabbe (1-2, 4.24).

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Bowman Powers Suns Past Blue Wahoos

After a 44 minute rain delay, the Jacksonville Suns defeated the Pensacola Blue Wahoos 8-5 at the Baseball Grounds on Thursday May 17th. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns used the long ball to defeat the Pensacola Blue Wahoos in the first game of their series 8-5 at the Baseball Grounds on Thursday night. 

After a 44 minute rain delay, the Suns jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning against Pensacola starter J.C. Sulbaran, when Jeff Dominguez singled and scored on a Kyle Skipworth grounder that went under the glove of Blue Wahoos second baseman Brodie Greene.  The Suns have scored at least one run in the first inning 12 times in 41 games this season, and have a record of 10-2 when they cross the plate in the first inning. 

Jacksonville increased the lead to 2-0 in the second, when Kyle Jensen led off with a walk and scored on a one-out double by Chris Gutierrez.  It was the first of two doubles and two runs batted in for Gutierrez, who now has eight doubles this season.

The Blue Wahoos figured out starter Jose Alvarez in the third inning, collecting four hits and scoring two runs to tie the game 2-2.  With one out, Didi Gregorius doubled and Brodie Greene singled to put runners on first and third.  Joel Guzman and Koyie Hill each drove in a run with and RBI single. 

Pensacola added two more runs in the fourth against Alvarez when P.J. Phillips led off the inning with a single, and Andrew Means then doubled to center with Phillips motoring around to increase the Blue Wahoos lead to 3-2.  Means would later score on a sacrifice bunt by Ryan LaMarre, and Pensacola had a 4-2 advantage. 

For the second straight game the Suns would rally from two runs down for a win.  In the bottom of the fourth, Kyle Jensen doubled to lead off the inning and scored on a sacrifice fly by Gutierrez to trim the Blue Wahoos lead to 4-3. 

In the fifth inning, Jacksonville took the lead back when Jeff Dominguez and Jake Smolinski walked to start the inning.  Kyle Skipworth drove in Dominguez with a ground out, and Ryan Patterson plated Smolinski with a double down the right field line and the Suns were ahead 5-4. 

The score stayed that way until the ninth, with Evan Reed trying to preserve the win.  With one out, Didi Gregorius singled and stole second base.  Reed retired Brodie Greene on a fly out to center, but with two outs Joel Guzman jumped on a 2-0 pitch and doubled to left to drive in Gregorius and tie the game 5-5. 

The Blue Wahoos turned the game over to Curtis Partch for the bottom of the ninth.  Jake Smolinski led off with a double, and then Skipworth was walked intentionally.  Shawn Bowman ended the game with a walk-off three-run home run that sailed into the flag court in left field to give the Suns an 8-5 win.  The Suns have now hit a home run in five of the last six games.

The win snapped the Suns five game home losing streak.  Jacksonville was outscored 25-3 in a five game sweep by the Mobile BayBears last week.

Chris Gutierrez finished the game 2-for-3 with two runs batted in.  It was his fifth multi-hit game of the year.  Kyle Skipworth drove in two runs to increase his RBI total to 17.  The Suns finished with 10 hits in the game, reaching double-digits in hits for the first time in 13 games.  Seven of the 10 hits were for extra bases, with six doubles and a home run.

Suns starter Jose Alvarez pitched six innings in his seventh start of the season.  He allowed seven hits and four runs, while striking out five and walking just one.  Blue Wahoos starter J.C. Sulbaran pitched four innings and allowed four hits and five runs.  Evan Reed pitched two innings for the Suns earning the win and is now 2-1 this season.  He allowed three hits, struck out three, and gave up the game tying run in the ninth.  Curtis Partch didn’t record an out in the ninth and fell to 2-3 on the season.

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Suns Back On Top After 4-3 Win In Birmingham

 

 

The Suns rallied for a 4-3 win over the Barons at Regions Park. The win snapped the Barons five game winning streak and moved Jacksonville into first place in the South Division. Photo Courtesy: Birmingham Barons

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns improved to 8-3 on the road this season with a 4-3 win over Birmingham at Regions Park on Monday night. 

The Suns took a 1-0 lead in the third when Jose Duarte led off the inning by walking on four pitches, and Jake Smolinski tripled to center to drive him in.  The Suns now have seven triples this season.  In the home half of the inning, Jared Mitchell and Damaso Espino both walked to start the inning against Jacksonville starter Jose Alvarez.  That set the table for Drew Garcia, who drove in two runs with a double down the left field line to put the Barons in front 2-1.  

Birmingham increased the lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the fifth when Justin Greene singled and later scored of a sacrifice fly by Garcia, who drove in all three runs for the Barons in the game to increase his RBI total to 20 for the year. 

The Suns tied the game in the sixth when Paul Gran doubled and Shawn Bowman singled before there was an out in the inning.  Russel Mitchell then singled up the middle to drive in Gran and cut the Barons lead to 3-2.  Later in the sixth, Curt Smith’s sacrifice fly tied the game 3-3.  Mitchell now has five runs batted in with the Suns, and Smith has driven in four runs in the last two games.  With Birmingham a Chicago White Sox affiliate, Monday’s game was the first of the season for Jacksonville with the designated hitter and Smith came through. 

In the seventh inning, the Suns completed the comeback when Smolinski hit his second triple of the night and came in to score on a Shawn Bowman sacrifice fly to give Jacksonville a 4-3 lead.  Bowman leads the team with 14 runs batted in.  Smolinski is now five-for-eight in his last two games since returning from an injury. 

Jose Alvarez pitched six innings allowing seven hits and three runs to earn his first win of the season.  Once again the Suns bullpen was flawless, tossing three innings without allowing a hit.  Garrett Parcell pitched the seventh, Josh Schmidt the eighth, and Evan Reed locked down his seventh save by retiring the Barons in order in the ninth.  Reed leads the Southern League in saves.  Barons starter Jose Quintana pitched six innings and allowed five hits and three runs and didn’t figure in the decision.  The losing pitcher was Santos Rodriguez.  He dropped to 0-1 as the Barons five game winning streak came to an end. 

The Suns improved to 14-1 when they score the first run.  It was also the fifth come-from-behind win for Jacksonville this season.  

Game two of the series is Tuesday morning at 11:00AM with Bryan Evans (0-2, 5.75) scheduled to make the start for the Suns.  Nestor Molina (3-1, 3.56) will take the mound for Birmingham.

 

 

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Suns Fast Start Sinks Blue Wahoos

Kyle Jensen and company celebrate after defeating Pensacola to give the Suns their 13th win in April. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

 

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns scored three runs in the first inning Saturday night on the way to a 5-2 win over Pensacola at the Baseball Grounds. 

Donnie Webb led off the game by reaching base on an error charged to shortstop Miguel Rojas.  It was the 12th time this season that the first batter of the game for the Suns has reached base.  Ryan Patterson then singled against Blue Wahoos starter Tim Crabbe, and both he and Webb advanced to second and third with no outs.  Shawn Bowman delivered with the runners in scoring position, a double to right field to drive in a pair of runs for a 2-0 Suns lead.  Bowman and Kyle Jensen are tied for the team lead with 13 runs batted in.  Jacksonville tacked on another run in the first when Russell Mitchell singled to drive in Bowman from second.  Mitchell has driven in four runs in his last three games.

Suns starting pitcher Graham Taylor was strong throughout, allowing only four singles through five innings.  He was able to keep the Pensacola bats silent, the Blue Wahoos had scored 17 runs on 26 hits in the last two games.  In the sixth inning, Pensacola broke through against Taylor when Henry Rodriguez beat out an infield single and Cody Puckett hit his first home run of the season to cut the Suns lead to 3-2.  Puckett hit 15 home runs last season with the Carolina Mudcats, which was good for second-most on the team.  He hit his first round-tripper this season in his 21st game of the year. 

Down by just a run and in search of their third straight win, the Blue Wahoos went to their bullpen in the sixth and seventh innings.  Drew Hayes and Wilkin De La Rosa struggled in the seventh allowing two runs, walking three batters, and hitting another.

The Suns sent eight men to the plate in the seventh, and with the bases loaded Kyle Skipworth was hit by a pitch on a full count to force in a run an increase the lead to 4-2.  It was Skipworth’s 12th run batted in this season.  Jose Duarte, Shawn Bowman, and Russell Mitchell each drew a base on balls in the inning, with Mitchell’s walk forcing in a run to make it 5-2. 

Graham Taylor improved his record to 2-1.  He pitched six innings allowing six hits and two runs, struck out five and walked only Ryan LaMarre, who was the first batter of the game.  In his last two starts, Taylor has allowed eight hits and just two runs in 13 innings of work.  Evan Reed earned his league-leading sixth save of the season by pitching two hitless innings and striking out two batters.  Tim Crabbe was the losing pitcher and is now 1-1 on the season.  He allowed seven hits and those three runs in the first inning, but none after that. 

Shawn Bowman finished 2-for-3, drove in two runs, and scored another.  Kyle Jensen went 2-for-4 and has had at least one hit in all four games in the series against the Wahoos.  Russell Mitchell was 1-for-3 with two runs batted in.  The Suns scored in the first inning for the ninth time this season, and are now 12-1 when scoring the game’s first run.  With the win the Suns improved to 13-11, and are now 6-8 at home.  

The rubber game of the series between the Suns and Blue Wahoos is Sunday afternoon at 3:05 pm.  The game will also be televised on CW-17.

 

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Suns Reel In Wahoos With Walk-Off Win

     

Dallas Poulk singled in the bottom of the ninth inning to drive in Donnie Webb and give the Suns a walk-off win over the Blue Wahoos. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

The Suns returned to Jacksonville after winning seven games on their 10-game road trip and picked up right where they left off, downing Pensacola 6-5 at the Baseball Grounds.

Kyle Skipworth put the Suns in front 1-0 in the second inning with a solo home run off of Blue Wahoos starter Pedro Villarreal.  Skipworth has hit three of his four round-trippers this season against Pensacola.  Curt Smith walked later in the inning and scored when Ryan Patterson doubled to left field to increase the lead to 2-0.  On a wild play, Jose Alvarez hit a ball back to the pitcher with Donnie Webb on first.  It bounced off of Villarreal, and started a double play in which Webb and Alvarez were both tagged out on a base running miscue.  Patterson scored from second on the play to make it 3-0.   

In the fourth inning, Kyle Jensen singled with one out and scored on Patterson’s second double of the night for a 4-0 Suns lead.  A batter later it was 5-0 when Donnie Webb hit his second triple of the season to drive in Patterson.  It was Webb’s third run batted in of the season.  Patterson has now driven in six runs on the year.

Suns starting pitcher Jose Alvarez was cruising along into the sixth inning.  He had retired 15 straight Pensacola batters after Ryan LaMarre doubled to lead off the game.  But in the sixth, the Blue Wahoos were able to get to Alvarez when Brian Peacock led off with a single, and that was followed by a double by Yordanys Perez.  A sacrifice fly by LaMarre plated the first of four runs in the inning for the Blue Wahoos and what was a comfortable Suns lead was gone with the score 5-4.  Didi Gregorius had a single to drive in a run in the inning, and Henry Rodriguez drove in his 12th run of the season with a double.  Gregorius has hit safely in 11 of his last 12 games.

After Garrett Parcell pitched the eighth inning for the Suns, Evan Reed took over in the ninth inning for Jacksonville looking to secure the win for his sixth save of the season.  The leadoff man in the inning Cody Puckett popped up into shallow right field and second baseman Dallas Poulk dropped the ball and Puckett ended up on second.  It was the Suns third error of the game and a costly one.  Two batters later Brian Peacock drove in the game-tying run with a single to even the score 5-5.  

In the home half of the ninth, Donnie Webb led off against relief pitcher Justin Freeman with his second triple of the night.  After an intentional walk to pinch hitter Paul Gran, Pensacola manager Jim Riggleman brought his center fielder into the infield to give the Blue Wahoos five players in the infield with the game-winning run at third for the Suns with no outs.

What happened next was a moment that could have been taken right from a Hollywood script.  Dallas Poulk, who had committed that error earlier, came to the plate with a chance to give the Suns the win.  He didn’t disappoint.  After falling behind in the count no balls and two strikes, Poulk launched a single into center field to give Jacksonville the walk-off win 6-5.  It was one of those moments that can be frozen in time for a player in just his third game with his new team.  It was just the third run that the Suns have scored in the ninth inning in 21 games this season.

Jose Alvarez pitched five-and-a-third innings, allowing four runs on five hits and didn’t figure in the decision.  He struck out six and didn’t walk a batter.  Evan Reed allowed one hit and one unearned run in the ninth to earn his first win of the season.  The losing pitcher was Justin Freeman.  He entered the game having allowed only two runs this season, but he allowed the game winning run on two hits on Wednesday to fall to 2-2 on the season. 

Donnie Webb had a perfect night going 3-for-3 with two triples, a run batted in, and a run scored.  Overall this year, the Suns have hit five triples, and Webb has hit all three of his against Pensacola.  Ryan Patterson also had a big night at the plate going 2-for-4 with two doubles, two runs batted in, and two runs scored.  Kyle Jensen finished 2-for-4 and scored a run.

The Suns have won five straight over the Blue Wahoos after dropping the first-ever meeting against their new in-state rival.  Five of the first six meetings this season between the two teams have been decided by a single run, with Jacksonville winning four of them.  Jacksonville improved to 10-1 when scoring the game’s first run.  The Suns have won eight of their last 11 games, while the Blue Wahoos have just three wins in their last 11 contests. 

The win, combined with Mobile’s 8-7 loss to Chattanooga in 12 innings, leaves the Suns alone atop the Southern League South Division.   With 12 wins in the month, Jacksonville already has more wins in April then in the 2011, when they finished 11-12 in the first month of the season.  Game two of the series against Pensacola is Thursday at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.  In a matchup of right-handers, Bryan Evans takes the mound for the Suns looking for his first win of the season.  Tim Gustafson gets the call for the Blue Wahoos.          

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