Tag Archives: Graham Taylor

Suns Eliminated From Playoff Contention

 

Graham Taylor(above)allowed six hits in his final start of the season in the Suns 3-2 rain-shortened six inning loss to the Generals.

Graham Taylor(above)allowed six hits in his final start of the season.  Jacksonville fell 3-2 to the Jackson Generals in six innings at Pringles Park.

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns quest for a playoff birth in the second half of the season came to an end on Saturday night, with a 3-2 loss to the Jackson Generals in a six inning rain-shortened game at Pringles Park.  The loss, combined with the Biscuits 11-4 win over the Stars, eliminated the Suns from playoff contention and vaulted Montgomery to the South Division title in the second half.
 
After waiting through a 23 minute rain delay prior to the first pitch, the Suns jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Paul Gran hit his fifth home run of the season, a solo blast to left field off of Generals starting pitcher Anthony Fernandez.  It was Gran’s first home run since July 7th.  The Suns have scored the first run in all three games in the series, but have lost all three to fall to 51-25 when crossing the plate first.
 
The Generals used the long ball to even the score in the home half of the second inning against Suns lefty Graham Taylor.  Kalian Sams belted his 11th round tripper of the season, a solo shot to left field to tie the game 1-1.  
 
Jackson took the lead for good in the bottom of the third inning when Brad Miller doubled to right field, and Stefen Romero followed with a two-run blast to left-center to make the score 3-1.  Taylor has allowed 18 home runs this season, tied for the most in the Southern League.  The Generals lead the league with 114 home runs, and have had 13 multi-homer games in their last 45 contests. 

In the fifth inning Jake Smolinski led off the inning with his league-leading 78th walk, and Chris Gutierrez singled to put runners on the corners with no outs.  The Generals then summoned Moises Hernandez from the bullpen.  With one out, Kyle Jensen lifted a sacrifice fly to center with Smolinski cruising home to cut the Generals lead to 3-2.

The teams continued to play knowing that severe weather was on the way.  Play was then stopped after Taylor struck out Leury Bonilla to end the sixth inning, and after a delay of 1 hour and 22 minutes due to heavy rain, lightning, and strong wind, the game was ruled complete with Jackson declared the winner.

The Suns have just four wins in their last 14 road games, and fell to 13-20 away from home in the second half.  The Generals continued to improve on the best home record in the league at 44-24, and Jackson has won six straight and 11 of their last 13 games at Pringles Park.

Jose Duarte finished 2-for-2 with a pair of singles for his fifth multi-hit game of the season for the Suns.  Jacksonville left eight runners on base over six innings.  Mike Zunino and Stefen Romero each finished with two hits for the Generals.  Zunino has hit safely in 10 of his first 13 games with Jackson.  Romero has hit safely in 19 of his last 20 games, with eight multi-hit games and six home runs.  He has belted a two-run home run in each of the last two games against the Suns.

Graham Taylor (9-11) allowed three runs on six hits and struck out five over six innings of work.  Taylor finished the season 6-5 at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, and 3-6 on the road.  Moises Hernandez (5-2) tossed two hitless innings for the victory.  He’s the older brother of Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez.

The Suns will send RHP Bryan Evans (6-8, 4.59) to the mound for game four of the series on Sunday afternoon at Pringles Park, with the first pitch slated for 3:05 PM.  RHP Taijuan Walker (7-9, 4.31) will start for the Generals.  The Suns finished with a record of 70-70 during the 2011 campaign, and will need to win their final two games to finish at .500 this season.

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Suns Tie For First In South Division

 

The Suns rallied for a come from behind win for the third straight game in Montgomery, defeating the Biscuits 7-3 at Riverwalk Stadium August 26, 2012. With the victory, the Suns pulled into a tie for first place with the Biscuits. Photo Courtesy: Montgomery Biscuits

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns vaulted into a tie for first place in the South Division of the Southern League, defeating the Montgomery Biscuits 7-3 on Sunday afternoon at Riverwalk Stadium.  The Suns and Biscuits have identical 34-29 records in the second half. 
 
The Suns jumped in front in the second inning against Biscuits starter Kyle Lobstein.  Kyle Jensen led off with a walk, and Danny Pertusati singled to put runners on first and third.  Jose Duarte then lifted a sacrifice fly to left field, with Jensen rumbling home to give the Suns a 1-0 lead.  Duarte would finish the day with three RBI.
 
Jacksonville added a run in the fourth inning against Lobstein. Kyle Jensen led off with his 19th double of the season, and advanced to third on a ground out by Kyle Skipworth.  Danny Pertusati then grounded out, with Jensen hustling home for the second time in the game to make the score 2-0 Suns.  Jensen has scored 15 runs in his last 11 games.
 
The Biscuits broke though against Suns starter Graham Taylor in the home half of the fourth inning.  Derek Dietrich doubled and Greg Sexton singled to put runners on first and third.  After Dietrich scored on a wild pitch by Taylor to put the Biscuits on the board, catcher Mayo Acosta belted a two-run home to put Montgomery in front 3-2. 
 
The Suns came back for the third time in the series in the sixth inning.  Zack Cox hit a ball high off the left field wall just missing a home run, but collected his third double in the last two games to start the inning.  Ben Lasater followed with a double to right-center, with Cox racing around from second to tie the score 3-3.  Kyle Jensen singled to put runners on first and third, and Kyle Skipworth followed with a single to drive in Lasater from third and the Suns had reclaimed the lead 4-3.  In a pivotal play in the inning, Danny Pertusati dropped down a sacrifice bunt moving Jensen to third base and Skipworth to second.  Jose Duarte cashed in by delivering with a single up the middle with the infield in, with Jensen and Skipworth scoring for a 6-3 Suns advantage.  On the play Biscuits catcher Mayo Acosta was injured in a home plate collision with Skipworth and was forced to leave the game.
 
Ben Lasater smashed his second home run of the season in the ninth, a solo blast to add to Suns the lead at 7-3.
 
Graham Taylor (9-10) allowed three runs on nine hits over five innings for the win.  Kyle Lobstein (7-7) surrendered six runs on nine hits in the loss.
 
The Suns can take over sole possession of first place with a win in game four of the series on Monday night, with the first pitch scheduled for 8:05 PM from Riverwalk Stadium.   RHP Brian Evans (5-8, 4.86) will take the mound for the Suns. 
 

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Suns Take Two From Barons

 

Suns starter Graham Taylor (above left)threw three-hit complete game to lead Jacksonville past Birmingham 5-0 in game one. Keyle Jensen(above right)hit his 20th home run of the season in the Suns 5-3 comeback win in the night cap at the Baseball Grounds August 21, 2012. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns swept a double-header from the Birmingham Barons, winning game one 5-0 with a dominant performance from starter Graham Taylor, and the Suns turned up the power to claim the night cap 5-3.  It’s the first time this season that the Suns have swept both games of a twin bill.
 
The Suns broke the ice in game one in the second inning against Barons starter Nestor Molina.  Kyle Jensen led off the inning with his 19th home run of the season to put the Suns in front 1-0.  The Suns improved their record to 47-22 when scoring the first run of the game.
 
The Suns were turned away by Molina after loading the bases with no outs in the fifth, but Jacksonville added some insurance in the home half of the sixth,  loading the bases for a second straight inning.   Singles by Ben Lasater and Kyle Skipworth and a walk by Kyle Jensen loaded the bases with no outs.  Jake Jefferies delivered a RBI-single with Lasater cruising home to increase the Suns lead to 2-0.  The Barons summoned Salvador Sanchez from the bullpen, and he walked Danny Pertusati on four pitches to force in Skipworth from third to make the score 3-0.  After Jensen hustled home on a wild pitch to pad the lead to 4-0, Dallas Poulk capped the scoring with a sacrifice fly plating Jefferies for the 5-0 final.
 
Kyle Skipworth and Jake Jefferies each finished 2-for-3 for the Suns.  Jacksonville has 13 shutouts this season, with 11 of them tossed at the Baseball Grounds.   The Barons were blanked for the seventh time this season.
 
Taylor (8-10) allowed just three singles for the complete game seven-inning win.  In his previous start this season against the Barons, Taylor allowed a season-high 12 hits in an 8-3 loss May 4th at Hoover, Alabama.  The win Tuesday was Taylor’s first complete game of the season.  Another Suns lefty, Jose Alvarez, is tied for the league lead with three complete games.  Nestor Molina (4-10) surrendered five runs on nine hits in the loss.   Molina won three of his first five starts this season, but has just one victory in his last 15 outings.
 
The Suns capped of the night in come-from-behind fashion, falling behind the Barons 3-0 in the second game.  James Leverton retired the first 11 batters he faced, but with two outs in the top of the fourth the Barons put together a two-out rally.  Trayce Thompson walked and scored when Andy Wilkins doubled to the gap in left center to give the Barons a 1-0 lead.  Brady Shoemaker followed with a double to right-center, with Wilkins scoring to increase the lead to 2-0.  Shoemaker added a RBI-single in the sixth inning to hand Birmingham a 3-0 cushion.
 
The Suns powered their way to the comeback in the home half of the sixth against Barons starter Spencer Arroyo, hitting three home runs.  Leadoff man Jake Smolinski smashed the first pitch he saw over the left field wall to put the Suns on the board.  Smolinski has hit all six of his homers in the second half of the season.  After Chris Gutierrez walked and Zack Cox singled, Kyle Jensen cleared the bases with his second home run of the double header to put the Suns in front to stay 4-3.  Jensen is one of only five players in the Southern League with 20 or more round trippers.  Kyle Skipworth made it back-to-back home runs in the inning, when he belted his 18th home run of the season to help the Suns claim the night cap 5-3.   Skipworth also homered against the Barons May 5th.
 
The Suns have won six of their eight games against the Barons this season.  With a record of 21-12 at home in the second half, the Suns have more wins than any team in the league on their home turf.  Jacksonville is 10-3 in the last 13 games at the Baseball Grounds, with five of the victories by shutout.  
 
Jake Smolinski went 2-for-3 for his 23rd multi-hit game of the season.  Kyle Jensen has belted six three-run home runs this season, with half of them in the month of August.   Jensen has left the yard five times in the last six games.
 
Collin Cargill (1-0) earned his first win with the Suns.  Spencer Arroyo (6-4) allowed five runs on seven hits in the loss.  Arroyo allowed three home runs in the sixth inning on Tuesday, after giving up just four all season.
 
Game four of the series is Wednesday with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 PM.  RHP Bryan Evans (5-7, 4.31) will start for the Suns.  RHP Jacob Petricka (2-2, 3.59) takes the mound for the Barons.
 
 
 
 
 

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Lookouts Fast Start Sinks Suns

 By Steve Kolbe

The Chattanooga Lookouts scored all of their runs in the first three innings in a 9-6 win over the Jacksonville Suns on Wednesday at AT&T Field.  The Suns have allowed 29 runs during their four-game losing streak.
 
The Lookouts came out swinging from the start in the first inning against Suns starter Graham Taylor.  Rafael Ynoa led off with a single to center, and Jake Lemmerman reached on an error by Suns first baseman Ben Lasater.  J.T. Wise then drove in the first run of the night with a sacrifice fly, with Ynoa scoring to put the Lookouts up 1-0.  With two outs, Blake Smith belted his 12th home run of the season, a two-run blast to right-center to increase the lead to 3-0.    
 
The Suns dented the scoreboard in the top of the second against Lookouts starter Aaron Miller.  After singles by Kyle Skipworth and Alfredo Lopez, Jake Smolinski hit a two-out double down the left field line to cut the lead to 3-2.  Smolinski and Chris Gutierrez are tied for the team lead with 21 doubles this season.
 
Chattanooga sent nine men to the plate in the home half of the second inning and exploded for four more runs to make the score 7-2.  Rafael Ynoa drove in a run with a double, and also scored on a throwing error by Suns third baseman Zack Cox.  J.T. Wise provided the big hit in the inning when he smashed a two-run home run to left field.  The Lookouts scored nine runs on 11 hits in the first three innings.  
 
The Suns countered with four runs of their own in the top of the sixth.  After singles by Danny Pertusati and Zach Cox, Kyle Jensen hit his 17th home run of the season and Kyle Skipworth followed with his 17th round tripper of the year, as the Suns hit back-to-back home runs in the inning to cut the lead to 9-6.  Jensen has hit four three-run home runs this season.  But that’s as close as the Suns would get, managing just one hit in the final three innings.
 
Kyle Skipworth went 2-for-3 and was the only Suns player with a multi-hit game.  The Suns have hit a total of six home runs against the Lookouts this season, with Jensen and Skipworth belting three each.  Blake Smith went 3-for-5 with a home run to lead the Lookouts.  J.T. Wise was 2-for-4 and drove in five of the Lookouts runs, the most RBI’s by a single player in a game against the Suns this season.  Rafael Ynoa, Brahiam Maldonado, Griff Erikson, and C.J. Retherford each had two hits.
 
Chattanooga improved to 9-3 against Jacksonville this season.  The Lookouts finished with 15 hits, one shy of the most allowed by the Suns in a single game during the 2012 campaign.
 
Graham Taylor (7-10) allowed nine runs on 11 hits in the loss.  Aaron Miller (6-6) surrendered six runs on seven hits to win for the first time in his last four starts.  Miller has half of his wins at the expense of the Suns, with a record of 3-0.  Steven Ames earned his 16th save of the season for the Lookouts.
 
The middle game of the series is Thursday with the first pitch scheduled for 7:15 PM from AT&T Field in Chattanooga.  RHP Bryan Evans (5-6, 4.15) will try to end the Suns four-game slide, while RHP Allen Webster (5-8, 3.83) will start for the Lookouts.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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BayBears End Suns Winning Streak

 

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

By Steve Kolbe

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

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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 Top Smokies; Win Third Straight Series

 

The Suns defeated the Smokies 8-5 at the Baseball Grounds to take three of five games in the series. Jacksonville won all three series against Tennessee during the season. Photo Courtesy: Tennessee Smokies

By Steve Kolbe

After losing the first two games against Tennessee, the Suns won their third straight over the Smokies 8-5 on Saturday night at the Baseball Grounds.  The Suns took eight of the 13 games against the Smokies during the season, and won all three series.
 
The Suns took the lead in the first when Jake Smolinski led off with a double and Chris Gutierrez singled behind him to put runners on first and third before Smokies starter Nick Struck could record an out.  Paul Gran then lifted a sacrifice fly to right scoring Smolinski to put the Suns up 1-0.  Jacksonville improved to 23-9 when scoring a run in the first inning.
 
Gutierrez and Gran each drove in a run in the third to increase the Suns lead to 3-0, and in the fourth Alfredo Lopez hit a RBI-single to make the score 4-0.  It was the second straight game that the Suns jumped out to a 4-0 advantage.
 
Smokies first baseman Justin Bour drove in a run in the fifth against Suns starter Graham Taylor with a single to cut the lead to 4-1.  But the Suns scored three more times in the sixth inning against reliever Trey McNutt to pad the lead to 7-1.
 
In the top of the seventh, Bour smashed the Smokies first grand slam of the season off of Suns reliever Kyle Kaminska to edge Tennessee closer at 7-5.  Bour drove in all five of the Smokies runs in the game.  The Suns added a run in the home half of the seventh for the 8-5 final.
 
Graham Taylor (6-8) allowed one run on five hits in six innings for the win.  James Leverton pitched the ninth for his first save of the season.
 
Jake Smolinski went 3-for-5 with two RBI’s and scored three runs.  It’s the third time this season that Smolinski has hit three doubles in a game.  Chris Gutierrez and Donnie Webb each collected three hits.  The first three batters in the Suns lineup combined to drive in six of the Suns eight runs on the night.
 
The Suns open a five-game series against the Mobile BayBears at Hank Aaron Stadium on Sunday with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

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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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Suns Edge Blue Wahoos

 

Jake Smolinski(left)walked three times in the Suns 2-1 win over the Blue Wahoos July 16, 2012 at Bayfront Stadium. Photo Courtesy: Pensacola Blue Wahoos

By Steve Kolbe

Klye Skipworth hit a solo home run in the sixth inning to lead the Jacksonville Suns past the Pensacola Blue Wahoos 2-1 on Monday night at Bayfront Stadium.
 
The Suns took the lead in the third inning against Blue Wahoos starter J.C. Sulbaran.  After retiring the first eight batters of the game, Sulbaran surrendered a single to Suns pitcher Graham Taylor with two outs in the third.  Jake Smolinski then walked, and Chris Gutierrez beat out an infield single to load the bases.  Paul Gran walked on a full count to force in Taylor to give the Suns a 1-0 lead.  Jacksonville improved to 35-14 when scoring the first run of the game.
 
Kyle Skipworth increased the lead to 2-0 when he led of the sixth inning by smashing his eighth home run of the season off of reliever Wilkin De La Rosa.  Skipworth has hit four of his eight home runs off of Blue Wahoos pitching, with three of them at Bayfront Stadium.  The Suns have hit 21 of their 62 round trippers this season off Blue Wahoos pitching, the most against any team.
 
Graham Taylor pitched six scoreless innings, allowing just three singles.  The Suns went to the bullpen with Kyle Kaminska entering the game in the seventh.  Pensacola first baseman Beau Mills greeted Kaminska with a solo home run to right field to cut the Suns lead to 2-1, but that would be all the offense the Wahoos could generate in the game.   Kaminska has given up a long ball in the seventh inning in each of his last two outings.
 
The win was just the fourth this season for the Suns when they have been held to three runs or less (4-33), with two of the four wins against the Blue Wahoos.
 
The Suns collected just five hits in the game, and have a total of 19 in the first three games of the series.  Chris Gutierrez finished 2-for-4, and pitcher Graham Taylor went 2-for-2 and scored a run.  With a pair of singles, Taylor is the first Suns pitcher with a multi-hit game this season.  Jake Smolinski and Paul Gran each had three of the Suns nine walks in the game. 
 
Jacksonville is 15-11 overall this season against Pensacola, and 9-4 at Bayfront Stadium with one game left to play.  A win in the series finale on Tuesday would give the Suns their fourth series win over the Blue Wahoos this season.  Pensacola hasn’t lost two straight games in nearly a month (June 25 and 26).
 
Graham Taylor (5-8) snapped a four game road losing streak, winning for the first time since April 23.    In his last two starts overall, Taylor has allowed just one run over 11 innings of work.  Josh Schmidt pitched the eighth for the Suns, striking out two of the four batters he faced.  A.J. Ramos entered the game in the ninth inning and retired the side in order, including a strike out of David Vidal to end the game.  Ramos earned his 11th save of the season, and has a save in each of the Suns last five wins.  J.C. Sulbaran (6-7) allowed one run on three hits in four and two-thirds innings.  He entered the game second in strikeouts in the Southern League, with 33 of his 94 strikeouts against the Suns over four games.  Sulbaran had just four strikeouts Monday night  and also walked four batters.
 
The final game of the season between the the Suns and Blue Wahoos is Tuesday night, with the first pitch slated for 8:00 p.m.  RHP Matthew Neil (1-5, 5.72) takes the hill for the Suns.  He has lost his last five decisions.  RHP Wirfin Obispo (1-0, 2.28) is scheduled to make his first start of the season from the Blue Wahoos.

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Biscuits Top Suns; Lee’s Hit Streak Reaches 21

 

Shortstop Hak-Ju Lee set the Montgomery franchise record by extending his hitting streak to 21 games. Lee doubled in the ninth inning in the Biscuits 6-2 win over the Jacksonville Suns to break the record that had stood since 2005. Photo Courtesy: Montgomery Biscuits

By Steve Kolbe

In the start of an important stretch with Jacksonville playing seven straight games against teams ahead of them in the South standings, the Suns fell to the Biscuits 6-2 on Wednesday at the Baseball Grounds.  The Biscuits kept pace with Penasacola for the divsion lead with the win (12-8).
 
Suns starter Graham Taylor was reinstated off the disabled list prior to the game against the Biscuits, and made his first appearance since allowing six runs on 10 hits in five innings in a loss at Montgomery.  Taylor pitched well, throwing 87 pitches and allowing just three singles over the first four innings. 
 
In the fifth, leadoff man Michael Sheridan didn’t waste any time giving the Biscuits a 1-0 lead, swinging at the first pitch from Taylor and clubbing his sixth home run of the season into the right field bleachers.  The Suns fell to 10-35 when allowing the first run of the game.
 
The Biscuits took command of the game in the sixth against Suns reliever Josh Schmidt.  Ty Morrison walked to lead off the inning, and Ryan Garko was grazed in the jersey by a pitch.  With one out, Tyler Bortnick singled to load the bases.  Already with a home run, Sheridan came through in the clutch when he doubled to right field with Morrison and Garko both scoring to increase the Biscuits lead to 3-0.  Sheridan was 1-for-7 with the bases loaded entering the game.  Schmidt retired Brett Nommensen on a grounder back to the pitcher, but with two outs Brad Coon singled to drive in a pair of runs to make the score 5-0.  The Biscuits batted around in the inning, scoring four times on three hits.
 
The Suns scored their only two runs of the night in the home half of the sixth against Montgomery starter Nick Barnese.  Donnie Webb led off with a single to center.  With one out, Jake Smolinski reached on shortstop Hak-Ju Lee’s eighteenth error of the season to put runners on first and second.  Curt Smith followed with a RBI-single to center, driving in Webb to put the Suns on the scoreboard.  Smith has 39 RBI’s this season.  After Ben Lasater singled to load the bases, Montgomery brought in reliever Joe Cruz.  Kyle Jensen dove in his 42nd run of the year with a grounder to first base, with Smolinski scoring on the play to cut the lead to 5-2, but that’s as close as the Suns would get.
 
In the ninth inning, Mark Thomas doubled to deep center and Hak-Ju Lee doubled into the right field corner with Thomas crossing the plate to add to the lead at 6-2.  Lee set the Montgomery team record with his 21st consecutive game with a hit, breaking the team record held by Rico Washington during the 2005 campaign.  In 13 of the 21 games during the streak Lee has had only one hit, and he has waited until his final at-bat four times to extend the streak.  Lee has hit safely against the Suns six times in the 21 games.
 
Suns starter Graham Taylor (4-8) allowed one run on five hits over five innings in the loss.  Nick Barnese (1-0) allowed five hits and two unearned runs to earn the win in just his fourth start.  He missed the first half of the season with after straining his shoulder during spring training.   Adam Liberatore allowed one hit over the final two innings to earn his eighth save of the season.  Three of his eight saves have come against the Suns. 
 
Kyle Jensen went 2-for-4 and his double was the Suns only extra base hit in the game.  Ty Morrison, Tyler Bortnick, and Michael Sheridan each had three hits for Montgomery.  Sheridan drove in three of Biscuits six runs.  Montgomery leads the Southern League in batting (.267).
 
The Biscuits improved to 8-3 against the Suns this season, and have scored at least six runs in six of the eight victories.  Montgomery has won four in a row in the season series going back to June 28th, scoring 29 runs along the way.  With the loss, Jacksonville fell to 2-7 against teams from the South Division in the second half.
 
The capital letters “SR” were inscribed in the dirt behind home plate in honor of Suns Owner Peter Bragan, Sr., who passed away at the age of 89 this past Saturday. 
 
Game two of the series is set for Thursday with the first pitch scheduled for 7:35 p.m. from the Baseball Grounds.  RHP Matthew Neil (1-4, 6.04) will make his tenth start of the season for the Suns.  He has lost his last four decisions.  RHP Alex Colome (4-3, 4.72) gets the call for the Biscuits.
 

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