Tag Archives: Jake Jefferies

Suns Big Inning Dooms Generals

 

Right fielder Kyle Jensen(above right)belted his 24th home run of the season and drove in four runs to lead the Suns past the Jackson Generals 10-9 at Pringles Park.

Right fielder Kyle Jensen(above right)belted his 24th home run of the season and drove in four runs to lead the Suns past the Jackson Generals 10-9 at Pringles Park.

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns exploded for a season-high nine runs in the fourth inning, and then held on for a 10-9 win over the Generals on Sunday afternoon at Pringles Park in Jackson, Tennessee.  The Suns snapped a four-game losing streak, and prevented the Generals from winning their 80th game of the season.
 
After allowing the first run of the night in each of the first three games, the Generals scored a run in each of the first three innings against Suns starter Bryan Evans.  In the first inning, Bran Miller hit his first triple of the season, and scored on Chih-Hsien Chiang’s sacrifice fly to put the Generals up 1-0.  Jackson increased the lead to 2-0 in the second inning when Johermyn Chavez doubled and scored on a Denny Almonte RBI-single.  The Generals added another run in the third inning when Nate Tenbrink hit his fifth home run of the season, a solo blast to right field to make the score 3-0.
 
Generals starting pitcher Taijuan Walker breezed through the first three innings, striking out seven of the first 10 batters he faced in the game.  The Suns solved Walker in the fourth with their biggest inning of the season, sending 14 men to the plate and scoring nine times.  After Danny Pertusati walked and Aaron Dudley reached on an error, Kyle Jensen tied the game 3-3 with the Suns first hit of the afternoon when he belted a three-run home over the right field wall.  Seven of Jensen’s 24 home runs this season have been three-run homers.
 
With one out Paul Gran was hit by a pitch for a league-leading 19th time, and Jake Jefferies followed with his second home run of the season to give the Suns a 5-3 edge.  It was his first home run since May 15th at Montgomery.  The Suns first two hits in the game on Sunday afternoon were both home runs.
 
After Jose Duarte singled and went all the way to third on a throwing error by Taijuan Walker, Alfredo Lopez singled with Duarte crossing the plate to add to the lead at 6-3.  When Donnie Webb singled to put runners on the corners to continue the rally, the Generals would make the call to the bullpen and summoned Jose Jimenez.  Danny Pertusati promptly greeted the new Generals pitcher by singling to right, driving in Lopez from third base for a 7-3 advantage.  Dudley then reached base for the second time in the inning with a walk to load the bases.  Kyle Jensen delivered a run with a single, and Kyle Skipworth drove in another with a ground out and the Suns had scored a season-high nine runs in the inning to build a commanding 9-3 lead.  Joe Dunigan went deep for the 25th time this season in the home half of the fourth inning and it was 9-4.
 
Kyle Skipworth provided the Suns with a huge run in the top of the seventh when he smashed his 21st homer run of the season, a solo blast to right field to make the score 10-4.  The Suns have hit three home runs in a game five times this season, all in the second half.
 
The Generals scored five runs in the final three innings of the game against three different Suns relievers.  Brad Miller hit a solo home run in the seventh inning off of Sandy Rosario to cut the Suns lead to 10-5.
In the eighth inning the Generals cut the lead to 10-8 when Denny Almonte hit a three-run home run off of Bobby Bramhall.  It was Almonte’s 12th round tripper of the season.
 
The Suns turned the game over to Arquimedes Caminero for the ninth, and Nate Thomson led off with a double and he scored to make it a one run game at 10-9 when Chih-Hsien Chiang singled to center field.  After some tense moments, Caminero retired both Mike Zunino and Joe Dunigan on ground outs to end the game. 
 
Kyle Jensen went 2-for-5 with a home run and four RBI.  He’s third in the league with 24 homers and 83 runs batted in.  Kyle Skipworth and Jake Jefferies each hit the long ball and drove in a pair of runs.  Every player in the Suns lineup scored at least one, with Danny Pertusati crossing the plate twice.

Denny Almonte finished 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBI.  Nate Tenbrink, Brad Miller, and Johermyn Chavez each collected two hits and scored two runs.  Miller ranks second among all Minor League players with 191 hits this season.  The Suns and Generals combined for seven home runs in the game.  The Generals lead the league with 117 round trippers, and have 15 multi-homer games in the last 47 contests.

Bryan Evans (7-8) allowed four runs on seven hits over 6.0 innings to win his final start of the season.  Evans finished strong, winning four of his last six starts.  He was 3-4 at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, and 4-4 on the road this year.  Arquimedes Caminero pitched the ninth to earn his second save with the Suns.  Taijuan Walker (7-10) surrendered seven runs on eight hits over 3.1 innings in the loss, including home runs by Jake Jefferies and Kyle Jensen.  Walker has allowed at least one home run in each of his last five starts.

The Suns are set to play their final game of the 2012 campaign Monday afternoon against the Generals at Pringles Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 3:05 PM.  LHP Brian Flynn (2-0, 3.92) will take the mound for the Suns in the season finale.  Jacksonville finished last season with a record of 70-70, and a win on Monday would give the Suns a .500 record for the second straight season.

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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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Suns Drop Season-High Seventh Straight

 

First baseman Luis Nunez(above)drove in a pair of runs to lead the Lookouts past the Suns 3-2 at AT&T Field in Chattanooga August 18, 2012. The Lookouts completed the five-game sweep, outscoring the Suns 24-13. Photo Courtesy: Chattanooga Lookouts

By Steve Kolbe

The Suns were swept in a series for the first time this season, falling 3-2 to the Lookouts on Saturday night at AT&T Field in Chattanooga.  The Lookouts won 12 of the 15 games against the Suns during the season.
 
The Suns took the lead in the sixth inning when Jake Jefferies walked with the bases loaded to force in a run and put Jacksonville up 1-0.  Danny Pertusati then grounded into a double play, with Ben Lasater scoring from third base to increase the lead to 2-0.
 
Jose Alvarez allowed just three hits in the first six innings.  The Lookouts collected four hits in the seventh and scored three times to jump in front 3-2.  Luis Nunez provided the big hit with a two-run home run.
 
The Suns loaded the bases in the top of the ninth with no outs, but were unable to score against reliever Steven Rodriguez.  Kyle Skipworth and Chris Gutierrez struck out, and Zack Cox grounded out to end the game.  The Suns have lost a season-high seven straight games.
 
Jacksonville opens a five-game series against the Birmingham Barons on Sunday at the Baseball Grounds, with the first pitch scheduled for 6:05 PM.

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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 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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BayBears Rally To Down Suns

 

Kyle Greene belted a pinch-hit grand slam in the eighth inning for his first home run of the season to lead the BayBears past the Suns 9-3 at Hank Aaron Stadium in Mobile, Alabama. Photo Courtesy: Mobile BayBears

By Steve Kolbe

The Mobile BayBears scored nine unanswered runs to defeat the Jacksonville Suns  9-3 on Sunday night at Hank Aaron Stadium.  The BayBears erased a 3-0 deficit to snap a season-high seven game losing streak, and in the process ended the Suns three-game winning streak.  Jacksonville hasn’t won four straight games in three months (April 4th through May 2nd). 
 
Jacksonville took the lead in the second inning against BayBears starter Mike Bolsinger, when Kyle Jensen smashed a towering solo home run to left field to put the Suns up 1-0.  According to Hank Aaron Stadium staff, the home run was the longest hit at “The Hank” this season.  Jensen leads the Suns with 13 round trippers this season. 
 
In the top of the third inning,  after Suns pitcher Matthew Neil drew a walk,  Jake Smolinski hit a two-run home run to increase the lead to 3-0.   Smolinski has hit all three of his home runs in the second half of the season.  Smolinski’a blast ended a stretch in which 10 straight Suns homers had been hit by the trio of Kyle Skipworth, Kyle Jensen, and Donnie Webb.
 
The BayBears put a run on the board in the home half of the third, when Chris Owings connected for a solo home run off of Matthew Neil to cut the Suns lead to 3-1.  Neil tossed six innings allowing just that one run, and was in line for the win to snap his personal six-game losing streak when  the game was put in the hands of the Suns bullpen.
 
Reliever Jordan Conley entered the game for the bottom seventh with a two-run lead, and allowed the first four BayBears batters to reach base.  Ryan Strieby led off with a double, and what followed changed the course of the game.  David Nick hit what appeared to be a routine grounder to second, but the ball took a bad hop and veered severely to the right away from second baseman Alfredo Lopez, with Nick safe with an infield single.    Conley then committed a balk to move the runners to second and third with no outs.  Rossmel Perez singled to drive in Strieby to cut the lead to 3-2, and Dan Kaczrowski followed with a RBI single with Nick crossing the plate to even the score 3-3.  
 
Bobby Bramhall took over for Conley on the mound, and Vladimir Sutil promptly drove in the go-ahead run with a ground out to give the BayBears the lead 4-3.  With Mobile attempting a double-steal, a throwing error by catcher Jake Jefferies allowed a run to score and the BayBears had tacked on another for a 5-3 advantage.  The Suns have blown a three-run leads in a loss just twice this season, both times on the road (May 23rd at Chattanooga and July 29th at Mobile).   
 
In the bottom of the eighth inning  Matt Davidson doubled, Ryan Strieby was hit by a pitch, and David Nick scratched out an infield single to load the bases with no outs.  Bramhall retired the next two batters he faced, but pinch hitter Kyle Greene didn’t allow the Suns to escape the inning, connecting for a two-out grand slam to make the score 9-3.  It was Greene’s first round tripper of the season, and the BayBears fourth grand slam. 
 
After not allowing a grand slam in the first 104 games of the season, the Suns have been nicked for a grand slam in two straight games.  The Baybears won for just the fifth time when trailing after the sixth inning (5-38), while the Suns lost for just the fourth time when leading after six (36-4).
 
The nine runs are the most that the BayBears have scored against the Suns in a game this season.  Mobile has won 11 of 16 games in the season series.  After winning three of the first five games of the year against the BayBears, the Suns have lost 10 of the last 12 meetings.  The Suns are 30-35 against their rivals from the South Division, 9-11 in the second half. 
 
Jake Smolinski, Paul Gran, and Danny Pertusati each finished with two hits for the Suns.  Pitcher Matthew Neil reached base on an error and scored a run.  A Suns starter has reached base in five straight games, and scored a run in three straight.  Every player in the starting lineup for the BayBears had at least one of the 12 hits with Chris Owings, David Nick, and Rossmel Perez each with two. 
 
Neither starter figured in the decision on Sunday night.  Matthew Neil held Mobile to one run on five hits in his six innings of work.  He struck out six without walking a batter.  It’s been a tale of two different season’s for Neil.  He began the year with seven straight wins (6-0 with Jupiter), including a victory in his first Double-A start with the Suns June 6th against Pensacola.  Since June 11th, has made nine starts, and lost six straight decisions.  Jordan Conley (1-3) allowed four runs on four hits in the loss, and didn’t record an out.
 
Mike Bolsinger allowed three runs on five hits over six innings in his ninth start of the season.   Eric Smith (2-0) pitched the seventh inning for Mobile to earn the win.
 
Game two of the series is Monday with the first pitch scheduled for 8:05 p.m. from Hank Aaron Stadium.  RHP Bryan Evans (3-6, 4.15) will start for the Suns.  RHP Brett Lorin (3-6, 4.73) will take the mound for the BayBears.
     

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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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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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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Suns Single Their Way Past Stars

 

The Suns beat the Stars 3-1 at Joe Davis Stadium in game one of a three-game series. Jacksonville finished with six hits, all singles. Photo Courtesy: Huntsville Stars

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns avoided being swept in a series for the first time this season, with a 3-1 win over the Huntsville Stars Monday night at Joe Davis Stadium.  The season series between the two teams ends with each side winning four of the eight games.
 
The Stars scored their lone run in the third inning against starter Zach Neal.  Josh Prince hit an infield single and took second on a throwing error by third baseman Curt Smith.  When Prince attempted to steal third, Neal’s throw went past Smith with Prince scoring on the Suns second error of the inning.
 
Huntsville starter Hiram Burgos retired the first 12 Suns batters of the game until Curt Smith singled in the fifth inning. 
 
Jake Jefferies led off the sixth inning with a walk, and went to second when Donnie Webb reached on an error.  After a ground out by Jose Duarte moved the runners over a base, Paul Gran drove in Jefferies with a sacrifice fly to tie the game 1-1.  Gran drove in three runs in the three game series.
 
The Suns took a 2-1 lead in the eighth when Kyle Jensen led off with a walk, and pinch hitter Shawn Bowman drove him in with a single to right.  Bowman had at least one hit in all three games against the Stars.
 
 Jacksonville added an insurance run in the ninth.  Jeff Dominguez reached on an error by third baseman T.L. Mittelstaedt, and Jensen drove him in with a RBI single to make the score 3-1.  The win improved the Suns record to 10-33 when they allow the first run of the game. 
 
The Suns had the leadoff man in an inning reach base three times in the last three innings, and all three times he came around to score.  The Suns scored all three of their runs in the game with two outs.  Jacksonville won for just the third time in the last nine road games. 
 
Curt Smith, Kyle Jensen, and Shawn Bowman each had a single in the game.  Jensen and Bowman drove in a run and are tied for the team lead with 42 RBI’s.  Hunter Morris went 2-for-4 on Monday, and in the series finished with three home runs, two triples, five RBI’s, and scored four runs.  Morris leads the Southern League in hits (104), RBI’s (67), doubles (27), and extra-base hits (46).  He’s second in the league in batting average (.314) behind Jackson’s Nick Franklin.
 
In his second straight solid outing, Suns starter Zach Neal allowed five hits and one unearned run over five innings.  Jordan Conley (1-1) allowed one hit in his two innings of work for the win.  A.J. Ramos again showed why he’s the most dominant closer in the league, breezing through the final two innings for his ninth save of the season.  Ramos earned the save in all three of the Suns wins on the road trip.
 
The Suns begin a three game series against the Montgomery Biscuits on Wednesday with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.

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Biscuits Stay Hot With Win Over Suns

Ty Morrison finished a single shy of the cycle, drove in three runs and scored four others in the Biscuits 8-6 win over the Jacksonville Suns on June 29, 2012 at Riverwalk Stadium. Photo Courtesy: Montgomery Biscuits

By Steve Kolbe

 
The Jacksonville Suns scored three runs in the first inning, but the Montgomery Biscuits tied their season high with 14 hits on the way to an 8-6 win at Riverwalk Stadium on Friday night.  The Biscuits have reached double-digit hits in all four games of the series, and have out hit the Suns by a total 49-35.
 
The Suns started quickly when Biscuits starter Joe Cruz struggled with his control, allowing the first four batters to reach base in the opening inning.  Donnie Webb walked on four pitches, Chris Guierrez singled, and Jake Smolinski walked to load the bases before Cruz recorded an out.  Kyle Jensen drew a walk on four straight pitches, forcing in Webb to put the Suns up 1-0.  Jensen increased his team-leading RBI total to 38, with 10 of them coming with the bases loaded.  Kyle Skipworth knocked in Gutierrez from third with a ground out to the right side to make the score 2-0.  After Paul Gran popped out, Jake Jefferies hit a ground ball to first baseman Michael Sheridan that went under his glove and into right field, with Smolinski scoring on the error to build the Suns lead to 3-0.  The Suns have scored first in all four games of the series but have just one win.
 
Montgomery countered in the bottom of the first against Suns starter Graham Taylor.  Leadoff man Hak-Ju Lee singled to center on a two strike pitch and Ty Morrison doubled down the third base line, also on a two strike pitch, to put runners on second and third with no outs.  Ryan Garko drove in Lee from third with a sacrifice fly, and Tyler Bortnick plated Morrison with a single up the middle and the Suns lead was cut to 3-2.  Hak-Ju Lee has had a lead off hit in all four games in the series for the Biscuits.
 
Cruz entered the game with the second-most walks in the league, and struggled to find the plate again in the second when he walked Jeff Dominguez and Donnie Web.  Cruz then threw a wild pitch, and catcher Mark Thomas added to the trouble when his throw to third base went into left field, with Dominguez scoring to increase the Suns advantage to 4-2.  In the first two innings, Jacksonville scored four runs on just one hit, five walks, a wild pitch, and an error.
 
The Biscuits began their comeback in the third inning when Ty Morrison led off with a walk and Omar Luna doubled down the third base line, with Morrison motoring all the way around from first to cut the lead to 4-3. 
 
In the fourth inning, Montgomery took the lead for good by scoring three runs on four hits against Taylor, all with two outs.  Brett Nommensen singled and went to second on a ground out.  Hak-Ju Lee then drove in Nommensen with a single to right field to tie the game 4-4.  Ty Morrison continued his big night when he hit a two-run home run over the right field fence to give Montgomery a 6-4 edge.  It was Morrison’s second round tripper of the season, and the Biscuits third home run in the last three games.
 
With Suns reliever Alan Oaks on the mound in the sixth the Biscuits scored two important runs, again with two outs.  Lee singled and scored when Morrison tripled into the gap in left-center and it was 7-4 Biscuits.  Omar Luna came through with a two-out single, with Morrison coasting across the plate to make the score 8-4.  Montgomery has rallied to tie or take the lead after falling behind in all four games in this series.
 
With Biscuits closer Adam Liberatore on the hill in the ninth, Paul Gran singled and Curt Smith hit a two-run home run to make it 8-6, but that’s as close as the Suns would get.  Smith has hit three home runs in his last five games.  The Suns as a team have hit 14 round trippers in the last 13 games.
 
Montgomery has won five of the last six games, while the Suns have dropped seven of their last 11 contests.  Friday night’s not alright, with Jacksonville just 3-10 in games played on Friday.
 
Curt Smith finished 3-for-5 with two RBI and Jake Smolinski was 2-for-4.  The Suns finished with seven hits, six of them singles, and until the ninth didn’t have more than one hit in any of the first eight innings of the game.  The Suns tied their season high by walking 10 times, with Donnie Webb and Kyle Jensen each issued three free passes. 

The top three batters in the Biscuits lineup combined for nine of the 14 hits on the night.  Hak-Ju Lee, Ty Morrison, and Omar Luna each finished with three hits apiece.   Lee extended his hit streak to 10 games.  Morrison had a double, triple, and a home run to finish a single away from the cycle.  Morrison accounted for seven of the Biscuits eight runs, scoring four times and driving in three others.  Tyler Bortnick singled in the first inning to extend his hit streak to 15 games, one away from tying for the longest streak in the Southern League this season (Chris Gutierrez and Henry Rodriguez).  Every player except left fielder Kyeong Kang    (0-for-4) reached base at least once in the game for Montgomery. 

Graham Taylor (4-7) allowed six runs on 10 hits over five innings and has lost three of his last four decisions.  Montgomery had been tough on lefties, with a record of 17-7 against southpaws this season.  Taylor fell to 1-4 in eight road starts this season, with his lone win April 23 at Mobile.  Friday’s game was the fourth time this season that Taylor has surrendered six or more runs in an outing.  Biscuits starter Joe Cruz (6-6) allowed four runs on four hits and earned the win despite walking seven batters in five innings.  Cruz improved to 4-1 at home, and has won four straight decisions overall after winning just twice in his first 10 starts of the season.

The series finale is Saturday night from Riverwalk Stadium with the first pitch set for 8:05 p.m.  RHP Matthew Neil (1-2, 5.05) gets the nod for the Suns.  RHP Nick Barnese (0-0, 4.50) will make his second start of the season for the Biscuits. 

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