Tag Archives: Jake Smolinski

BayBears Top Suns 10-8 In Series Finale

 

The Mobile BayBears scored three runs in each of the first three innings, and then hung on for a 10-8 win over the Suns August 12, 2012 at the Baseball Grounds. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

The Mobile BayBears slipped past the Suns 10-8 in a slugfest on Sunday night at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.  After winning the first six games of their 10-game home stand, the Suns dropped three of the final four.  Mobile finished the season with a record of 16-9 against the Suns, and won 10 of the 15 games played in Jacksonville.  The Suns fell to second place in the South Division, one game behind the Biscuits.
 
The BayBears dented the scoreboard in the first inning against Suns starter Jose Alvarez.  Evan Frey led off with his third triple of the season, and Chris Owings followed with a single to put Mobile in front 1-0.  A batter later, Matt Davidson smashed a two-run home run to increase the lead to 3-0.  Davidson is second in the league with 21 home runs.  In the bottom of the inning, Chris Gutierrez reached on an error and scored when Ben Lasater doubled to left field to make the score 3-1.  Lasater finished the series 11-for-14 with four RBI’s.
 
Mobile scored three more runs in the top of the second with one swing of the bat.  Alvarez retired the first two batters of the inning, but then allowed singles by David Holmberg and Evan Frey.  Chris Owings followed with a three-run home run to give the BayBears a 6-1 edge.  Owings entered the game without a hit in his last 18 at bats, he finished 2-for-5 and drove in four runs on Sunday.  The BayBears hit 13 home runs against the Suns during the season.  Alvarez allowed five home run in 109 innings entering the game, he surrendered two long balls in two innings against Mobile.
 
The Suns again scored a run in the home half of the inning, when Kyle Jensen hit a solo home run to make the score 6-2.  Jensen tied Kyle Skipworth for the team lead with 16 round trippers.  Jensen has hit five of his 16 homers against the BayBears this season. 
 
In the third, Mobile sent eight men to the plate and scored three runs for a third straight inning.  Ryan Strieby and David Nick singled, and Brent Clevlen walked to load the bases.  Alvarez walked Ed Easley to force in a run, David Holmberg had a RBI single, and Evan Frey drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.  The BayBears had built a 9-2 lead and forced Alvarez from the game by the end of the inning.  Alvarez had allowed just six runs in his previous 29 innings of work before Sunday. 
 
Zack Cox connected for his first home run with the Suns, a three-run home run in the bottom of the third to cut the lead to 9-5.  Cox hit nine home runs with the Memphis Redbirds this season before being acquired by Miami from St. Louis.  He has 10 RBI’s in his first seven games with the Suns.
 
The teams went scoreless from the fourth until the eighth inning, when Matt Davidson drove in his third run of the game with a double, with Alfredo Marte scoring on the play to give the BayBears what appeared to be a comfortable 10-5 lead.  Mobile scored at least five runs in the final four games of the series.  It’s the first time this season that the BayBears have tallied five or more in four consecutive games.
 
The Suns didn’t go away quietly.  In the bottom of the ninth, a walk to Kyle Skipworth and singles by both Paul Gran and Jake Smolinski loaded the bases.  With two outs, Chris Gutierrez hit a fly ball deep to left-center field, just missing a grand slam with the ball bouncing off the top of the wall for a bases-clearing double, and the Suns trailed 10-8.  Eury De La Rosa entered the game and enticed Danny Pertusati to ground out to end the game.
 
Zach Cox went 2-for-4 with a three run home run.  Chris Gutierrez also drove in three runs with his ninth inning double.   The BayBears collected 15 hits in the game, just one shy of the most in a game this season against the Suns. 
 
Evan Frey and Matt Davidson each had three hits on the night for the BayBears.  Chris Owings went 2-for-5 with four RBI’s.  The BayBears had at least one baserunner in every inning except the ninth, every player in the  lineup reached base at least once during the night, and every BayBears player scored at least one run with exception of Ed Easley.  The BayBears won four of the five series against the Suns during the season.
 
After pitching complete games in each of his last two starts, Jose Alvarez (5-7) allowed nine runs on nine hits in a season-low two and a-third innings in the loss.  Alvarez had allowed just six runs in his last five starts at the Baseball Grounds.  David Holmberg (4-4) surrendered five runs on five hits over six innings for the win.  Eury De La Rosa earned the save for the second straight night.
 
The Suns begin a five-game series against the first place Chattanooga Lookouts at AT&T Field on Tuesday, night with the first pitch scheduled for 7:15 p.m.  RHP Matthew Neil will start for the Suns.  RHP Matt Magill takes the mound for the Lookouts. 
 
 

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Pertusati Paces Suns In 11-5 Win

 

The top four in the Suns batting order drove in every run, and Jacksonville collected 13 hits against Mobile pitching in an 11-5 win over the BayBears at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville August 10, 2012. Photo Courtesy: Mobile BayBears

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns scored eight unanswered runs in an 11-5 win over the Mobile BayBears on Friday afternoon at the Baseball Grounds.  The Suns have won two of the first three games of the series, and improved to 18-10 at home in the second half of the season.
 
Danny Pertusati gave the Suns a 2-0 lead in the first inning with a two-run home run off of BayBears starter Brett Lorin.  The Suns improved to 46-18 when scoring the first run of the game.  Mobile took the lead 3-2 in the top half of the second with a two-out rally, with Brett Lorin driving in two of the runs with a single to center and Wladimir Sutil driving in another with his 14th double of the season.  The Suns tied game 3-3 in the bottom of the second, when Alfredo Lopez walked and scored on Jake Smolinski’s single up the middle. 
 
Mobile took a 5-3 advantage in the top of the third, but that would be all the offense the BayBears could generate.  The Suns scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth to take the lead 6-5.  Pertusati provided the big hit with a two-run triple.  Jacksonville tacked on another run in the sixth inning to make the score 7-5, and put the game away with a four-run eighth inning for the 11-5 final.  The Suns have scored 10 or more runs in a game eight times this season and twice in the last dozen games
 
Danny Pertusati went 3-for-4 with two home runs and five RBI’s, one shy of Kyle Skipworth’s season-high of six RBI’s May 26th at Chattanooga.   Pertusati has hit all four of his home runs against the BayBears.  Ben Lasater finished 4-for-5 with a RBI.  Zach Cox drove in three runs, and Jake Smolinski reached base three times and scored twice.  The top four players in the Suns batting order combined to go 10-for-15 with 10 RBI’s and seven runs scored.  After collecting 12 singles in the first two games, the Suns finished with five extra-base hits in the game (2 doubles, 2 home runs, and a triple).
 
Bryan Evans (5-6) allowed five runs on five hits over five innings to win his third straight decision.  Brett Lorin (3-8) surrendered six runs on eight hits in four innings to drop his third straight game.
 
Game four of the series is Saturday night with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.  LHP Brian Flynn (2-0, 4.08) will take the mound for the Suns in search of his third straight win.  RHP Chase Anderson (3-3, 2.62) gets the call for the BayBears. 
 

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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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Suns Win Fourth Straight Over Biscuits; Tie For Division Lead

Jake Smolinski(above left)and Curt Smith (above right)combined to go 5-for-6 with five RBI’s and five runs scored in the Suns 11-7 win over the Montgomery Biscuits August 6, 2012 at the Baseball Grounds. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

 
The Jacksonville Suns moved into a tie for first place in the South Division of the Southern League, collecting a season-high 15 hits in an 11-7 win over the Montgomery Biscuits on Monday night at the Baseball Grounds.  The Suns began the five game series trailing the Biscuits by four games in the standings. 
 
The Biscuits took the lead in the top of the third inning against Suns starter Brian Flynn.  Mark Thomas legged out an infield single to start the inning and went to second on a pass ball.  With one out, Hak-Ju Lee singled to left field with Thomas scoring from second to put Montgomery in front 1-0.  The Biscuits scored the first run for the second straight game, with Lee providing the RBI both times.  After a single by Ty Morrison put runners on first and third, Mikie Mahtook plated Lee from third with a ground out and the Biscuits were up 2-0. 
 
The Suns evened the score 2-2 in the home half of the third against Biscuits starter Matt Buschmann.  Donnie Webb walked to set up Jake Smolinski, who hit a two-run home run to left-center.  Smolinski entered the season with seven career home runs.  He has hit all five of his homers this season in the last 44 games. 
 
The two teams traded runs in the fourth inning.  Michael Sheridan drove in a run with a RBI double for the Biscuits in the top half of the inning, and Curt Smith countered with a solo home run for the Suns in the home half.  Smith has hit nine home runs this season, with two of them in his last three games in the starting lineup.  The Suns have belted at least two home runs in five of the last nine games, and now have a total of 82 round trippers on the season.
 
Jacksonville batted around in the fifth, scoring five times on four hits to break the game open.  Chris Gutierrez and Zach Cox each drove in a run with a single to give the Suns a 5-3 lead.  Curt Smith plated two more runs with a double, with both Gutierrez and Cox crossing the plate to increase the advantage to 7-3.  An error by third baseman Greg Sexton on a ground ball by Paul Gran then allowed Smith to score for an 8-3 Suns edge.
 
In the sixth inning, after singles by Jake Jefferies and Jake Smolinski, Zach Cox hit a fly ball with left fielder Shawn O’Malley unable to make the catch by the foul line,  going head-over-heels onto the lawn in foul ground, with the ball falling to the ground.  The triple drove in both Smolinski and Jefferies to give the Suns a comfortable 10-3 lead.
 
The Suns and Biscuits again traded runs in the seventh inning.  After the Biscuits loaded the bases on three straight singles against Suns reliever Rett Varner, Ty Morrison drove in his 32nd run of the season for Montgomery with a ground out to cut the lead to 10-4.  Donnie Webb got the run back for the Suns with a double in the home half of the inning, with Paul Gran scoring to make it 11-4 Jacksonville.
 
With Jordan Conley on in relief, the Biscuits made it interesting in the eighth.  Greg Sexton hit a solo home run and Derek Dietrich smashed a two-run home run to cut the Suns lead to 11-7.  After a double by Mark Thomas, left fielder Shawn O’Malley hit a ball deep to right field, with Suns right fielder Danny Pertusati leaping up at the wall to commit highway robbery and deny O’Malley the home run.  A.J. Ramos entered the game to record the final out of the eighth inning, and also pitched the ninth.
 
The Suns and Biscuits combined for 29 hits in the game.  17 of the 18 hitters  in the game with the exception of Suns catcher Kyle Skipworth (0-for-5) had at least one hit.  The top four batters in the Suns lineup combined to finish 8-for-16 with nine RBI’s and seven runs scored.  Eight players in the lineup had at least one of the Suns season-high 15 hits.  Curt Smith went 3-for-4 with three RBI’s.  Jake Smolinski, Chris Gutierrez, Paul Gran, and Jake Jefferies each had two hits.  In his Suns debut, Zach Cox was 2-for-5 with a triple, three RBI’s, and a run scored.  Every player in the Biscuits lineup had at least one hit.  Mark Thomas, Greg Sexton, Omar Luna, and Michael Sheridan each had a multi-hit game for the Biscuits.  Jacksonville has outscored Montgomery 21-8 in the series.
 
Brian Flynn (2-0) allowed three runs on six hits to win his second straight start.  Flynn, a 6-8 left hander, was acquired by the Marlins from the Tigers just before the trade deadline last week.  Matt Buschmann (5-7) surrendered eight runs on eight hits in the loss.  He shutout the Suns 1-0 on May 11th, allowing just one hit over six innings.
 
The Suns have won seven straight games at the Baseball grounds, outscoring opponents 41-21.  It’s the longest home winning streak for the Suns since May 2-14, 2010, when they also won seven in a row.
 
The Suns look to take sole possession of first place with a win on Tuesday.  Jacksonville hasn’t been alone at the top of the division since May 4th in the first half of the season.  The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. from the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.  LHP Jose Alvarez (4-6, 3.74) takes the mound for the Suns.  RHP Nick Barnese (2-0, 4.30) will try to avoid the sweep for the Biscuits. 

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Suns Win Third Straight Over Biscuits; One Game Out

Bryan Evans(above)was sharp in the Suns 7-1 win over the Montgomery Biscuits. He allowed just one run, and tied his season high with eight strikeouts. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

 By Steve Kolbe

The Suns won for the sixth straight time at the Baseball Grounds, pulling to within one game of first place in the South Division, with a 7-1 win over the Montgomery Biscuits on Sunday night.  The Suns began the series four games off the pace in the division.  
 
The Biscuits snapped a 21-inning scoreless streak when Hak-Ju Lee hit a home run off of Suns starter Bryan Evans on the first pitch of the game.  It’s the only run of the series for Montgomery, with the Suns outscoring the Biscuits 10-1 in the first three games.  The Biscuits have been held to 14 hits, with only two for extra bases.
 
The Suns took the lead in the home half of the first off of Biscuits starter Jake Thompson.  Jake Smolinski led off with a double, and went to third on a single by Chris Gutierrez.  Paul Gran then drove in the first run of the night with a sacrifice fly, with Smolinski coasting home to tie the game 1-1.  After Kyle Skipworth reached on an error by first baseman Michael Sheridan, Curt Smith drove in Gutierrez with a RBI single to put the Suns in front to stay 2-1. 
 
In the second inning, Gutierrez walked with two outs and scored all the way from first on Paul Gran’s fourth triple of the season to straight-away center field to make the score 3-1.  Jacksonville has outscored opponents 118-78 in the first two innings this season.
 
The first four batters for the Suns reached base in the fifth with Jacksonville adding to the lead.  The big hit came off the bat of Kyle Skipworth, who homered to right-center field for the second straight night for his 16th round tripper of the season to make the score 4-1.  Skipworth has hit nine of the Suns last 18 homers.  Taylor Krick drove in a run with a groundout, and Donnie Webb plated a run with a sacrifice fly and the Suns were up 6-1.
 
Jacksonville tacked on one more in the eighth inning.  With runners on first and third, Gutierrez drove a run with a ground out to put the Suns up 7-1.  The Suns improved to 14-13 against the South Division in the second half with the win.
 
Eight of the nine Suns hitters in the game either drove in or scored at least one run.  Chris Gutierrez went 1-for-4 to extend his hit streak to six games and scored twice.  Jake Smolinski finished 2-for-4 for his 20th multi-hit game of the season.
 
The Suns have won eight of their last 11 games, and allowed three runs or fewer eight times.  Jacksonville pitchers have given up just two runs and 19 hits over the last four games.  On the 19 hits, only three have been for extra bases (one HR, two doubles).
 
Bryan Evans (4-6) allowed one run on three hits in 5.1 innings of work for the win.  He tied his season-high with eight strikeouts.  Evans is now 2-3 at the Baseball Grounds.  Jake Thompson (7-10) surrendered six runs on seven hits and lost his fourth straight game. 
 
The Suns can tie the Biscuits for first place with a win Monday night.  Jacksonville hasn’t won four games in a row since April, and the Biscuits haven’t lost four straight since April.
 
 The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. from the Baseball Grounds.  LHP Brian Flynn (1-0, 3.86) will start his third game for the Suns.  RHP Matt Buschmann (5-6, 4.00) gets the call for the Biscuits.
 
 
 

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Suns Split Marathon Doubleheader With BayBears

 

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

By Steve Kolbe

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

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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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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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Suns Walk To 6-4 Win Over Smokies

The Jackonville Suns walked eight times, including five times in the seventh inning, in a 6-4 win over the Smokies. Four of the Suns runs in the game were scored by batters who were issued a base on balls. Photo Courtesy: Tennessee Smokies

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns used a combination of power and patience at the plate to even their series against the Tennessee Smokies, with a 6-4 win at the Baseball Grounds on Friday night.  The Suns improved to 10-9 at home in the second half of the season. 

Donnie Webb gave the Suns a 1-0 lead in the second inning, when he launched a solo home run over the right-center field fence off of Smokies starting pitcher Ty’Relle Harris.  Webb has hit three of his seven home runs this season against Tennessee pitching, with all three of the round trippers at the Baseball Grounds.  Kyle Skipworth and Donnie Webb have accounted for the last seven Suns homers in the last 10 games. 

The Suns added another run in the second when Jose Alvarez walked and Danny Pertusati singled to put runners on first and second.  Chris Gutierrez then singled to center to drive in Alvarez to increase the lead to 2-0.  Suns pitchers have now scored nine runs this season. 

Jacksonville doubled the lead in the third inning.  Kyle Skipworth singled and went to second on a wild pitch, and that was followed by a walk to Donnie Webb.  With two outs, Suns second baseman Alfredo Lopez hit a ground ball to Justin Bour at first, with Skipworth scoring to make the score 3-0.  With the bases loaded, Danny Pertusati was hit by a pitch forcing in Webb for a 4-0 Suns advantage. 

The Smokies scored twice in the fourth to cut the lead to 4-2.  Junior Lake drove in a run with a double, and Juan Apodaca plated a run with a sacrifice fly.  Lake has nine hits in the series, including three home runs and four doubles.  He has driven in nine runs and scored six times.

Tennessee inched closer in the seventh when Greg Rohan hit a towering solo home run to left field off of Alvarez, and the Suns lead was 4-3.  Rohan has hit three of the Smokies nine home runs in the series. 

In the home half of the seventh, Smokies relievers Zach Rosscup and Kevin Rhoderick combined to walk five Suns batters, with Josh Schmidt and Alfredo Lopez each forcing in a run with a base on balls to make the score 6-3.  The Suns sent eight men to the plate and scored two runs in the inning without the benefit of a hit.  The Smokies added a run in the eighth when Lake drove in his second run of the night and the score was 6-4 Suns, but that’s as close as Tennessee would get.  The Suns have won six of their last nine home games.  

Chris Gutierrez was the only Suns player with two hits in the game.  Alfredo Lopez went 0-for-3 but drove in two runs in his Double-A debut.  Jose Alvarez reached base twice and scored a run.  Josh Schmidt walked to drive in a run in the seventh inning.  He has two of the Suns RBI’s by pitchers this season.

Greg Rohan, Juan Apodaca, and Junior Lake each collected two hits for the Smokies.  Lake has hit safely in 11 straight games and is 9-for-19 over the last four games.  Rohan has hit three home runs in the series against the Suns.

Jose Alvarez (4-5) allowed three runs on six hits in his six innings of work.  Two of his four wins this season have been against the Smokies, and Alvarez has given up just three runs in 14 innings in those outings.  A.J. Ramos pitched the ninth for his 15th save of the season.  Ramos has earned a save in nine of the Suns last 12 victories.  Five of his 15 saves this season have been against Tennessee.

The Suns will look to win the series Saturday with the first pitch slated for 6:05 p.m. from the Baseball Grounds.  After earning Southern League Pitcher of the Week honors, lefty Graham Taylor (5-8, 4.23) will take the hill for Jacksonville.  RHP Nick Struck (11-9, 3.52) will start his 22nd game of the season for Tennessee.  Struck leads the league in wins (11) and starts (21), and ranks 7th in ERA (3.52).  He is 0-4 against the Jackson Generals and 11-5 against the rest of the league.

   

 

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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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