Tag Archives: Jake Smolinski

Suns Edge Braves

Jose Alvarez(above)allowed just two runs on eight hits in the Suns 3-2 win over the Mississippi Braves to earn his first win in a month. He went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles, and also stole a base. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns built a 3-0 lead over the Mississippi Braves, and hung on for a 3-2 victory on Saturday at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.  The Suns have won six of the last eight games. 
 
The Suns figured out Braves starter Gary Moran in the fourth inning.  Jake Smolinski and Chris Gutierrez both singled, and went to second and third on a ground out by Jeff Dominguez.  Kyle Jensen then drove in the first run of the night with a ground out to put the Suns up 1-0.  Jensen leads the Suns with 47 runs batted in.  With their second one-run win in the series, the Suns improved to 17-18 in games decided by a single digit.
 
In the sixth inning Chris Gutierrez was hit by a pitch, Jeff Dominguez singled, and Kyle Jensen singled to load the bases with no outs.  Ben Lasater then jumped on the first offering from Moran, driving in two runs with a single, with both Gutierrez and Dominguez scoring to increase the lead to 3-0.
 
The Braves managed just five hits in the first seven innings against Alvarez, and didn’t have more than one hit in any inning until the eighth.  Todd Cunningham bunted his way on, and Jaime Pedroza doubled behind him to put runners on second and third with one out.  After Joe Terdoslavich popped up, Tim Smith delivered a two-out single with both Cunningham and Pedroza scoring to cut the Suns lead to 3-2.  Josh Schmidt entered the game and struck out Joe Leonard to end the inning.  In a twist from the first two games of the series, Suns reliever Jon Link made sure that there wouldn’t be a ninth inning comeback in this one.

Suns manager Andy Barkett was ejected in the sixth inning after arguing a play at the plate, when Kyle Jensen was called out at home after Braves catcher Matt Kennelly made a sweeping tag.  It was the fifth time that Barkett has been thrown out this season, by five different umpiring crews. 

Jake Smolinski finished 2-for-4 and scored a run for the Suns.  Jose Alvarez went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles and stole a base.  Alvarez and Graham Taylor are the only Suns pitchers with two hits in a game this season.  Chris Gutierrez extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a third inning single.  Ben Lasater drove in two of the Suns three runs.  Joe Terdoslavich collected three of the Braves eight hits in the game.
 
Suns starter Jose Alvarez (3-5) allowed two runs on eight hits to record his first win in a month.  He has surrendered two runs or fewer in four of his last five starts.  Alvarez hadn’t won since blanking Tennessee June 22, when he was named the Southern League pitcher of the week.  Jon Link has emerged from the Suns bullpen to figure in both wins in the series.  He earned the win in the first game of the series, and threw just eight pitches in the ninth for the save on Saturday.  Braves starter Gary Moran (3-8) allowed three runs on eight hits in the loss. 
 
The Suns will look to win the series on Sunday with the first pitch slated for 3:05 p.m. from the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.  LHP Graham Taylor (5-8, 4.44) will start for the Suns.  RHP Zeke Spruill (6-9, 4.18) takes the hill for the Braves.
 
 
 
 

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Wahoos Shortstop Billy Hamilton Hits Inside The Park Home Run

Daniel Corcino(above)allowed just one run and struck out six in the Blue Wahoos 6-2 win over the Suns. Photo Courtesy: Pensacola Blue Wahoos

By Steve Kolbe

Pensacola shortstop Billy Hamilton hit the first inside-the-park home run in team history, and the Blue Wahoos evened the series against the Suns with a 6-2 win on Sunday afternoon at Bayfront Stadium.

Suns lefty Jose Alvarez came off the disabled list to make his first start since July 2nd, when he was forced to leave a game against Pensacola with a groin injury. The Blue Wahoos jumped out to the lead in the second inning against Alvarez. Bill Rhinehart led off with a double, but Alvarez was able to retire the next two Blue Wahoos batters. Miguel Rojas drew a two-out walk to put runners on second and third, and Mark Fleury then doubled down the right field line with both Rhinehart and Rojas scoring to give Pensacola a 2-0 advantage. Fleury entered the game batting just .143 against left handed pitchers. Blue Wahoos starting pitcher Daniel Corcino helped his own cause by driving in Fleury with a RBI-single to make the score 3-0. The Blue Wahoos improved to 38-14 when scoring the first run of the game, the Suns dropped to 10-37 when allowing the first run.

The Suns scored their first run of the day in the second inning when Paul Gran drove in his 19th run of the season, with Jake Smolinski scoring to cut the Blue Wahoos lead to 3-1.

Pensacola tacked on a run in the fourth when Beau Mills doubled and went to third on a single by Miguel Rojas. With runners on the corners, Fleury drove in his third run of the game when he grounded into a double play, with Mills scoring to pad the lead to 4-1.

Shortstop Billy Hamilton made Pensacola history in the seventh, when he hit a ball to right-center field off of Suns reliever Mike Ojala. Right fielder Kyle Jensen made a diving attempt only to have the ball deflect off his glove, hit center fielder Donnie Webb, and roll all the way to the warning track. Hamilton was given the green light, rounded third, and scored standing up to put Bayfront Stadium’s first inside-the-park home run in the books.

Beau Mills hit a solo home run in the eighth to increase the Blue Wahoos lead to 6-1. Kyle Jensen hit a solo home run in the ninth for the Suns to make it 6-2. It was Jensen’s 12th homer of the season.

Daniel Corcin0 (7-4) allowed one run on five hits over six and a -third innings for the win. Jose Alvarez (2-5) took the loss surrendering four runs on six hits in his four innings of work.

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Suns Beat Blue Wahoos; Win I-10 Panhandle Challenge

 

Catcher Kyle Skipworth drove in a pair of runs to lead the Suns past the Blue Wahoos 6-1. Jacksonville improved to 14-10 this season against Pensacola to clinch the season series. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

 By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns scored three times in the first inning and cruised to a 6-1 win over the Blue Wahoos on Saturday night at Bayfront Stadium.  The Suns improved to 14-10 overall (8-3 on the road) against the Blue Wahoos, and clinched the season series.
 
The Suns jumped out to the lead in the first inning against Wahoos starter Kyle Lotzkar.  Jake Smolinski was hit by a pitch and Chris Gutierrez walked.  With one out, Curt Smith hit a ground ball to shortstop Billy Hamilton who committed an error, with Smolinski scoring from second to put the Suns up 1-0.  Kyle Skipworth then drove in two runs with a double to left-center field to increase the lead to 3-0. 
 
The Blue Wahoos scored their lone run in the third inning.  Billy Hamilton walked, stole second base, and went to third on a throwing error.  Josh Fellhauer then drove in Hamilton with a RBI single to cut the Suns lead to 3-1.
 
Jacksonville loaded the bases in the fifth inning with no outs, when Chris Gutierrez and Curt Smith were each hit by a pitch and Paul Gran singled.  Kyle Jensen singled to center with Gran scoring on the play for a 4-1 Suns advantage.  Jensen leads the Suns with 44 runs batted in this season.  Shawn Bowman then drove in his 43rd run of the season with a ground out to make the score 5-1. 
 
Jake Smolinski walked to lead of the sixth inning and went to third when Gutierrez singled.  Paul Gran drove in the final run of the game when he grounded into a double play, with Smolinski scoring and the Suns led 6-1.  Four of the Suns six runs in the game were scored by base runners that had walked, were hit by a pitch, or reached on an error.
 
Kyle Skipworth went 1-for-2 with two RBI’s and had the only extra base hit for the Suns.  Miguel Rojas and Bryson Smith each had two hits for the Blue Wahoos.
 
Bryan Evans (3-6) allowed one run on six hits in five and a-third innings to earn his first win against Pensacola this season.  Jordan Conley and Josh Schmidt combined to pitch three and two-thirds scoreless innings.  Kyle Lotzkar (4-4) surrendered five runs on just two hits in the loss.  He hit three batters and walked four.
 
The Suns have won the season series against the Blue Wahoos to claim the first I-10 Panhandle Series, and will bring the “Golden Skillet” back to the Baseball Grounds. Game two of the series is Sunday afternoon with the first pitch scheduled for 5:00 p.m. EST. 
 

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Suns Down Biscuits

 

Suns left fielder Jake Smolinski(above)went 3-for-4 with two RBI’s in 4-2 win over the Montgomery Biscuits. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

The Suns avoided a sweep with a 4-2 win over the Montgomery Biscuits on Friday night at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.  The win snapped the Suns four-game home losing streak.
 
The Suns scored four unearned runs in the second inning against Biscuits starter Kyle Lobstein.  After Curt Smith and Kyle Jensen singled, second baseman Tyler Bortnick misplayed a ground ball by Jeff Dominguez with Smith scoring all the way from second base on the error to put the Suns ahead 1-0.  Jose Duarte followed with a double down into the right field corner, with Jensen scoring on the play to increase the lead to 2-0.  Duarte has two RBI’s in his last four games in the starting lineup.  Jake Smolinski added to the lead when he singled up the middle for two RBI’s to give the Suns a 4-0 advantage.
 
The Biscuits scored a run in the third when Ty Morrison grounded out with the bases loaded to make the score 4-1.  Montgomery added another run on a solo home run from catcher Mayo Acosta in the seventh inning.
 
Jake Smolinski went 3-for-4 with two RBI’s to lead the Suns at the plate.  Hak-Ju Lee was the only Biscuits player with more than one hit.  With his two singles, Lee has now reached base safely in 27 straight games.
The Suns had 19 hits in the three game series, 16 singles and three doubles. 
 
Jacksonville manager Andy Barkett was ejected in the first inning for after Biscuits center fielder Ty Morrison appeared to trap a ball hit by Chris Gutierrez, who was initially called safe at second base.  After a discussion between the three umpires, the call was reversed and they ruled Gutierrez out, with Barkett erupting.  After he was ejected, Barkett went to home plate and covered it with dirt.  It’s the fourth time this season that Barkett has been thrown out.
 
James Leverton (1-0) allowed one run on four hits in five and a-third innings for his first win with the Suns.  A.J. Ramos pitched the final two innings to earn his tenth save of the season.  Ramos has a save in each of the Suns last four victories.  Kyle Lobstein (4-5) allowed eight hits and no earned runs in the loss.
 
The Suns begin a four game set in Pensacola on Saturday night with the first pitch slated for 7:30 p.m.  It’s the final meeting of the season between the two teams, with the Suns needing one win to clinch the season series.  The Suns are 13-10 against the Blue Wahoos.

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Biscuits 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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Suns Reel In Blue Wahoos

Jeff Dominguez, Curt Smith, and Paul Gran each hit a home run in the Suns 10-4 win over the Pensacola Blue Wahoos at the Baseball Grounds. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

 
The Suns began their brief three game home stand by exploding for a 10-4 win over the Pensacola Blue Wahoos on Sunday night in Jacksonville.  The Suns have won three in a row at the Baseball Grounds, outscoring opponents by a combined 31-4.  The Suns have scored at least 10 runs in each of their last three home games.
 
The Suns used the combination of aggressive base running and power to take the lead in the first inning against Blue Wahoos starter Tim Crabbe.  Jake Smolinski led off the game with a walk, and promptly stole second base.  With one out, Curt Smith hit a two-run home run deep to left field to put the Suns ahead 2-0.  Smith has smashed three home runs in his last five games, and six round trippers in his last 14 games after hitting just one in the first two months of the season.  The Suns have now hit at least one home run in six straight home games.
 
Quick starts have been the norm for the Suns in the second half, scoring at least one run in the first inning in four straight games and five of the last six.  Jacksonville improved to 30-13 when scoring the first run of the game, and the Suns are 18-8 when scoring a run in the first inning.
 
Jacksonville used the long ball again in the second inning to increase the lead to 3-0, when Jeff Dominguez hit his fourth home run of the season.  Dominguez has hit two of his four home runs against Pensacola.  The Suns have hit 17 home runs in the last 15 games.
 
For the third straight game the Suns had built a 3-0 lead, and for the third straight time it would vanish.  With Omar Poveda transferred to New Orleans, Suns lefty James Leverton made his first start of the season and breezed through the first two innings.  In the third, Leverton issued free passes to Mark Fleury and Ryan LaMarre.  With one out, Didi Gregorius tripled down the first base line driving in both base runners to cut the Suns lead to 3-2.  Brodie Greene then sent a sacrifice fly deep to right field, with the speedy Gregorius coasting across the plate to even the score 3-3. 
 
Crabbe continued to struggle with his control in the fifth inning, walking pitcher Kyle Kaminska and Jake Smolinski both on four pitches.  Paul Gran cleared the bases when he hit a three-run home run to left field to hand the Suns a 6-3 advantage.  It was Gran’s first home run since April 16, when he hit a two-run homer against Pensacola’s Curtis Partch in the Suns twelfth game of the season. 
 
Blue Wahoos first baseman Beau Mills hit a solo shot to deep right field off Suns reliever Kyle Kaminska in the sixth to cut the Suns lead to 6-4.  In the home half of the inning, the Suns had four straight hitters reach base with two outs.  Pinch hitter Donnie Webb, Jake Smolinski, and Paul Gran each singled, with Gran’s base knock driving in Webb to make the score 7-4.
 
In the seventh inning, the Suns had five straight batters reach base as they batted around for the eighth time in an inning this season.  Jose Duarte singled to center, Chris Gutierrez walked, and Jeff Dominguez singled to load the bases with one out.  Suns pitcher Josh Schmidt drove in his first run of the season when he bunted for a base hit, with Duarte scoring from third base and it was 8-4 Suns.  Suns pitchers now have three RBI this season.  On a 3-2 count, Jake Smolinski was hit by Chris Manno, with Gutierrez scoring to add to the lead 9-4.  With two outs, Curt Smith drove in Dominguez with the final run of the night. 
 
Jacksonville improved to 13-8 overall this season against Pensacola (6-5 at home, 7-3 on the road), and are one win away from claiming the first-ever season series against their in-state rival.  Sunday’s game was the fifth time this season that the Suns scored 10 or more runs in a game.
 
Curt Smith, Paul Gran, and Jeff Dominguez each finished with two hits.  Smith extended his hitting streak to six games going 7-for-21 with three home runs, seven RBI, and five runs scored during the streak.  Gran drove in half of the Suns eight runs on the night.  Jake Smolinskii reached base all five times at the plate with three walks, a single, and hit by a pitch.  Smolinski and Dominguez each scored twice.  The Suns had at least one base runner in every inning except the fourth.  Every Suns player with the exception of Shawn Bowman reached base at least once.  The Suns finished with 11 hits (8 singles and 3 home runs).
 
Left fielder Bryson Smith had a perfect night in the loss, collecting half of the Blue Wahoos eight hits in the game.  He finished 4-for-4 with three singles and a double.  It’s the seventh time this season that a player has recorded four hits in a game against the Suns.
 
Kyle Kaminska (6-3) allowed a solo home run in two innings of work to earn his second win in the Suns last seven games.  He also helped the offense with a walk and a run scored.  Josh Schmidt pitched the final three innings without allowing a hit to earn his first save of the season.  Tim Crabbe (3-5) allowed six runs on  three hits over four innings in the loss for Pensacola.  He tied his season high by walking six batters, three of the free passes came in to score.  Entering the game, Crabbe had surrendered four home runs in 73 innings.  He gave up three in just four innings to the Suns.
 
Game two of the series is Monday with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.  LHP Jose Alvarez (2-4, 4.00) is set to make his 15th start of the season for the Suns.  LP Toni Cingrani (2-1, 2.15) will take the mound for the Blue Wahoos.

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Biscuits Hold Off Suns

 By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns scored three runs in the first two innings, but fell to the Montgomery Biscuits 6-5 on Saturday night at Riverwalk Stadium.  The Biscuits scored 31 runs in the series and won four of the five games.  Montgomery stayed atop the South with a record of 7-3 in the second half, while the Suns fell to 4-6.
 
The Suns took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on three straight hits.  Aaron Dudley drove in a run with a single, with Chris Gutierrez scoring and Curt Smith scored on an error.  Jacksonville added another run in the second when Kyle Skipworth crossed the plate on Jake Smolinski’s ground out to make the score 3-0.  The Suns scored first in every game of the series, but lost four times.
 
For the second straight game the Biscuits responded.  Michael Sheridan drove in two runs in the home half of the second, and Ryan Garko drove in a run in the third to even the score 3-3.
 
In the fifth inning, the Biscuits scored three runs to take the lead with Omar Luna leading the way with a two-run home run and the Suns trailed for the first time in the game 6-3. 
 
Jacksonville scored twice in the seventh against reliever Merrill Kelly to cut the lead to 6-5 when Dudley drove in his second run of the night and Smith scored on a wild pitch.  The Suns have had 30 of their games this season decided by one run (13-17).
 
The Suns loaded the bases in the ninth on two singles and a walk, but Kirby Yates wiggled out of the jam when Skipworth grounded out to first to end the game.  The Suns stranded 11 runners on base on the night.
 
Matthew Neil (1-3) allowed six runs on 10 hits and lost his third straight decision.  Merrill Kelly (5-1) pitched three and a-third innings for the win.  Kirby Yates earned his sixth save of the season.
 
The Suns begin a three game series against the Pensacola Blue Wahoos on Sunday night at the Baseball Grounds with the first pitch scheduled for 6:05 p.m.
 

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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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Biscuits Take Over First Place In South

Biscuits first baseman Ryan Garko belted a three-run home run in the sixth inning to lead Montgomery to an 8-3 win over the Jacksonville Suns June 28, 2012 at Riverwalk Stadium. Photo Courtesy: Montgomery Biscuits

 By Steve Kolbe

The Montgomery Biscuits scored five times in the sixth inning on the way to an 8-3 win over the Suns on Thursday at Riverwalk Stadium.  The Biscuits improved to 5-3 in the second half, and took sole possession of first place in the South Division.
 
Before many found their seats, Jake Smolinski hit his second home run of the season, swinging at the first pitch of the game and sending it over the left field wall to put the Suns in front 1-0.  It’s the second time this season that Jacksonville has had their first batter of the game go deep.  Donnie Webb hit a home run against Tennessee while leading off on June 22nd at the Baseball Grounds. 
 
The Biscuits threatened in the third inning when they loaded the bases with only one out.  After falling behind in the count 3-0 to Tyler Bortnick, Suns starter Bryan Evans wiggled his way out of the jam when Bortnick grounded into an inning-ending double play. 
 
Montgomery started another rally in the fifth inning when Mark Thomas reached base with an infield single, and Ty Morrison doubled to put runners on second and third with one out.  Evans then let a pitch get away, hitting Ryan Garko in the batting helmet to load the bases.  Kyeong Kang walked on four pitches, pushing Thomas across the plate to tie the game 1-1.  Bortnick came to the plate with the bases full of Biscuits for the second time in three innings, and came up empty again when he grounded into another inning ending double play.
 
Kyle Jensen gave the Suns a 2-1 lead in the sixth, hammering the first pitch of the inning to deep left-center field for his tenth home run of the season.  Jensen has hit a home run in two straight games, and is the first Suns player to reach double digits.
 
Jacksonville summoned reliever Chris Squires to begin the sixth inning.  He walked the first batter that he faced in his return to the Suns when he gave Tyler Bortnick a free pass.  After Bortnick advanced to second base on a wild pitch, Squires settled down and retired the next two batters he faced.  With two outs, Mark Thomas hit a hard grounder to third and Shawn Bowman’s throw to first sailed over the head of Curt Smith, with Sexton scoring to even the score 2-2.
 
After Hak-Ju Lee was issued an intentional walk, Ty Morrison drove in Thomas with a single to right field to put the Biscuits ahead to stay at 3-2.  Squires then fell behind in the count 3-1 to Ryan Garko and when he tried to challenge him with the fastball, Garko smashed his fifth home run of the season to left-center.  The three-run blast increased the Biscuits lead to 6-2.  Garko has reached base safely in 11 straight games.  Montgomery sent eight men to the plate and scored five runs on three hits in the inning.
 
The Biscuits added to their lead in the seventh inning against Zach Neal, when Greg Sexton hit a two-run home run to make the score 8-3.  Montgomery has scored 54 runs in the first eight games of the second half (over seven runs per game).  The Biscuits improved to 26-3 when they score six or more runs, the Suns have only three victories when they score three or fewer.
 
Jake Smolinski and Jeff Dominguez each had multi-hit games for the Suns.  For Montgomery, Tyler Bortnick extended his team-high hit streak to 14 games with his infield single in the second inning.  Mark Thomas finished 3-for-4 with three singles and scored two runs.  Hak-Ju Lee and Ty Morrison each collected two hits.  Lee extended his hit streak to nine games.
 
The Biscuits leadoff hitters made things difficult for Suns pitchers throughout the night, reaching base in seven of the eight innings (triple, double, two singles, three walks).  The Suns have scored the first run in all three games of the series but have lost twice.
 
Suns starter Bryan Evans (2-5) didn’t figure in the decision after allowing just one run on five hits over five innings.  Chris Squires (0-1) suffered the loss after giving up five runs on three hits in the sixth inning.  Biscuits starter Jake Thompson (5-5) allowed three runs on seven hits and earned the win.  Thompson went 0-4 in his first seven starts of the season, but is 5-1 in his last seven starts.  Neil Schenk allowed just one hit over the final two and two-thirds innings for his first save of the season.
 
Game four of the series is Friday night from Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery with the first pitch scheduled for 8:05 p.m. EST.  The Suns will send LHP Graham Taylor (4-6, 4.54) to the mound for his sixteenth start of the season.  The Biscuits will look to win the series with RHP Joe Cruz (5-6, 4.96) on the hill for his fifteenth start of the year.

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Suns Power Past The Biscuits In 10 Innings

 

Curt Smith and Kyle Jensen each hit home runs, and the Suns scored three runs in the tenth inning for a 5-2 win over the Montgomery Biscuits at Riverwalk Stadium June 27, 2012. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

 By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns hit two home runs to power past the Montgomery Biscuits 5-2 in 10 innings at Riverwalk Stadium on Wednesday night. 
 
The Suns once again jumped on the scoreboard early, when Kyle Jensen led off the second inning blasting his ninth home run of the season to put Jacksonville in front 1-0.   Jensen has hit safely in his last three games.  The Suns offense has started quickly over the last week, scoring in the second inning or earlier in five of the last six games.
 
The Biscuits evened the score 1-1 in the bottom half of the second, when Tyler Bortnick hit his fourth home run of the season off Suns starter Jose Alvarez.  It was just the fourth home run that Alvarez has surrendered in nearly 79 innings of work this season.
 
In the third inning, Jeff Dominguez led off with his eleventh double of the season and scored on Jake Smolinski’s sacrifice fly to left, and the Suns took a 2-1 lead.  With 20 RBI, Smolinski is one of seven Suns players with at least 20 runs batted in this season.
 
Montgomery tied the game in the sixth inning against Suns reliever Kyle Kaminska.  Greg Sexton hit a one out single to left, and Brad Coon doubled to put runners on the corners.   Mayo Acosta then grounded to third, with Sexton beating Shawn Bowman’s throw to the plate to even the score 2-2.
 
The teams combined to leave 21 runners on base in the game, with the Suns stranding nine.  The Suns left the bases loaded twice, and the Biscuits left the bases full three times.  Each team loaded the bases in the ninth inning and failed to score. 
 
Jake Smolinski led off the tenth inning with a walk against Biscuits reliever Kirby Yates.  After Yates retired the next two batters, Shawn Bowman doubled off the wall in left field, with Smolinski scoring to give the Suns a 3-2 edge.   After falling behind in the count 0-2, Curt Smith added some insurance for the Suns by blasting his fifth home run of the season to increase the lead to 5-2. 
 
The win snapped the Suns three-game road losing streak.  Jacksonville improved to 3-2 in extra innings, with all five games played on the road.  The Suns are 3-0 against Montgomery this season when they hit a home run in a game, and 0-4 when they don’t.
 
Shawn Bowman and Jeff Dominguez each had two hits for the Suns.  Curt Smith connected for his fifth home run of the year.  After going without a home run since the first series of the season, Smith has belted four in his last 11 games. 
 
For the Biscuits, Hak-Ju Lee finished 3-for-5 with three singles.  His stolen base in the second inning was the 100th stolen base of the season by Montgomery base runners.  Greg Sexton and Brad Coon each had multi-hit games.
 
Jose Alvarez allowed only one run on seven hits over five innings.  Kyle Kaminska tossed three and two-thirds innings in long relief and allowed a run on four hits.  Suns reliever Corey Madden (2-1) entered the game in the ninth inning with the bases loaded, and struck out Tyler Bortnick to dash the Biscuits hopes.  Madden faced just the one batter in the game to earn his second win of the season.  A.J. Ramos retired the Biscuits in order in the tenth inning for his sixth save of the season.
 
Biscuits starter Kyle Lobstein allowed two runs on two hits in his five innings of work.  Kirby Yates (0-2) allowed two hits in each of his two innings after the Suns had only two hits in the first eight innings of the game.  Yates has two losses this season, both against the Suns.
 
Game three of the series is Thursday night with the first pitch slated for 8:05 p.m. EST.  RHP Bryan Evans (2-5, 3.48) is scheduled to start for the Suns.  RHP Jake Thompson (4-5, 5.26) gets the call for the Biscuits.

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Filed under Ahead Of The Curve, Southern League News