Tag Archives: James Leverton

The Suns Are One-Hit, But Win 1-0

Kyle Skipworth’s RBI-single in the fourth inning was the lone hit for the Jacksonville Suns in a 1-0 win over Biscuits starter Matt Buschmann(above)at Riveralk Stadium August 27, 2012. Photo Coutesy: Montgomery Biscuits

By Steve Kolbe 

The Jacksonville Suns were held to just one single and had just three base runners, but blanked the Montgomery Biscuits 1-0 on Monday night at Riverwalk Stadium to take sole possession of first place in the South Division with six games remaining in the regular season.
 
After dropping nine of the first 12 games against the Biscuits, the Suns have now won 10 straight games over Montgomery, outscoring the Biscuits 52-21.  It’s the Suns longest winning streak against any opponent this season.
 
In a pitchers duel, the Suns plated the lone run of the night in the top of the fourth against Biscuits starter Matt Buschmann.  Jake Smolinski drew a leadoff walk, and Zack Cox walked with one out to put runners on first and second.  Smolinski has walked 73 times this season, tied for second-most in the league.  With two outs, Kyle Skipworth hit ground ball on an 0-2 pitch, past the outstretched glove of second baseman Derek Dietrich, and into right field for the RBI-single to give the Suns a 1-0 lead.  Skipworth has just five hits with runners in scoring position and two outs this season (5-for-47 with six RBI).  He has driven in five runs in the series.
 
Fun Fact:  Kyle Skipworth has had the Suns only single in two one-hitters this season.  One win and one loss.  Jacksonville was shutout 1-0 on a one-hitter April 12th by the Chattanooga Lookouts at the Baseball Grounds, with Skipworth collecting a single in the second inning for the only hit of the game against Aaron Miller, Red Patterson, and Shawn Tolleson.
 
The Suns have won five straight, and eight of the last nine games after a season-high seven game losing streak.  The Biscuits have dropped five in a row, and have just three wins in their last 11 outings.
 
The Suns had their steak of scoring at least five runs in a game snapped at eight.  The Biscuits collected seven hits in the game, with six singles and a triple.  The Biscuits had at least one runner on base in every inning except the second, but had more than one base runner in an inning only once.  Omar Luna finished 3-for-4 and has the third-best batting average in the league this season.
 
The Suns have 14 shutouts during the 2012 campaign, doubling their total of seven from last season.  The Suns have held the Biscuits off the scoreboard four times during their 10-game winning streak against Montgomery:
 
*Graham Taylor and A.J. Ramos combined on a 1-0 win over the Biscuits August 3rd. 
*Four Suns pitchers combined on a two-hitter against Montgomery August 4th. 
*Jose Alvarez tossed a complete-game two-hitter in a 4-0 win over the Biscuits August 7th.
 
Bryan Evans (6-8) put together one of his strongest outings of the season.  He threw 92 pitches, 60 for strikes, and allowed four singles and a triple in his seven innings for the victory.  Evans has won four of his last six decisions, with two of the wins coming at the expense of the Biscuits. 
 
Matt Buschmann (6-8) surrendered a lone RBI-single to Kyle Skipworth in the loss.  Buschmann enticed the Suns into 16 ground outs, and allowed just three base runners in the game, all in the fouth inning.  Kirby Yates pitched the ninth for the Biscuits to combine with Buschmann on the one-hitter.
 
The Suns bullpen slammed the door on the Biscuits.  James Leverton allowed a single in the eighth, and A.J. Ramos pitched the ninth to earn his second save of the series and 21st of the season.  Ramos has the second-most saves in the Southern League. 
 
The win didn’t come without some late-inning drama.  Omar Luna led off the home half of the ninth with a single, went to second on a sacrifice bunt, and took third on a wild pitch by Ramos to increase the tension.  Ramos then retired Kyeong Kang on a fly ball to right field to end the game.  Suns relievers have allowed just nine singles in 18.2 scoreless innings over the last five games.
 
Jacksonville has won the first four games of the series by a combined score of 23-11.  The Suns will look to complete the sweep in the series finale Tuesday night from Riverwalk Stadium, with the first pitch scheduled for 8:05 PM.  RHP Brian Flynn (2-0, 3.41) will step on the mound for the Suns.  RHP Jake Thomspson (7-10, 5.30) gets the call for the Biscuits.

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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 Fall 6-1; Lose Fifth Straight

 

Lookouts third baseman Luis Nunez(above)finished with three hits and drove in a run for Chattanooga in a 6-1 win over the Jacksonville Suns at AT&T Field August 16, 2012. Photo Courtesy: Chattanooga Lookouts

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns lost for the fifth straight game, falling 6-1 to the Lookouts on Thursday night at AT&T Field in Chattanooga.  The Lookouts have outscored the Suns 19-8 in the first three games of the series.   Jacksonville has allowed five runs or more in six of the last seven games.
 
The Suns found the scoreboard first in the third inning with a two-out rally against Lookouts starter Allen Webster.  Chris Gutierrez doubled to right-center field, and Zack Cox reached base on an error by third baseman Luis Nunez with Gutierrez moving to third.  Ben Lasater delivered with a RBI single to left field, with Gutierrez hustling home to put the Suns in front 1-0.  Gutierrez leads the Suns with 22 doubles this season.  The Suns fell to 46-20 when scoring the first run of the game.
 
After getting runners to second and third in each of the first two innings and leaving them on base, the Lookouts broke through in the home half of the third against Suns starter Bryan Evans.  The first four batters of the inning each collected a hit, with Nick Buss and J.T. Wise starting the rally with singles.  They weren’t on base long, with Blake Smith swinging at the first pitch he saw from Evans and sending a triple into the gap in left-center, with Buss scoring from second and Wise scoring all the way from first to give the Lookouts a 2-1 lead.  Luis Nunez then singled to drive in Smith from third base to make the score 3-1.  Nunez would be the last batter that Evans would face in the game after throwing 63 pitches in just two innings, and only 29 of his pitches were strikes.
 
The Lookouts doubled their lead in the sixth against Suns reliever James Leverton.  Bobby Coyle singled, went to second on a sacrifice bunt, and advanced to third on a ground out.  With two outs, Rafael Ynoa drove in Coyle with a single to left field to make pad the lead to 4-1.  After a  walk to Nick Buss put runners on first and second, J.T. Wise hit a base-clearing double to the gap in left-center to increase the Lookouts lead to 6-1.  Ynoa has five hits, two RBI’s, and three runs scored in the series.  Wise has six hits in the series, and has driven in seven runs in the last two games.
 
Jacksonville had three hits in the first three innings, and then just three hits the rest of the game.  The Suns have been outscored 35-21 during their five-game losing streak, and have fallen four games back in the South Division.  Chattanooga has won three in a row and five of the last six to climb to the top of the North Division.
 
The top five in the Lookouts batting order were a combined 11-for-21 with six RBI’s and five runs scored.  J.T. Wise and Luis Nunez combined for half of the Lookouts 12 hits with  three each.  Wise has three doubles and a home run in the last two games.  Rafael Ynoa and Blake Smith both went 2-for-4.  Paul Gran went 2-for-4 for the Suns. 
 
The Lookouts hit five doubles, the most the Suns have allowed in a game since April 27th against Pensacola.  The Suns are 5-for-23 and the Lookouts are 9-for-38 with runners in scoring position in the first three games of the series.
 
Bryan Evans (5-7) allowed three runs on five hits and struggled with his control in a season-low two innings of work.  He started off only one of the 14 batters he faced in the game with a strike.  Allen Webster (6-8) allowed one unearned run on five hits in 5.1 innings for the win.  He hasn’t suffered a lost in his last eight starts going back to July 2nd.  The Lookouts bullpen combined to pitch 3.2 hitless innings.  Scott Elbert, in Chattanooga on a rehab assignment from the Dodgers, struck out the side in the eighth and has fanned all five batters he has faced in the series. 
 
Game four of the series is Friday night with the first pitch scheduled for 7:15 PM from AT&T Field in Chattanooga.  LHP Brian Flynn (2-0, 3.42) will take the mound for the Suns.  RHP Zach Lee (1-3, 6.05) will start for the Lookouts.
 
 

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Suns Two-Hit Biscuits For Second Straight Shutout

By Steve Kolbe
 
In a game that was delayed twice by rain for a total of 3 hours and 21 minutes, four Jacksonville pitchers combined on a two-hitter in the Suns 1-0 victory over the Montgomery Biscuits on Saturday night.  The Suns have limited the second-best hitting team in the Southern League to just nine hits in the series, with just one for extra bases.  The Suns have now tossed a pair of two-hitters this season.
 
A day after Graham Taylor and A.J. Ramos combined to blank Montgomery, Matthew Neil and three relievers combined for the Suns 10th shutout of the season.  Eight of the Suns shutouts this season have been at the Baseball Grounds, and eight different Suns pitchers have a shutout win.
 
  The Suns have won five straight home games for the first time this season, and have outscored opponents 23-13 along the way.  Overall, Jacksonville is 14-7 in the last 21 games.  After having just five wins all season when scoring less than three runs in a game (5-37), the Suns have won two straight when being held to under three runs.
 
After the second rain delay of the night, Kyle Skipworth provided the only run of the game in the bottom of the second when he smashed his 15th home run of the season off of Biscuits reliever Marquis Fleming.
Skipworth has hit eight homers and 12 RBI’s in his last 16 games.   Skipworth has surpassed his total from the 2011 campaign, when he finished with 11 round trippers in 106 games. 
 
The Suns have scored the first run of the game in eight of their last nine contests, and have a record of 43-18 when crossing the plate first.  The Suns improved to 20-14 in games played on Saturday and Sunday.
 
Suns starter Matthew Neil didn’t allow a hit in his two innings of work, but wouldn’t return after the second rain delay.  James Leverton (3-0) took over and allowed just two hits and struck out five over four innings for the win.  In his last four appearances, Leverton has two wins and a save.  Edgar Olmos tossed two innings of hitless baseball in his first appearance with the Suns since he started a game April 15th.  Arquimedes Caminero was overpowering in the ninth, retiring all three batters he faced on pop ups, to earn his first save with the Suns.
 
Montgomery had been shutout only twice all season entering the series, and hadn’t suffered a shutout loss in 57 games before arriving in Jacksonville.   After not recording a shutout in a span of 38 games, Jacksonville has two straight for the second time this season (June 10th with 7-0 and 9-0 wins over the Jackson Generals).  Eight different Suns pitchers have earned a win in a Jacksonville shutout this season.
 
The Suns had just three hits in the game.  In addition to the Skipworth’s home run, Alfredo Lopez had a single, and Chris Gutierrez extended his hit streak to six games with a single in the first inning.  He has hit safely in 10 of his last 12 games.  Catcher Mark Thomas had both hits for the Biscuits, the rest of the team went 0-for-25 on the night.
 
The home stand continues Sunday night with game three of the series from the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, with the first pitch scheduled for 6:05 PM.  RHP Bryan Evans (3-6, 4.05) will start his 22nd game of the season for the Suns.  RHP Jacob Thompson (7-9, 5.20) takes the hill 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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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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Skipworth Powers Suns Past Smokies

 

Kyle Skipworth(above)collected three extra-base hits, including his 12th home run of the season, in the Suns 6-4 victory over the Tennessee Smokies. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

In a seesaw affair at the Baseball Grounds, the Suns snapped the Tennessee Smokies three game winning streak with a 6-4 victory on Thursday night.  Jacksonville is now four games behind South-leading Montgomery.
 
Tennessee collected three hits against Suns starter Brian Flynn to take the lead in the first inning for the second straight game.  Junior Lake began the game with a single to right field, and Jae-Hoon Ha hit a base knock to put runners on first and third.  With one out, Justin Bour drove in his 77th run of the season with a single, with Lake cruising home to put the Smokies in front 1-0.  The Smokies entered the game with a record of 32-20 when scoring the first run, the Suns just 12-38 when falling behind.  
 
The Suns scored the equalizer in the home half of the first against Smokies starter Dallas Beeler.  Danny Pertusati and Jeff Dominguez both singled to center to put runners on the corners with one out.  Kyle Jensen then singled to drive in Pertusati to even the score at 1-1.  Each team had a carbon copy first inning, scoring a run on three singles. 
 The Suns have scored 56 runs this season in the first, the most runs they have plated in any inning.
 
Tennessee edged in front in the third inning, when Dustin Harrington led off with his first triple of the season, and he scored when Junior Lake doubled down the third base line to make the score 2-1.  Lake had a hand in nine straight Smokies runs over two games up to that point, with five RBI’s and four runs scored. 
 
The long ball took center stage in the fourth inning, with both teams trading home runs.  Justin Bour belted his 10th home run of the season to increase the Smokies lead to 3-1.  With the RBI, Bour took over the Southern League lead with 78 runs batted in.  The Smokies have hit eight home runs against seven different Suns pitchers in the first three games of the series.
 
Kyle Skipworth answered in the home half of the fourth when he muscled a solo home run, a blast to right-center that barely cleared the high wall to bring the Suns within a run.  Skipworth has hit five round trippers in his last seven games, and is tied with Kyle Jensen for the team lead with 12 homers on the season.  The Suns catcher has surpassed his total from the 2011 campaign, when he finished with 11 home runs in 106 games.
 
Jacksonville took the lead for the first time in the game in the bottom of the fifth.  Jeff Dominguez singled and went to second on a throwing error by Smokies first baseman Justin Bour.  Dominguez then scored from second base to even the score 3-3, when Kyle Jensen singled to left and Greg Rohan over ran the ball.  Skipworth continued his torrid pace when he put the Suns ahead 4-3 with a double to right-center, with Jensen rumbling around to score.
 
After the Smokies tied the game 4-4 on a solo home run by Greg Rohan in the top of the sixth, the Suns once again had an answer in the home half of the inning.  Donnie Webb led off with his eighth triple of the season against relief pitcher Tony Zych.  Jose Duarte came through with a pinch-hit single to put runners on first and third.  Webb scored the go-ahead run when Zych threw a wild pitch all the way to the backstop, and the Suns were up 5-4.  With two outs in the inning, Jeff Dominguez hit his third single of the night to drive in Duarte from second to pad the Suns lead to 6-4.
 
Kyle Skipwoth went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and a home run, drove in two runs and scored another.  Jeff Dominguez finished 3-for-5 with three base hits.  Every Suns batter, including pitcher Brian Flynn reached base at least once in the game.  For the Smokies, Junior Lake went 3-for-5 for his fifth straight multi-hit game.  Nate Samson also had three singles for Tennessee.  The two teams combined for 25 hits on Thursday, and in the series the Smokies have had at least 11 hits in every game.   
 
In an unfortunate incident in the bottom of the fourth inning, Kyle Jensen hit a fly ball down the right field line with  Smokies right fielder Jae-Hoon Ha giving chase.  The ball landed in the stands, but Ha collided with the wall hitting his chin with his head snapping back before he fell to the warning track.   Ha was given medical attention on the field by trainers from both teams as well as medical personnel on site.  An ambulance was summoned and Ha was taken to Shands Hospital.  
 
Lefty Brian Flynn made his first appearance with the Suns after being acquired by the Marlins from Detroit in a deal that sent Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to the Tigers.  He allowed four runs on 11 hits over 5.2 innings of work.  James Leverton (2-0) entered the game in the top of the sixth with two on and two outs.  He retired Junior Lake on a grounder to short, and with the out would earn his second win of the season.  A.J. Ramos pitched the ninth and locked down his 14th save of the season.  Smokies starter Dallas Beeler allowed four runs on eight hits over his five innings and didn’t figure in the decision.  He struck out a season-high eight batters.  Tony Zych (0-1) surrendered two runs on five hits in the loss.
 
Game four of the series is Friday with the first pitch slated for 7:05 p.m. from the Baseball Grounds.  LHP Jose Alvarez (3-5, 3.91) is set to start his 18th game of the season for the Suns.   
 

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Smokies Defeat Suns 9-2

Tennessee third baseman Greg Rohan(above)hits one of the Smokies three home runs in a 9-2 win over the Jacksonville Suns July 24, 2012. Photo Courtesy: Tennessee Smokies

 By Steve Kolbe

The Tennessee Smokies hit three home runs in a 9-2 win over the Suns on Tuesday night in the first of a five game series at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.
 
The Suns jumped in front 1-0 in the second inning against Smokies starter Eric Jokisch.  Paul Gran led off with his third triple of the season, and scored when Donnie Webb bunted for a base hit to drive in his 32nd run of the year.  The Suns fell to 37-16 when scoring the first run of the game. 
 
The Smokies tied the game 1-1 in the top of the third against Suns starter Matthew Neil, when Junior Lake belted his fifth home run of the season.  Tennessee added a run in the fifth when Nelson Perez led off with a single, and scored on Lake’s double to right-center to put the Smokies ahead for good at 2-1. 
 
Suns reliever James Leverton entered the game in the sixth inning, and after Mike Burgess was hit by a pitch, Mike Brenly hit a two-run blast to increase the Smokies lead to 4-1.  Leverton has allowed four home runs in his last two appearances.
 
The Smokies doubled the lead in the eighth inning when they batted around and scored four more runs against Suns relief pitcher Jon Link.  Justin Bour singled and Greg Rohan doubled to put runners on second and third.  Mike Burgess was intentionally walked to load the bases with no outs.  With the infield in, Mike Brenly hit the ball hard to shortstop Chris Gutierrez, with the ball going into the outfield and two runs crossing the plate on the error to pad the Smokies lead to 6-1.  Nelson Perez drove in a run with a double, and Logan Watkins added an RBI-single and the score was 8-1 Tennessee.  The first five batters in the inning reached base. 
 
Jeff Dominguez led off the eighth inning with a walk, and scored on a throwing error by second baseman Logan Watkins for the Suns final run of the night to make the score 8-2.  Greg Rohan launched a solo home run in the ninth inning for the Smokies to make the final 9-2.  The nine runs are the most that the Smokies have scored in a game this season against the Suns.
 
Suns starter Matthew Neil (1-6) allowed two runs on six hits in his five innings of work and has now lost six straight decisions.  Eric Jokisch (6-2) surrendered one run on four hits over five innings for the win.  The Smokies have won two straight games after a season-high six game losing streak.
 
Game two of the series is Wednesday afternoon with the first pitch scheduled for 1:05 p.m.  RHP Bryan Evans (3-6, 3.99) will start for the Suns.  RHP Dallas Beeler (4-6, 4.11) takes the mound for the Smokies.
 

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Suns Slip Past Braves In Ninth

 

Catcher Kyle Skipworth(left)and second baseman Paul Gran each collected three hits in the Suns 8-7 walk-off win over the Mississippi Braves July 19, 2012 at the Baseball Grounds. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

New faces help the Jacksonville Suns come back to win a walk-off thriller 8-7 over the Mississippi Braves on Thursday night at the Baseball Grounds.  The Suns won for just the second time this season when trailing going into the ninth inning (2-43).  Jacksonville also came back to beat Montgomery 5-4 on May 15 when Jake Jefferies hit a three-run home run in the top of the ninth at Riverwalk Stadium.
 
The Braves used the long ball to take the lead against Suns starter James Leverton, who hadn’t surrendered a home run in his previous 10 appearances.  Tim Smith and Christian Marrero each hit solo home runs in the second inning to put the Braves up 2-0.  For Smith it was just his second of the season, for Morrero it was his first home run of the year but he made it count.  Morrero’s blast cleared the right field stands and headed toward the street.   In the third inning, Christian Bethancourth hit his first home run of the year to extend the lead to 3-0. 
 
The Suns broke through in the home half of the third against Mississippi starting pitcher David Hale.  With one out, Chris Gutierrez doubled to the wall in left field to extend his hitting streak to 14 games.  Paul Gran then drove in his 21st run of the season with a single to center, with Gutierrez motoring around from second to cut the Braves lead to 3-1.  With two outs, Kyle Skipworth smashed a two-run home run to tie the game 3-3.  Skipworth has hit four round trippers in the last three games, and his 11 home runs this season match his total last year’s campaign.
 
In the fifth inning, Phil Gosselin led off with his second triple of the season and scored on Jason Christian’s RBI-single to center to give the Braves a 4-3 edge.  In the seesaw affair, the Suns stormed back in the bottom of the fifth.  Chris Gutierrez walked to lead off the inning, but Hale retired both Paul Gran and Kyle Jensen on fly balls.  With two outs, Kyle Skipworth doubled to drive in Gutierrez to tie the game 4-4.  Ben Lasater then followed with a double for his first RBI of the season, with Skipworth rumbling home to vault the Suns back into the lead 5-4. 
 
The Braves jumped ahead in the sixth against Suns reliever Mike Ojala.  Joe Terdoslavich led off with a double into the left field corner, and scored when Joe Leonard singled to knot the game 5-5.  After a single by Marrero put runners on the corners, Phil Gosselin hit a sacrifice fly to center with Leonard tagging from third for a 6-5 Mississippi advantage.
 
The Suns used three singles in the seventh inning to tie the score 6-6.  Paul Gran led off the inning with a base knock, and scored on Shawn Bowman’s two-out RBI-single.  In a game where no lead was safe, the Braves went back in front in the eighth inning against Kyle Kaminska.  After Joe Leonard doubled and Christian Marrero singled, pinch hitter Alden Carrithers swung at the first pitch he saw and sent a fly ball into center field, with Marrero scoring on the sacrifice to give the Braves a 7-6 lead going into the ninth.
 
Mississippi turned to their closer Mark Lamm, who entered the night with 10 saves.  Paul Gran led off the ninth inning with a single to left field to start the rally.  After Kyle Jensen went down on strikes, Kyle Skipwroth and Ben Lasater each walked to load the bases with one out.  Lamm then retired Shawn Bowman with one pitch on a foul pop to the catcher.  With two outs, center fielder Danny Pertusati took center stage and stole the spotlight in his first Double-A game.  Pertusati singled to right field past the diving second baseman, with both Gran and pinch runner Donnie Webb scoring to give the Suns the walk-off win 8-7.  Pertusati was mobbed in the infield by his new teammates to celebrate the win.  The Suns scored seven of their eight runs in the game after there were two outs in an inning.
 
Kyle Skipworth and Paul Gran each had three hits.  Skipworth finished 3-for-4 with three RBI’s and two runs scored.  He has hit four home runs and driven in seven over the last three games.  Gran collected three singles, drove in a run, and scored three of the Suns eight runs.  Chris Gutierrez extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a double in the third inning.  It’s his second streak this season of at least 14 games.  The last time that Gutierrez was held without a hit was July 1st against Pensacola. 
 
Suns starter James Leverton allowed four runs on five hits in five innings of work, including three home runs.  He struck out a season-high seven batters.  After being acquired by the Marlins on July 9, Jon Link pitched the ninth to earn the win in his first game with Jacksonville.  Suns pitchers did not issue a walk for the eleventh time this season.  Braves closer Mark Lamm took the loss to drop to 0-4 this season.
 
The Suns have won three straight games for the first time since April 28 to May 2 when they won four in a row.  Overall, Jacksonville has won five of the last six games..  This season 35 of the Suns 97 games have been decided by a single run (17-18).  The Braves have dropped six of their last seven games, and have been outscored 49-29 in those games.  Mississippi lost for just the second time this season when taking a lead into the ninth (29-2). 
 
Game two of the series is Friday with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.  RHP Bryan Evans (3-6, 3.97) will take the mound for the Suns.  Evans allowed just one run in five and a-third innings and earned the victory as the Suns topped the Blue Wahoos 6-1 in Pensacola last week.  LHP Brent Leach (0-2, 1.59) is set to start his second game of the season for the Braves. 
 

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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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