Tag Archives: Jose Duarte

Biscuits Shut Down Suns 2-1

 

Alex Colome allowed just three singles and struck out nine over six innings in the Biscuits 2-1 win over the Jacksonville Suns. Photo Courtesy: Montgomery Biscuits

By Steve Kolbe

The Suns were held to just four singles in a 2-1 loss to the Montgomery Biscuits on Thursday night at the Baseball Grounds.  Montgomery has outscored the Suns 8-3 in the first two games of the series.   The Biscuits moved ahead of the Blue Wahoos into sole possession of first place in the South Division.
 
The starting pitchers, Matthew Neil for the Suns and Alex Colome for the Biscuits, combined to allow just four singles in the first four innings of the game.  Jacksonville failed to take advantage of some control issues by Colome.  He walked a season-high six batters in his six innings of work, but didn’t surrender a run.
 
Montgomery took the lead in the fifth inning against Neil.  Michael Sheridan hit a high fly ball to left field that fell in fair territory between the trio of Jose Duarte, Chris Gutierrez, and Curt Smith.  Sheridan ended up on second, and scored when Brett Nommensen singled up the middle to put the Biscuits up 1-0.  The Suns are 10-36 when allowing the first run of the game.
 
Biscuits shortstop Hak-Ju Lee helped generate a run in the sixth inning when he led off with a walk, stole second base, and went to third on Neil’s second wild pitch of the night.  With one out, Omar Luna hit a sacrifice fly to center, with Lee beating the throw to the plate to increase the lead to 2-0.
 
The Suns scored their only run of the game in the seventh inning against reliever Shane Dyer.  Jose Duarte walked, Jake Jefferies singled, and Donnie Webb walked to load the bases with no outs.  Chris Gutierrez then grounded into a double play, with Duarte scoring to make the score 2-1.
 
The Biscuits have won five straight games against the Suns, and improved to 9-3 overall in the season series.  Jacksonville is 9-13 in games this season with the designated hitter. 
 
The Suns fell to 14-18 in one-run games this season, and Jacksonville is now 3-32 when scoring fewer than three runs in a game.
 
Omar Luna was the only player to collect two hits in the game.  The Suns have 10 hits in the series against the Biscuits, but only one for exrtra bases.
 
Suns starter Matthew Neil (1-5) allowed two runs on five hits in five and two-thirds innings, and has lost his last five decisions.  Alex Colome (5-3) allowed just three singles over his six innings of work.  He stuck out nine, one shy of his season high.  Colome allowed six runs on eight hits in just three innings the last time he faced the Suns June 26 at Riverwalk Stadium.  Kirby Yates pitched two innings of hitless ball to earn his eighth save of the season.  The Biscuits are the only team in the Southern League to have two pitchers with eight saves of more (Adame Liberatore-8; Kirby Yates-8).
 
The Suns will look to salvage the final game of the series Friday night, with the first pitch slated for 7:05 p.m. from the Baseball Grounds.  LHP James Leverton (0-0, 2.25) will start his third game of the season for the Suns.  LHP Kyle Lobsein (4-4, 4.47) takes the mound for the Biscuits.
 
 

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Stars Hit Six Home Runs In 10-5 Win Over Suns

Stars first baseman Hunter Morris(above)hits one of his two solo home runs in 10-5 win over the Jacksonville Suns at Joe Davis Stadium. Photo Courtesy: Huntsville Stars

By Steve Kolbe

 
The Jacksonville Suns surrendered a season-high six home runs to the Huntsville Stars in a 10-5 loss on Sunday afternoon at Joe Davis Stadium.  The Stars have hit a total 47 home runs this season, with seven of them coming in the last two games against Suns pitching.
 
After a 10 minute delay due to rain, Huntsville got right to work in the bottom of the first by sending eight men to the plate against Suns starter Bryan Evans.  The first two batters reached base, when Lee Haydel led off with a single and Josh Prince walked.  With one out, Hunter Morris blistered a triple to right field with both runners scoring to put the Stars in front 2-0.  Morris drove in three runs and scored twice in the Stars win in game one of the series, and he would be a factor again throughout the day.  Hainley Statia added a run when he jumped on the first pitch that he saw from Evans, hitting a double to right field, with Morris cruising home to make the score 3-0. 
 
The Suns scored their first run of the game in the second inning against Stars pitcher Johnnie Lowe. Curt Smith hit the first of his three singles on the day, and moved to second base on a fielders choice.  After a Shawn Bowman walk put runners on first and second, Jose Duarte drove in his fifth run of the season with a single to right field, with Smith scoring from second to cut the lead to 3-1.  Duarte had gone without an RBI since April 20 (72 games).
 
In the third inning, Paul Gran and Chris Gutierrez both singled against Lowe to start a rally, and with two outs Curt Smith singled to drive in two runs to even the score 3-3.  The Suns scored all five of their runs in the game after there were two outs in an inning.
 
In the home half of the third, leadoff man T.J. Mittelstaedt hit his first Double-A home run off of Evans to put the Stars back in front 4-3.  It was also Mittelstaedt’s first Double-A RBI, and it gave Huntsville a lead they wouldn’t give up.
 
In the sixth inning the Stars sent eight men to the plate for the second time in the game.  Hunter Morris led off the inning with a solo home run to increase the lead to 5-3.  Morris has homered and tripled in two straight games, and his day was far from over.  After an infield single by Hainley Statia, Kentrail Davis added his name to the long ball list by smashing a two-run home run deep to right field to pad the Stars advantage to 7-3.  It was the third home run that Bryan Evans allowed in the game.
 
The Suns summoned Kyle Kaminska from the bullpen, and he was given a rude reception when pinch hitter Domnit Bolivar hit his first home run of the season to pad the lead at 8-3.  The Stars hit three home runs in the sixth inning.
 
In the seventh, Kyle Jensen crushed a two-run home run to the deepest part of Joe Davis Stadium to get the Suns to within two runs at 8-5.  Jensen leads the Suns with 11 home runs this season, and he’s tied for the team lead with 41 RBI’s with Shawn Bowman.
 
Huntsville belted two more home runs in the seventh inning off of Kaminska.  The first two batters of the inning, T.J Mittelstaedt and Hunter Morris, hit back-to-back solo home runs and the Stars led 10-5.  It’s the first time this season that a team has hit back-to-back home runs against the Suns.  Jacksonville has allowed double-digit runs against four times this season.
 
The Stars hit six home runs in the game, one shy of tying the Southern League record for the most home runs in a single game.  Seven is the record, set by six different teams over a 31 year span from 1961 through 1997.  Knoxville hit seven against Jacksonville July 28, 1997, and Huntsville hit seven against Chattanooga July 18, 1997.  Six round trippers are the most that the Suns have allowed in a game this season, and the most that the Stars have hit in a single game this year.  Three of the home runs in Sunday’s game were hit by the leadoff man in an inning.
 
Curt Smith went 3-for-5 with three singles, and he’s now 8-for-14 this season against Huntsville.  Smith had a hand in four of the Suns five runs, with two RBI’s and two runs scored.  Shawn Bowman had a multi-hit game, going 2-for-3.  Hunter Morris, Hainley Statia, and Kentrail Davis each collected three hits for the Stars.  Morris had a hand in seven of the 10 runs, with 4 RBI and three runs scored.  In the series, Morris has had a hand in 12 of the Stars 17 runs (7 RBI and 5 runs scored).  Lee Haydel and T.J. Mittelstaedt finished with two hits each.  Eight of the Stars 15 hits in the game went for extra-bases.  Seven different Stars players scored at least one run.
 
Bryan Evans (2-6) pitched five and a-third innings allowing seven runs on nine hits, both season highs.  Evans has allowed seven home runs in his last four starts, after giving up just two in his first 13 starts of the season.  Kyle Kaminska pitched an inning and two-thirds giving up three runs on six hits.  Kaminska was tagged for three home runs in the game.  He had allowed two home runs total in his previous 24 outings.  Stars starting pitcher Johnnie Lowe allowed three runs on six hits over his four innings of work and didn’t figure in the decision.  Dan Merklinger (2-7) pitched two innings of hitless baseball to earn the win.
 
The series finale is Monday night from Joe Davis Stadium with the first pitch scheduled for 6:43 p.m. local time.  RHP Zach Neal (4-6, 4.26) will start his tenth game of the season for the Suns.  Neal earned the win last week at Tennessee after getting the start when Rob Rasmussen was traded to the Houston Astros just prior to the game July 4 at Smokies Park.  RHP Hiram Burgos (4-1, 2.05) will take the mound for the eleventh time this season for the Huntsville Stars.   The Suns have not been swept in a series this season.
 
 
 

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Stars Power Past The Suns

Huntsville first baseman(above)drove in three runs and scored twice to lead the Stars over the Jacksonville Suns 7-4 at Joe Davis Stadium. Morris is third in the Southern League in batting, second in RBI’s, and first in extra-base hits. Photo Courtesy: Huntsville Stars

By Steve Kolbe

 
The Huntsville Stars hit three home runs to take game one of the three game series against the Suns, with a 7-4 win Saturday night at Joe Davis Stadium.  The Stars are third in the Southern League with a team batting average of .262, behind Montgomery and Birmingham.
 
The Stars jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Suns starter Alan Oaks struggled with his control.  Oaks walked three batters in the inning, and Hunter Morris hit his team leading twelfth home run of the season, a two-run blast to straight away center.  Oaks started two games for Jupiter this season, Saturday was his first start with the Suns.  Jacksonville fell to 9-33 when allowing the first run of the game.
 
Huntsville used the long ball again in the second inning to tack on another run, with Kentrail Davis going deep for the second time this season, to increase the lead to 3-0.  After the Davis home run, Oaks retired seven of the next eight batters he faced, five by strikeout.
 
The Suns got on the scoreboard in the top of the third, when Shawn Bowman belted his eighth home run of the season off of Stars starter Evan Anundsen to cut the lead to 3-1.  Bowman is second on the team in homers behind Kyle Jensen (10).
 
Suns lefty Bobby Bramhall had his toughest outing of the season.  With Bramhall taking over in the fifth inning, Stars catcher Anderson De La Rosa led off with his fourth home run of the season to add to the lead at 4-1.  Huntsville pitcher Evan Anundsen helped his own cause with a double off the wall in right field, and Lee Haydel then singled to put runners on the corners with no outs.  Josh Prince drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to put the Stars up 5-1, with Anundsen scoring on the play.  Hunter Morris then tripled to right field with two outs to drive in Haydel from first for a 6-1 Stars advantage.  Hanley Statia knocked in a run with a double to cap the scoring, with the Stars sending eight men to the plate and building a 7-1 lead.
 
Paul Gran hit a solo home run for the Suns in the sixth to make the score 7-2 Stars. Gran has hit a home run in back-to-back games, and has three round trippers in his last five games in the starting lineup.  The Suns have hit seven home runs in their seven games against the Stars this season.
 
Jacksonville added two more runs in the eighth inning against reliever Kyle Heckathorn.  Jose Duarte led off with a single, and pinch hitter Curt Smith doubled behind him to put runners on second and third with no outs.  Paul Gran drove in a run with a ground out, and Chris Gutierrez plated a run with a single to make the score 7-4 Stars.
 
Jose Duarte went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles.  Shawn Bowman and Paul Gran each hit home runs.  The Suns have hit 59 home runs this season, seven against Huntsville.  Hunter Morris finished 2-for-4, scored two runs, and drove in three.  He now has 62 RBI’s, just one behind Tennessee’s Justin Bour for the league lead.  Morris hit a two-run home run and added a triple against the Suns.  He leads the Southern League with 42 extra-base hits. 
 
Alan Oaks (1-2) allowed three runs on three hits over four innings in his first start for the Suns.  He walked three in the first inning, after entering the game having walked a total of three batters in his first three appearances.  Evan Anundsen (5-4) allowed two runs on three hits in six innings for the win.  Brandon Kintzler retired the Suns in order in the ninth to earn his third save of the season.
 
Game two of the series is Sunday from Joe Davis Stadium in Huntsville, with the first pitch scheduled for 4:05 p.m.  RHP Bryan Evans (2-5, 3.61) will take the mound for the Suns.  RHP Johnnie Lowe (4-0, 3.55 ERA in Triple-A) will start for the Stars.

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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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Suns Win Series Opener Over Braves

 

The Suns topped the Mississippi Braves 6-3 in the first meeting of the season between the two teams June 13, 2012 at Trustmark Park. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe 

Shortstop Chris Gutierrez increased his hit streak to a dozen games, and the Suns claimed game one of their final series of the first half, with a 6-3 win over the Mississippi Braves on Wednesday night at Trustmark Park.
 
Jacksonville took the lead in the second inning against Braves starter Zeke Spruill.  With one out, Kyle Jensen hit his 11th double of the season, and Kyle Skipworth singled to center behind him to give the Suns a 1-0 lead.  The Suns improved to 25-4 this season when scoring the first run of the game.
 
In the bottom of the second, the Braves drew even on three singles.  After base hits by Todd Cunningham and Joe Leonard put runners on the corners against Suns righty Omar Poveda, a two-out base knock by Barrett Kleinknecht drove in Cunningham to tie the game 1-1.
 
The Suns reclaimed the lead in the third inning helped by some suspect defense.  After Chris Gutierrez doubled and advanced to third on a throwing error by left fielder Tim Smith, Jake Smolinski plated Gutierrez with a ground out, and the Suns had a 2-1 advantage.
 
Once again, Mississippi came right back in the home half of the inning with two extra base hits against Poveda.  Keenan Wiley led off the inning when he tripled off the wall in right field.  A batter later, Joe Terdoslavich doubled to right, with Wiley cruising home to even the score 2-2.
 
In the fourth, Joe Leonard gave the Braves their only lead of the night when he led off the inning smashing his third home run of the season over the right field wall to give Mississippi at 3-2 edge.  The Braves have hit just 22 round trippers this season. 
 
Jacksonville took advantage of two errors in the sixth inning to take the lead for good.  Kyle Jensen walked and Kyle Skipworth singled to put runners on first and third with one out.  Then the Braves came unglued.  Jeff Dominguez hit a grounder that first baseman Joe Terdoslavich couldn’t handle, with Jensen scoring from third base on the miscue to tie the game 3-3.  Skipworth was on the move from first and never stopped, rumbling all the way around to score on a throwing error by right fielder Keenan Wiley, and the Suns were back in front 4-3.
 

The Suns score two insurance runs in the ninth inning against relief pitcher Andrew Russell.  With one out, Paul Gran and Jose Duarte both singled  to put runners on the corners.  Donnie Webb hit a deep fly ball to right field, with Gran scoring on the sacrifice to pad the lead to 5-3.  Gutierrez then completed another big night with his second double of the game, driving in Duarte from third and giving the Suns a comfortable 6-3 lead.  The Suns are 17-0 this season when scoring six or more runs in a game.

For the Suns, Chris Gutierrez finished 2-for-5, drove in a run and also scored.  He extended his hit streak to 12 games with his eighth multi-hit game of the season.  Kyle Skipworth went 3-for-4, with a run scored, and added his 29th RBI of the year.  It’s the third time this season that Skipworth has had three or more hits in a game.  Paul Gran had two singles for his sixth multi-hit game.  Joe Leonard provided most of the offense for the Braves, collecting three of the their seven hits. 

Omar Poveda won his third straight decision to improve to 6-2.  He pitched six and two-thirds innings, allowing three runs on six hits.   Poveda hasn’t lost since being shuffled back to first in the Suns pitching rotation.  Suns All-Star A.J. Ramos entered the game with two outs in the eighth inning, and slammed the door on the Braves the rest of the way for his fourth save of the season. 

Mississippi starter Zeke Spruill suffered the loss to drop to 5-6 on the season.  He allowed four runs, but only one earned, on six hits in his seven innings of work.  He was the victim of the shaky fielding behind him.  Spruill matched his season high by striking out eight Suns batters.

The Suns improved their road record to 18-13.  Overall, Jacksonville has won five of the last seven games.  The Braves have now dropped nine of their last 12, and will finish last in the South Division.

Game two of the series is Thursday from Trustmark Park with the first pitch scheduled for 7:00 p.m. local time.  The Suns will hand the ball to LHP Jose Alvarez (1-3, 4.19) for his 12th start of the season.  The Braves send RHP Gary Moran (1-5, 3.50) to the mound for his 10th start of the year.

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Suns Stop Generals 4-2

Omar Poveda struck out a season-high eight batters in the Suns 4-2 win over the Jackson Generals June 7, 2012 at the Baseball Grounds. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe 

After a 42 minute rain delay, the Jacksonville Suns won their first meeting of the season against the Jackson Generals 4-2 at the Baseball Grounds on Thursday night.  Jackson entered the game winners of eight of their last 10 games, and the Generals 37 victories are the most in the Southern League.  

The Generals broke the ice in the top of the first inning against Suns starter Omar Poveda.  After a lead off single by Denny Almonte and a force out that left Nick Franklin on first base, catcher Jesus Sucre put  Jackson on top 1-0 with a RBI single to center field. 

The lead lasted for just an inning, with the Suns getting to Generals starting pitcher Taijuan Walker in the home half of the second.  After Kyle Skipworth and Paul Gran were retired, Ryan Patterson started a two-out rally with a single.  Jose Duarte singled behind him, with Patterson moving to third base and Duarte advancing to second on a throwing error.  Designated hitter Curt Smith drove in both base runners with the third straight single in the inning to put the Suns ahead 2-1. 

Jacksonville tacked on two more in the third inning against Walker.  Chris Gutierrez and Shawn Bowman singled, and Paul Gran walked to load the bases.  This season the Suns had been 3-for-9 as a team with the bases loaded, and Ryan Patterson alone was 0-for-5.  With two outs, Patterson wasn’t denied this time, driving a single to center field with Gutierrez and Bowman scoring to increase the lead to 4-1. 

The Generals scored their final run of the night in the sixth inning, a lead off home run by Joe Dunigan against Poveda to cut the lead to 4-2, but that would be the final run of the night.  Dunigan’s solo blast to left field tied him with Denny Almonte for the Generals team lead with nine round trippers.  Jackson leads the Southern League with 46 home runs.

The Suns improved their record to 12-19 at the Baseball Grounds, while the Generals are now 17-14 on the road.  Jacksonville is 7-27 when allowing the first run of the game, and Jackson is now  27-7 when crossing the plate first. 

The bottom third of the Suns batting order accounted for all the offense in the win, going 7-for-10 with four runs batted in and two runs scored.  Ryan Patterson went 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored.  Curt Smith and Jose Duarte each finished 2-for-3.  Smith drove in two and now has 20 runs batted in this season.  Duarte recorded his first multi-hit game of the year.  The Suns collected nine hits, all singles. 

Suns starter Omar Poveda pitched a season-high seven innings to improve his record to 5-2.  He allowed two runs on five hits, and struck out a season-high eight batters.  Poveda has won two straight decisions for the first time since April, when he started the season 2-0.  Kyle Kaminska and A.J. Ramos combined to pitch two innings of scoreless baseball, with Ramos closing the door in the ninth for his third save of the season. 

Generals starter Taijuan Walker was hit in his throwing arm when Donnie Webb, the Suns first batter of the game, sent a hard ground ball back up the middle in the first inning.  While that may or may not have factored in the 19-year-old’s early struggles, he tossed his his second-shortest outing of the season, allowing four runs on six hits in just three innings of work.  Walker had allowed a total of 16 runs this season, and Thursday’s loss to the Suns was the first time in his 11 starts that he surrendered more than two runs in a game.   

Game two of the series is Friday at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05PM.  In a match up of left handers, Jose Alvarez (1-2, 4.64) will start for the 11th time this season for the Suns.  Danny Hultzen (6-3, 1.44) will take the mound for his 12th start of the season.  Hultzen ranks first in the league in ERA at 1.44, and he ranks second in strikeouts with 67.

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Duarte Lifts The Suns To 6-5 Win

Home runs power Jacksonville in a win over Huntsville. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe 

 
In the first matinee of the season, the Jacksonville Suns came ready to play and slipped past the Stars 6-5 on Sunday afternoon to even their record at 2-2.  The scoring started early for the Suns against Stars starter Kyle Heckathorn, when leadoff man Jake Smolinski drew a walk and Ryan Patterson was given a base on balls right behind him.  Walks have led to runs throughout the series, and that was the case again in the first inning when Shawn Bowman came through with and RBI single to give Jacksonville a 1-0 lead.  Curt Smith made the score 2-0 with a double to right field that drove in Patterson.  Smith would later score on an ground out by Jake Jefferies, and the Suns had their second three-run inning of the season and a 3-0 lead.
 
In the top of the second inning Khris Davis put Huntsville on the board when he hit his first home run of the season off of Suns starter Graham Taylor.  Davis entered the game having gone 1-for-9 in the first three games of the series.  His home run was the first for the Stars this season.
 
With the score 3-1, Kentrail Davis drew a two-out walk in the top of the fifth inning, and scored on Domnit Bolivar’s triple into the left field corner to make it a one-run game.  Bolivar has tripled twice in the last three games.  Kentrail Davis finished the day by going 3-for-4.
 
The Suns saw their three-run lead evaporate when Huntsville tied the game in the seventh, scoring the first of three straight unearned runs.  Suns reliever Bryan Evans took over for Taylor and retired the first two batters he faced in the seventh.  Then pinch hitter Lee Haydel singled, and that was followed by a Kentrail Davis walk.  The Stars tied the game 3-3 on an error by third baseman Shawn Bowman, who’s throw couldn’t be handled by Smith at first and Haydel came in to score.  Haydel has hit safely in three straight games, all as a pinch hitter.
 
Jacksonville took a 4-3 lead in the seventh when Smolinski once again walked to leadoff the inning, stole second, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Curt Smith.  Smith finished the game going 2-for-3 with a pair of runs batted in.  The stolen base by Smolinski was Jacksonville’s first of the season.
 
The Stars scored two more unearned runs in the top of the eighth when Angel Gonzalez and Hunter Morris scored the tying and go-ahead runs for a 5-4 lead.
 
Huntsville won earlier in the week with a late inning rally, but on Sunday Jacksonville turned the tables.  Paul Gran reached base on an error to lead off the bottom of the eighth, and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt.  That set the stage for Jose Duarte who was called upon as a pinch hitter against Huntsville relief pitcher Santo Manzanillo, who has one of the best fastballs in the Brewers system.  Duarte turned on a fastball, and sent a drive over the left field wall to put the Suns back in front 6-5.  It was the Suns third home run in the first four games of the season.
 
Kyle Kaminska pitched the ninth for the Suns, and finished off the Stars by getting Bolivar to ground into a game-ending double play.
 
Graham Taylor was moved up in the starting rotation and pitched six innings for Jacksonville, allowing six hits and two runs.  Kyle Heckathorn went five and two-thirds innings for Huntsville, allowing three hits and three runs.  The two starting pitchers combined to strike out 14 batters.  Heckathorn finished with eight strikeouts, while Taylor fanned six.
 
Jake Smolinski followed up his three-hit performance on Saturday with three walks and two runs scored on Sunday.  Ryan Patterson finished 2-for-4 with a run scored, and Shawn Bowman went 1-for-3 with a run batted in. 
 
Suns batters drew seven walks in the game, three of those base runners came around to score.  In the first four games of the series, five of the 17 Suns hitters that have been given a base on balls have eventually scored. 
 
Each of the first four games between the Suns and Stars have been decide by two runs or less.  The series finale is Sunday with the first pitch scheduled for 12:05 PM.  It’s a match up of right-handers, with R.J. Seidel on the mound for Hunstville and Omar Poveda scheduled to take the hill for Jacksonville.
 

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