Tag Archives: Keenan Wiley

Braves Rally In Ninth For Win Over Suns

The Braves scored five runs in the ninth inning against Suns closer A.J. Ramos for an 8-5 win at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville July 20, 2012. Photo Courtesy: Mississippi Braves

By Steve Kolbe

The Mississippi Braves scored five runs in the ninth inning to defeat the Suns 8-5 on Friday night at the Baseball Grounds.  The Braves won for the first time this season when trailing going into the ninth (1-43).  The Suns lost for just the second time when leading heading into the ninth inning (37-2). 

The Suns took a 2-0 lead in the home half of the fifth, when Donnie Webb hit a two-run home run to right field off of Braves starter J.R. Graham.  It was Webb’s first home run since June 23rd and his sixth round tripper of the season. 

Mississippi scored three runs on three hits in the seventh inning against Suns starter Bryan Evans to take a 3-2 advantage.  Todd Cunningham drove two of the runs with a double off of reliever Jordan Conley.  In the home half of the seventh, the Suns loaded the bases when Kyle Jensen and Danny Pertusati walked, and Jeff Dominguez singled.  Donnie Webb then doubled in the gap in right-center to clear the bases and put the Suns in front 5-3. 

A.J. Ramos entered the game for the ninth, and for just the third time this season was unable to lock down the win.  The Braves took advantage of three walks, and a pair RBI singles by Christian Bethancourt and Joe Terdoslavich to tie the game 5-5.  With the bases loaded and two outs, Keenan Wiley hit a ball to center field that glanced of off Donnie Webb’s glove while he was attempting to make the catch, with three runs crossing the plate to give the Braves an 8-5 win. 

Only three Suns players had hits in the game.  Donnie Webb went 2-for-5 and drove in all five runs.  It’s the second-most runs batted in for a Suns player in a game this season (Kyle Skipworth drove in six at Chattanooga May 26th).  Jeff Dominguez had three singles, and Chris Gutierrez singled to increase his hitting streak to 15 games.  Christian Bethancourt, Joe Terdoslavich, and Jason Christian each collected two hits for the Braves. 

Starter Bryan Evans allowed three runs on six hits over six and a-third innings in a no decision.  A.J. Ramos (3-1) allowed five runs (2 ER) on two hits in the ninth inning and lost for the first time this season.  All three batters he walked in the inning came around to score.  Cory Rasmus (2-3) allowed just one hit over two innings to earn the win. 

The Suns missed out on a chance to get back to the .500 mark for the first time since June 28, when they were 4-4.  Playing at home hasn’t been an advantage lately for the Suns, with just two wins in their last seven games at the Baseball Grounds.

Game three of the series is Saturday from the Baseball Grounds with the first pitch scheduled for 6:05 p.m.  LHP Jose Alvarez (2-5, 4.05) will start for the Suns.  RHP Gary Moran (3-7, 3.15) takes the hill for the Braves.

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Suns Close First Half With 5-0 Loss To Braves

The Suns finished the first half of the 2012 season with a 33-37 record after falling to the Mississippi Braves 5-0 June 17, 2012 at Trustmark Park. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

 
The series finale between the Jacksonville Suns and Mississippi Braves was the last game completed in the first half of the season in the Southern League, with the Braves blanking the Suns 5-0 Sunday night at Trustmark Park.  The Suns finished the first half of the season in fourth place in the South Division with a record of 33-37 (14-21 at home; 19-16 on the road).
 
The Suns have now been held off the scoreboard seven times this season, and were shutout for the third time in the last nine games.  On the season, Jacksonville has come up empty five times at the Baseball Grounds, and twice on the road. 
 
The Braves took the lead for good in the third inning against Suns starter Matthew Neil, scoring two runs on three hits.  Keenan Wiley led off the inning with a line drive single that hit Neil in the knee.  After moving to second base on a ground out, Wiley swiped third for his 10th stolen base of the season.  Joe Leonard then singled to right field, with Wiley crossing the plate to give the Braves a 1-0 lead.  With two outs, Joe Terdoslavich doubled off the wall in left field, with Leonard rumbling all the way around from first to make the score 2-0 Mississippi.
 
The Braves added another run in there fourth inning.  Jason Christian scratched out an infield single and went to second on a wild pitch by Neil.  After Neil retired the next two batters, Keenan Wiley delivered a two out single to left, with Christian scoring to increase the Braves lead to 3-0.
 
In the fifth inning, Joe Leonard led off with a double to left against Suns reliever Bobby Bramhall, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Joe Terdoslavich to put the Braves up by a comfortable 4-0 margin.
 
Mississippi tacked on another run in the seventh against Bramhall with a two out rally.  Joe Leonard drew a walk, and quickly stole second base.  Tim Smith then cashed in with a single up the middle, with Leonard coasting home to make it 5-0.  The Braves finished the first half in last place in the South Division with a record of 30-40.  Mississippi won a series for just the second time this season at home, taking three of the five games from Jacksonville.
 
For the Suns, Chris Gutierrez increased his hit streak to 16 games with a single in the first inning.  He is batting .350 (21-for-60) during his streak with 14 singles, six doubles, and a home run.  The 16-game streak is tied for the longest in the Southern League this season.  Pensacola’s Henry Rodriguez had a 16 game streak earlier in the first half.  The longest hitting streak in Southern League history is 33 games, set in 1987 by Greg Tubbs of Greenville.
 
The Suns finished the game with six hit, with Jake Smolinski’s seventh inning double the only hit for extra bases.  For the Braves Joe Leonard finished 2-for-3, drove in a run and scored three of the five runs.  Joe Terdoslavich and Jason Christian each had two hits for the Braves.
 
Matthew Neil (1-2) pitched three and two-thirds innings and lost his second straight start.  He left the game after being hit for a third time by a ball hit back up the middle.  Neil allowed three runs on six hits and walked two batters.  Sean Gilmartin (5-6) tossed six innings and allowed just three hits in the win. 
 
With the loss, the Suns missed a chance to join Mobile and Montgomery as the only teams in the league with 20 road wins in the first half.  Jacksonville finished 19-16 on the road, with nine of the 19 victories by one run.
 
The Suns begin the second half of the season against the Tennessee Smokies at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville beginning Thursday June 21st, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:35 p.m.
 

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Braves Spoil Suns Chance At .500

 By Steve Kolbe

The Suns scored twice in a ninth inning rally, but fell short in a 4-3 loss to the Mississippi Braves Saturday night at Trustmark Park.
 
The game was scoreless through the first six innings with Suns starter Graham Taylor allowing just two hits, and Braves starter David Hale surrendering only three singles.  Jacksonville scored the first run of night in the seventh inning, when right fielder Kyle Jensen led off by hitting his eighth home run of the season to give the Suns a 1-0 edge.
 
Taylor ran into trouble in the Braves half of the seventh.  With one out, Joe Terdoslavich walked and Christian Bethancourt and Keenan Wiley both singled to load the bases.  The Suns left Taylor on the mound to face pinch hitter Ian Gac, who hit a hard grounder that glanced off the glove of third baseman Shawn Bowman and deflected into left field, with Terdoslavich and Bethancourt scoring to give the Braves a 2-1 lead.
 
Mississippi scored two more insurance runs in the eighth inning against reliever Evan Reed.  Todd Cunningham singled to right and stole second base.  Tim Smith then singled to left, driving in Cunningham to increase the lead to 3-1.  Pinch runner Alden Carrithers stole second base, and he scored when Joe Terdoslavich doubled to the left field wall for a 4-1 Braves advantage. 
 
The Suns rallied in the ninth inning against Braves closer Mark Lamm, scoring two runs on three hits.  Kyle Jensen and Kyle Skipworth singled to put runners on the corners with one out.  Curt Smith then drove in Jensen with a single to cut the lead to 4-2.  Paul Gran’s sacrifice fly to right field plated Skipworth to make the score 4-3, but Lamm stuck out Jose Duarte to end the threat. 
 
Suns shortstop Chris Gutierrez finished 2-for-4 with two singles and extended his hit streak to 15 games.  He is batting .360 (20-for-56) during the streak.  Not to be out done, Braves center fielder Todd Cunningham singled in his last at bat to extend his hit streak to 15 games.  The longest hitting streak in the Southern League this season is a 16-game streak by Pensacola’s Henry Rodriguez.
 
Kyle Jensen and Curt Smith also finished with two hits for Jacksonville.  Jensen hit his first home run in the month of June.  Christian Bethancourt, Joe Terdoslavich, and Keenan Wiley had two hits each for Mississippi.
 
Suns manager Andy Barkett was ejected in the middle of the fourth inning.  Curt Smith appeared to have stolen second base, when the throw from Braves catcher Christian Bethancourt got away from Phil Gosselin covering the bag.  Smith was called out, and Barkett was then thrown out by third base umpire Matt McCoy when he argued the call.  Barkett has been tossed out three times this season, and twice by the same umpiring crew.
 
Graham Taylor (4-6) pitched six and two-thirds innings, and had a two-hitter going into the seventh.  He allowed two runs on six hits and stuck out four.  David Hale (5-3) tossed seven innings, allowing four singles and the solo home run to Jensen.  Hale entered the night having walked the fifth-most batters in the league, but on Saturday he didn’t issue a free pass.  Mark Lamm wiggled his way out of the ninth inning jam to earn his eighth save of the season.
 
The Suns have scored the first run in all four games of the series, but have lost twice.  Jacksonville is 27-7 this season when crossing the plate first.  The Suns are 19-15 on the road this season, and are one of just three teams that can finish the first half with 20 or more road victories.
 
The series finale is Sunday from Trustmark Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 6:00 p.m. EST.  RHP Matthew Neil (1-1, 4.67) will start his 6th game of the season for the Suns.  LHP Sean Gilmartin (4-6, 3.40) takes the hill for his 14th start of the year for the Braves.  Three of Gillmartin’s wins have been complete games, most in the Southern League.
 

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Evans Leads Suns Past Braves

By Steve Kolbe

A day after allowing a season-high 13 runs, the Jacksonville Suns rebounded for a 6-1 win over the Braves at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Mississippi on Friday night. 

The Suns broke the ice in the first inning against Braves starter Luis Avilan.  Donnie Webb led off the inning with a walk, and Jake Smolinski reached on a throwing error by third baseman Joe Terdoslavich, with Webb advancing to third on the play.  Avilan then threw his fourth wild pitch of the season, with Webb scoring to give the Suns a 1-0 advantage.  The Suns have scored at least one run in the first inning in 18 games this season, and are 15-3 in those games.  Jacksonville is now 26-6 when crossing the plate first. 

In the third inning, Webb found himself in the middle of the offense again when he led off with a single and scored on a sacrifice fly by Shawn Bowman to increase the Suns lead to 2-0.   

Suns starter Bryan Evans baffled the Braves throughout the night, and after allowing a single in the first inning he retired the next 16 batters he faced until the seventh inning.  In the seventh, Keenan Wiley led off with a bunt single and went to second on a sacrifice bunt.  With two outs, Tim Smith put the Braves on the board with a RBI single, with Wiley scoring to cut the Suns lead to 2-1.  Kyle Kaminska took over for Evans to record the final out of the inning. 

In the eighth inning, the Suns scored four runs against reliever Brett Cammons, all with two outs.  Jake Smolinksi walked and scored when Shawn Bowman hit his team-leading 16th double of the season, and the lead was 3-1.  Kyle Jensen extended the inning when he reached base on an infield single, with Smolinski moving around to third to put runners on the corners.  Curt Smith delivered the big hit in the inning, with a towering three-run home run to left field to pad the Suns lead to 6-1.  After going without a round tripper since the first series of the year, Smith has now hit two home runs in his last four games. 

The Suns have won seven of their last 10 road games, and improved to 19-14 away from home this season.  Jacksonville has scored at least five runs in six of their last seven road wins.  The Suns won for just the second time this season on Friday (2-9).  The Braves have lost six of their last eight games overall.  Mississippi has won two games in a row only once in the last 22 games. 

Suns shortstop Chris Gutierrez extended his hit streak to 14 games with a single in the third inning.  He hasn’t gone hitless since May 30th.  Mississippi center fielder Todd Cunningham also increased his hit streak to 14 consecutive games with a single in the first.  Shawn Bowman drove in two runs for the Suns, and now leads the team with 32 runs batted in.  Curt Smith has hit two three-run home runs in the last week, and he now has 27 runs batted in this season. 

Bryan Evans entered the game among the top five pitchers in the league in lowest batting average against.  He had a dominant performance, pitching six and two-thirds innings and allowing one run on three hits to improve his record to 2-4.  He has won his last two decisions.  Evans struck out a season-high eight batters, including striking out the side in the second inning and retiring the side in the third on just nine pitches.  Evans retired 16 Braves in a row after allowing a single in the first inning.  Kyle Kaminska and A.J. Ramos combined to pitch the final two and a-third innings. 

Braves starter Luis Avilan pitched a season-high six innings, allowing just two hits and one earned run, but saw his record fall to 1-5 on the season.

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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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