Tag Archives: Major League Baseball

Slow Start Sinks Suns In Loss To Barons

The Barons snapped a four-game losing streak with an 11-7 win over the Jacksovnille Suns at the Baseball Grounds on August 22, 2012. Photo Courtesy: Birmingham Barons

By Steve Kolbe

The Birmingham Barons scored all of their runs in the first five innings and ended the Suns three-game winning streak, with an 11-7 victory on Wednesday at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.

The Barons sent 10 men to the plate in the top of the first, scoring six runs on six hits against Suns starter Bryan Evans to take a 6-0 lead. It’s the most runs the Suns have allowed in the first inning of a game this season.

Ben Lasater hit a two-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the first to put the Suns on the scoreboard and make the score 6-2. It was Lasater’s first home run of the season with the Suns. After the teams traded runs in the second inning, the Suns cut the lead to 7-5 in the home half of the third when Kyle Jensen connected for his 21st home run of the season, a two-run blast to left-center. Jensen has hit a home run in three straight games.

The Barons scored twice in the fourth against Evans to increase the lead to 9-5.  Jake Oester drove in a run with a bases loaded single, and Luis Sierra lifted a sacrifice fly to center.

The long ball provided the runs for both clubs in the fifth.  Andy Wilkins hit a two-run home run for the Barons to pad the lead to 11-5. Kyle Skipworth then hit his 19th homer of the year in the bottom of the inning to make it an 11-7 contest. The final four innings of the game were scoreless.

The Barons finished with 18 hits, the most that the Suns have allowed in a game this season. Every player for the Barons had at least one hit, and every player in the game reached base at least once.

Bryan Evans (5-8) allowed nine runs on 11 hits in 3.1 innings in the loss. Leroy Hunt (2-3) pitched three scoreless innings for the Barons in the win.

The final home game of the regular season is Thursday night at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, with the first pitch slated for 7:35 PM. LHP Brian Flynn (2-0) will take the mound for the Suns. RHP Nick McCully (1-3, 5.17) will start for the Barons.

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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 Roll Past Barons 13-7

The Jacksonville Suns tied their season-high with 15 hits in a 13-7 win over the Birmingham Barons at the Baseball Grounds August 19, 2012. Photo Courtesy: Birmingham Barons

 By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns snapped their season-high seven-game losing streak, defeating the Birmingham Barons 13-7 on Sunday night at the Baseball Grounds.  It’s the ninth time the Suns have scored 10 or more runs in a game, with six of the offensive explosions at home. 
 
The Barons took the lead in the first inning against Suns starter Matthew Neil.  Tyler Saladino led off with a double, and Carlos Sanchez followed with a double to left-center, with the speedy Saladino scoring all the way from first to put Birmingham up 1-0.  The Barons entered the game with a record of 40-20 when scoring the first run of the game.
 
The Suns broke the ice against Barons starting pitcher Andre Rienzo in the bottom of the fourth.  After retiring the first 10 batters of the game, Rienzo surrendered a single to Chris Gutierrez with one out in the fourth.  Zack Cox then got the green light on a 3-0 pitch and delivered with a double to center field, with Guiterrez scoring from first to even the score 1-1.  Cox has driven in 11 runs in 13 games with the Suns after being acquired by Miami from St. Louis.
 
Birmingham took the lead in the sixth against Neil, with the first four batters in the inning all reaching base.  Leadoff hitter Trayce Thompson jumped on the first pitch he saw and belted a solo home run to left to put the Barons up 2-1.  Since being promoted from Class-A Winston-Salem on August 13th, Thompson has nine hits including his first two Double-A  home runs.  It was the 10th round tripper that Neil has surrendered this season.  Neil walked both Andy Wilkins and Seth Loman, and a single by Brady Showemaker loaded the bases  with no outs.  Jose Martinez cashed in with a double to right field, with both Wilkins and Shoemaker racing around to score to increase the Barons lead to 4-1.
 
The Suns sent 13 men to the plate in the home half of the sixth, scoring a season-high eight runs on eight hits in the inning to take a 9-4 lead.  Barons reliever Leroy Hunt was touched for four runs on five hits and didn’t retire a batter in the inning.  With Chris Gutierrez and Zach Cox aboard, Kyle Jensen drove in the first two runs in the inning with his second triple of the season.  Gutierrez plated a pair of runs his second time at bat with his 23rd double of the year.   Jake Smolinski, Ben Lasater, Aaron Dudley, and Dallas Poulk each drove in a run.  Jacksonville batted around in an inning for the 13th time this season.
 
The Suns scored all eight of their runs in the sixth inning with two outs.  The Suns previous high for most runs in an inning was seven (April 23rd vs. Mobile; June 25th vs. Tennessee; July 31st @ Mobile).   
 
Birmingham used the long ball in the seventh against Suns reliever Grant Dayton to inch closer.  Andy Wilkins smashed a two-run home run, and Seth Loman added a solo blast to cut the Suns lead to 9-7.  The duo share the team lead with 16 home runs each. 
 
In the home half of the seventh, Zack Cox led off with a walk and scored when Kyle Skipworth just missed a home run, hitting a double off the wall in the deepest part of the ball park to pad the Suns lead to 1-7.  Jacksonville tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the eighth for the 13-7 final.  The Suns improved to 16-43 when allowing the first run of the game.
 
The Suns ended their season-high seven game losing streak, and are now just three games behind the Montgomery Biscuits in the pennant race in the South Division.  The Birmingham Barons have lost seven of their last 10 games.
 
Jacksonville tied a season-high with 15 hits in the game (August 6th vs. Montgomery).  The Suns managed a triple, three doubles, and 11 singles on the night.  Every player in the Suns lineup had at least one hit and drove in at least one run.  Kyle Jensen and Chris Gutierrez each crossed the plate three times.  Chris Gutierrez, Zack Cox, Ben Lasater, Aaron Dudley, Donnie Webb, and Dallas Poulk each collected two hits in the game.  Poulk finished with three RBI’s, with Gutierrez and Jensen each driving in a pair of runs.
 
Grant Dayton (1-0) allowed three runs on three hits over an inning and a-third to record his first win with the Suns.  Andre Rienzo (4-2) surrendered five runs on five hits in the loss.  He had allowed a total of six earned runs over 19 innings in his previous three starts.  
 
Game two of the series is Monday with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 PM from the Baseball Grounds.  LHP Graham Taylor (7-10, 4.11) will take the mound for the 24th time this season for the Suns.  RHP Nestor Molina (4-9, 4.70) will start his 19th game for the Barons.

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Suns Drop Season-High Seventh Straight

 

First baseman Luis Nunez(above)drove in a pair of runs to lead the Lookouts past the Suns 3-2 at AT&T Field in Chattanooga August 18, 2012. The Lookouts completed the five-game sweep, outscoring the Suns 24-13. Photo Courtesy: Chattanooga Lookouts

By Steve Kolbe

The Suns were swept in a series for the first time this season, falling 3-2 to the Lookouts on Saturday night at AT&T Field in Chattanooga.  The Lookouts won 12 of the 15 games against the Suns during the season.
 
The Suns took the lead in the sixth inning when Jake Jefferies walked with the bases loaded to force in a run and put Jacksonville up 1-0.  Danny Pertusati then grounded into a double play, with Ben Lasater scoring from third base to increase the lead to 2-0.
 
Jose Alvarez allowed just three hits in the first six innings.  The Lookouts collected four hits in the seventh and scored three times to jump in front 3-2.  Luis Nunez provided the big hit with a two-run home run.
 
The Suns loaded the bases in the top of the ninth with no outs, but were unable to score against reliever Steven Rodriguez.  Kyle Skipworth and Chris Gutierrez struck out, and Zack Cox grounded out to end the game.  The Suns have lost a season-high seven straight games.
 
Jacksonville opens a five-game series against the Birmingham Barons on Sunday at the Baseball Grounds, with the first pitch scheduled for 6:05 PM.

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Buss Takes Lookouts To 11th Inning Win

By Steve Kolbe

It hasn’t happened often, but Suns closer A.J. Ramos was unable to lock down a win for Jacksonville on Friday night at AT&T Field, with the Chattanooga Lookouts scoring the game-tying run in the 10th inning, and an inning later winning in walk-off fashion when left fielder Nick Buss hit a three run home run for a 6-3 victory.   All eight of the Suns extra inning games this season have been played on the road, with Jacksonville 4-4 in those games. 

The Lookouts have won the first four games of the series by a combined count of 25-11.  The Suns are just 3-11 against the Lookouts this season, and have won just two of the nine games played in the Volunteer State.   

Jacksonville dented the scoreboard first on Friday against Lookouts starter Zack Lee.  Kyle Jensen belted a solo home run to right field in the top of the second inning to put the Suns in front 1-0.  Jensen leads the Suns, and is tied for third in the Southern League with 18 round trippers this season.  Four of his 18 homers have come at the expense of Lookouts pitching.
 
The Lookouts responded in the home half of the second against Suns lefty Brian Flynn.  With one out, Luis Nunez singled to start the rally. Brahiam Maldonado followed with a double to the gap in left-center field, with the speedy Nunez scoring all the way from first base to tie the game 1-1.
 
In the fourth inning the Lookouts put together a two-out rally against Flynn.  After J.T. Wise and Blake Smith struck out, Chattanooga collected three straight singles.  Nunez again record the first hit in the inning, and Maldonado singled to put runners on first and third.  C.J Retherford then sent a pop up into shallow right field that fell just out of the reach of Suns second baseman Paul Gran, with Nunez coasting home on the bloop single to give the Lookouts a 2-1 edge. 
 
With the game in the hands of both bullpens, the Suns faced three Lookouts pitchers in the eighth inning.  Paco Rodriguez gave up back-to-back singles to Ben Lasater and Kyle Skipworth to start the eighth.  Rodriguez then turned the game over to Chris Withrow, who struck out Kyle Jensen, but then walked Danny Pertusati on four pitches to load the bases.  On a delivery to Paul Gran, Withrow’s pitch went all the way to the backstop with Lasater hustling home on the pass ball to even the score 2-2.  Withrow suffered an injury on the pitch and was forced to leave the game. 
 
With Lookouts closer Steven Ames on the mound in the 10th inning, Danny Pertusati tripled to straight-away center.  Donnie Webb followed with an infield single with Pertusati crossing the plate to give the Suns a 3-2 edge.  
 
With the lead, and looking to snap their losing skid, Jacksonville summoned A.J. Ramos from the bullpen.  Rafael Ynoa grounded out to first, and Jake Lemmerman went down on strikes.  With two outs in the bottom of the 10th, J.T. Wise hit his fourth double of the series to keep the Lookouts hopes alive.  
 
Blake Smith came to the plate and fell behind in the count 0-2.  That normally means lights out with Ramos on the mound, but with the Lookouts down to their last strike, Smith doubled to right field with Wise scoring the equalizer.  It’s just the fourth time this season that Ramos has failed to lock  down a save in 21 opportunities.
 
Things went from bad to worse in the bottom of the eleventh inning.   After singles by Aaron Miller and Griff Erickson, Nick Buss stepped in and smashed his sixth home run of the season over the right field wall to hand the Lookouts a walk-off 6-3 win.  Ramos has allowed just two home runs in 61 innings of work this season.  Ramos gave up the long ball for the first time since May 2nd, when Birmingham Barons first baseman Andy Wilkins hit a two-run homer against him. 
 
Zack Cox went 3-for-6 with three singles.  Kyle Jensen and Danny Pertusati each collected two hits.   Suns batters struck out 11 times in the game, and have gone down on strikes 48 times in the series.  Luis Nunez finished the night 3-for-5 and scored two runs for the Lookouts.  Rafael Ynoa, Griff Erickson, and Brahiam Maldonado each were 2-for-5. 
 
The Lookouts have found their way to the win column in six of last seven games, and improved to 18-11 at home in the second half.  The Suns fell to 9-15 on the road, and have lost a season-high five straight road games.  Jacksonville’s six-game overall losing streak is the longest by the club since a six-game slid May 6th-11th, when the Suns were outscored 26-3 and shutout three times. 
 
Suns starter Brian Flynn allowed two runs on seven hits, and struck out four without walking a batter in five innings.  Lookouts starter Zach Lee also lasted five innings, giving up a run on six hits.  A.J. Ramos (3-2) allowed four runs, all earned, on five hits over two innings in the loss.  Ramos had allowed just five earned runs all season entering the game.  Steven Ames (2-3) tossed two innings for the Lookouts in the win.
 
The Suns will try to salvage the series finale on Saturday with the first pitch slated for 7:15 PM from AT&T Field in Chattanooga.  LHP Jose Alvarez (5-7, 4.10) will start his 22nd game of the season for Jacksonville.  RHP Andres Santiago (0-0, 3.60) is set to start his first game of the season for Chattanooga.  The Suns havn’t been swept in a series this season.
 
 
 

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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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Lookouts Fast Start Sinks Suns

 By Steve Kolbe

The Chattanooga Lookouts scored all of their runs in the first three innings in a 9-6 win over the Jacksonville Suns on Wednesday at AT&T Field.  The Suns have allowed 29 runs during their four-game losing streak.
 
The Lookouts came out swinging from the start in the first inning against Suns starter Graham Taylor.  Rafael Ynoa led off with a single to center, and Jake Lemmerman reached on an error by Suns first baseman Ben Lasater.  J.T. Wise then drove in the first run of the night with a sacrifice fly, with Ynoa scoring to put the Lookouts up 1-0.  With two outs, Blake Smith belted his 12th home run of the season, a two-run blast to right-center to increase the lead to 3-0.    
 
The Suns dented the scoreboard in the top of the second against Lookouts starter Aaron Miller.  After singles by Kyle Skipworth and Alfredo Lopez, Jake Smolinski hit a two-out double down the left field line to cut the lead to 3-2.  Smolinski and Chris Gutierrez are tied for the team lead with 21 doubles this season.
 
Chattanooga sent nine men to the plate in the home half of the second inning and exploded for four more runs to make the score 7-2.  Rafael Ynoa drove in a run with a double, and also scored on a throwing error by Suns third baseman Zack Cox.  J.T. Wise provided the big hit in the inning when he smashed a two-run home run to left field.  The Lookouts scored nine runs on 11 hits in the first three innings.  
 
The Suns countered with four runs of their own in the top of the sixth.  After singles by Danny Pertusati and Zach Cox, Kyle Jensen hit his 17th home run of the season and Kyle Skipworth followed with his 17th round tripper of the year, as the Suns hit back-to-back home runs in the inning to cut the lead to 9-6.  Jensen has hit four three-run home runs this season.  But that’s as close as the Suns would get, managing just one hit in the final three innings.
 
Kyle Skipworth went 2-for-3 and was the only Suns player with a multi-hit game.  The Suns have hit a total of six home runs against the Lookouts this season, with Jensen and Skipworth belting three each.  Blake Smith went 3-for-5 with a home run to lead the Lookouts.  J.T. Wise was 2-for-4 and drove in five of the Lookouts runs, the most RBI’s by a single player in a game against the Suns this season.  Rafael Ynoa, Brahiam Maldonado, Griff Erikson, and C.J. Retherford each had two hits.
 
Chattanooga improved to 9-3 against Jacksonville this season.  The Lookouts finished with 15 hits, one shy of the most allowed by the Suns in a single game during the 2012 campaign.
 
Graham Taylor (7-10) allowed nine runs on 11 hits in the loss.  Aaron Miller (6-6) surrendered six runs on seven hits to win for the first time in his last four starts.  Miller has half of his wins at the expense of the Suns, with a record of 3-0.  Steven Ames earned his 16th save of the season for the Lookouts.
 
The middle game of the series is Thursday with the first pitch scheduled for 7:15 PM from AT&T Field in Chattanooga.  RHP Bryan Evans (5-6, 4.15) will try to end the Suns four-game slide, while RHP Allen Webster (5-8, 3.83) will start for the Lookouts.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Matt Magill Shuts Down Suns

 

Matt Magill(above) allowed just two singles and struck out 11 over seven innings of work in the Lookouts 4-1 win over the Jacksonville Suns at AT&T Field. Photo Courtesy: Chattanooga Lookouts

 By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns scored a run in the ninth to avoid begin shutout for the 11th time this season, but fell 4-1 to the Lookouts in the first of a five game series at AT&T Field in Chattanooga.  The Suns are 3-8 against the Lookouts this season.  Since a five-game sweep against the Montgomery Biscuits, the Suns have lost three straight and four of their last five.  The Suns fell into a second place tie with Pensacola, two games behind the first place Biscuits.
 
Suns starter Matthew Neil and Lookouts starter Matt Magill kept the game scoreless for the first six innings, with Neil allowing just four hits and Magill touched for only two singles.  Chattanooga took the lead in the bottom of the seventh with an unearned run.  Luis Nunez led off with a double and scored on a throwing error by Suns first baseman Ben Lasater to put the Lookouts up 1-0.  Lasater fielded Jake Lemmerman’s sacrifice bunt, and when he tried to throw out Nunez at third, the ball sailed into left field.   Jacksonville fell to 15-42 when giving up the first run of the game.
 
The Lookouts added insurance in the bottom of the eighth against Suns reliever Mike Ojala.  The first four batters of the inning each had a hit, starting with J.T. Wise, who led off the inning with his 31st double of the season.  After a single by Blake Smith put runners on first and third, Brahiam Maldonado singled with Wise coasting home to increase the Lookouts lead to 2-0.  Luis Nunez then doubled down the left field line, with Smith coming around to score to make the score 3-0.  Jake Lemmerman tacked on the Lookouts last run with a sacrifice fly, with Maldonado touching the plate and the Lookouts were in command 4-0.
 
Lookouts starter Matt Magill was untouchable, retiring 14 straight Suns batters after Jake Smolinski singled in the third inning.  The Suns scored their lone run in the top of the ninth against Lookouts reliever Chris Withrow.  After walks to Chris Gutierrez and Ben Lasater, Kyle Skipworth drove in his 51st run of the season with a two-out single to center. 
 
Luis Nunez and Blake Smith each finished 2-for-4 for the Lookouts, with Nunez hitting a pair of doubles.  Kyle Skipworth finished with two of the Suns three singles.  Ben Lasater reached base twice with walks.  Chris Gutierrez with a walk, and Jake Smolinski with a single were the only other Suns players to reach base.  The Suns had just four base runners in the first eight innings. 
 
The Suns struck out 16 times in the game, one shy of their season-high of 17 set on May 2nd at Birmingham.  Nine of the 10 Suns players with a plate appearance struck out at least once.  Ben Lasater was the only player that didn’t go down on strikes in the game.
 
Matthew Neil (2-7) allowed one unearned run on five hits in the loss.  Matt Magill (10-6) surrendered just two singles over his seven innings in the win.  Magill stuck out 11 Suns batters, one shy of his season high, to increase his league-leading total to 147 strikeouts.  Magill’s 10 wins are the third-most in the Southern League, with Nicklas Struck of Tennessee leading with 13 wins, and Huntsville’s Josh Stinson second with 11 victories.  Chris Withrow earned his second save of the season. 
 
The Suns will look to get even in the series on Wednesday, with the first pitch slated for 7:15 PM from AT&T Field in Chattanooga.  LHP Graham Taylor (7-9, 3.86) takes the hill for the Suns.  LHP Aaron Miller (5-6, 4.26) will start for the Lookouts.
 
 

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BayBears Top Suns 10-8 In Series Finale

 

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

By Steve Kolbe

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

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Suns Stumble In Late Innings

 

The BayBears scored six times in the final three innings, erasing a 4-0 deficit for a 6-4 win over the Suns at the Baseball Grounds August 11, 2012. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns let one slip away on Saturday night at the Baseball Grounds.  After the Suns built a 4-0 lead over the BayBears through six innings, Mobile scored six runs in the final three innings for a 6-5 win.  The loss, combined with the Montgomery Biscuits walk-off win in the ninth inning on Saturday, dropped the Suns back into a first place tie with the Biscuits in the South Division.  Three of the BayBears four wins in August have been at the expense of the Suns.
 
The Suns took the lead in the second inning against BayBears starter Chase Anderson.  After singles by Kyle Skipworth and Ben Lasater, Kyle Jensen launched a three-run home run over the left field fence to put Jacksonville up 3-0.  It was the third home run that Anderson has allowed to the Suns in his last two starts.  Jensen has hit four of his 15 home runs this season against Mobile, and he has three three-run homers on the year, all off of BayBears pitching.  The Suns have hit a total of 16 home runs against the BayBears, second-most against any team (23 against Pensacola). 
 
Jacksonville increased the lead in the home half of the fifth when Chris Gutierrez reached second base on a throwing error by shortstop Chris Owings, and scored on a RBI single by Danny Pertusati to make the score 4-0.  Pertusati has 12 hits and a dozen RBI’s against the BayBears this season in the two series that he has played. 
 
Suns starter Brian Flynn was in line for his third straight win when he left the game in the seventh inning with the bases loaded.  Reliever Mike Ojala entered, and pinch hitter Kyle Greene singled to left field to plate the BayBears first run and make the score 4-1.  Ojala then walked Evan Frey to force in a run and the Suns lead was cut in half at 4-2.  Collin Cargill entered the game and struck out Alfredo Marte with the bases loaded to end the threat. 
 
In the eighth, the BayBears would send eight men to the plate for the second straight inning.  Matt Davidson was hit by Cargill to lead off the inning, and Brent Clevlen walked to put runners on first and second.  With one out, David Nick singled to left with Davidson scoring on the play to trim the Suns lead to 4-3.  Edgar Olmos then entered the game from the busy Suns bullpen on the pitching change, and walked Ed Easley to load the bases for a second straight inning.  Evan Frey then delivered with a single to drive in two runs and hand the BayBears their first lead of the night 5-4.
 
The Suns evened the score in the bottom of the eighth against Mobile closer Evan Marshall.  Kyle Skipworth doubled to lead off the inning, and scored when Ben Lasater singled to left to tie the game 5-5.  It was Marshall’s fifth blown save of the season. 
 
Walks continued to trouble the Suns in the ninth, when Olmos put the leadoff hitter Alfredo Marte aboard with a free pass.  Jordan Conley entered the game for the Suns bullpen with one out in the ninth, and hit Brent Clevlen with a pitch to put runners on first and second.  BayBears first baseman Ryan Strieby had entered the game with just two hits in the series, but his single in the ninth on Saturday drove in Marte from second with the game-winning run in the BayBears 6-5 win.  After collecting just two hits in the first six innings of the game, Mobile scored six times on six hits in the final three frames of the night.
 
The Suns lost for just the third time this season when leading after the seventh inning, with all three defeats at the Baseball Grounds.  The Mississippi Braves scored five runs in the ninth for an 8-5 win July 20th, and the Huntsville Stars plated a pair of runs to slip past the Suns 5-4 April 6th.  Jacksonville lost for the first time this season when leading a game by four or more runs.  The Mobile BayBears have a record of 59-60, with 15 of their wins against the Suns (25-percent).
 
Ben Lasater went 4-for-4 with four singles, and he is 10-for-11 in the series.  Kyle Skipworth and Kyle Jensen each collected two hits.  David Nick finished 2-for-5 with a RBI and a run scored for Mobile.  Evan Frey drove in three of the BayBears six runs on the night.  Suns pitchers combined to walk six BayBears batters, with three coming around to score.
 
Neither starter figured in the decision.  Suns lefty Brian Flynn allowed two runs on three hits over his six innings.  BayBears starter Chase Anderson allowed four runs on seven hits in his four and two-thirds innings of work.  Edgar Olmos (0-1) was charged with the game-winning run in the loss.  Evan Marshall (6-2) pitched an inning for the win.  Eury De La Rosa earned his third save of the season after nearly allowing a walk-off home run to Jake Smolinski in the bottom of the ninth, but the ball went foul down the left field line.
 
The series finale is set for Sunday at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville with the first pitch scheduled for 6:05 p.m.   LHP Jose Alvarez (5-6, 3.48) will start his 21st game of the season for the Suns.  LHP David Holmberg (3-4, 3.68) will take the mound for the BayBears.
 
 
 
 

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Filed under Ahead Of The Curve, Southern League News