Tag Archives: Matthew Neil

Severe Weather Postpones Game

 

Inclement weather and unplayable field conditions at Smokies Park postponed the Suns game against the Smokies on Thursday night. Photo Courtesy: Tennessee Smokies

By Steve Kolbe

The game between the Suns and Smokies from Smokies Park was postponed due to severe weather.  The Kodak, Tennessee area was hit Wednesday with a severe storm with heavy rain, lightning, and strong wind that tore apart the tarp that had been covering the infield.
 
The game is scheduled to be made up as past of a double header on Thursday, with the first of the two seven-inning games beginning at 5:00 p.m.  The second game will start approximately a half hour after game one.  RHP Matthew Neil (1-3, 5.53) was scheduled to start for the Suns, LHP Eric Jokisch (3-1, 3.25) was slated to take the mound for the Smokies.  The starting pitchers for the double headed have not been determined.
 
The Suns are 6-8 in the second half of the season after a 4-3 win over the Smokies in game one of the series on Tuesday.  Chris Gutierrez collected three hits, including his third home run of the season, and Jeff Dominguez drove in a pair of runs.  Jacksonville has won three straight games against Tennessee.

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Biscuits Hold Off Suns

 By Steve Kolbe

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

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Suns Win Series Against Smokies

 

The Suns take two from the Tennessee Smokies, 11-3 and 10-3, on a stormy day June 25, 2012 at the Baseball Grounds. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns won both games against the Tennessee Smokies on Monday at the Baseball Grounds to take three of the five games in the series.  Jacksonville claimed the first game 11-3, and then won the regularly scheduled game 10-3. 
 
When the rain suspended game four of the series Sunday, the Suns were trailing 2-1 in the third inning.  When play resumed on Monday morning at 11:00 a.m., Suns reliever Zach Neal took over on the mound for Graham Taylor.  Taylor allowed two runs on five hits over two and a-third innings before the game was suspended.
 
The Suns took the lead in the bottom of the third.  Jake Smolinski led off with a walk, and came around to score on Paul Gran’s second triple of the season to tie the game 2-2.  Kyle Skipworth then hit a ground ball to shortstop Junior Lake, who committed the first of his two errors in the inning, with Gran crossing the plate to put the Suns in front 3-2.
 
With Alan Oaks on the mound for the Suns, Tennessee tied the game in the sixth inning.  Jim Adduci beat out an infield single, and Mike Burgess drove him in with a double to tie the game at 3-3.
 
The Suns took the lead for good in the sixth inning against Smokies pitcher Eric Jokisch.  Jeff Dominguez led off with a double down the third base line, and Jose Duarte singled to right to put runners on the corners.  After a sacrifice bunt by Zach Neal moved Duarte over to second, Donnie Webb drove in two runs with a single to give the Suns a 5-3 lead.
 
In the seventh inning, Kyle Skipworth was awarded first base on catchers interference, and Curt Smith then walked.  With two outs, Jeff Dominguez smashed his third home run of the season to increase the Suns lead to 8-3.  Dominguez has hit two three-run home runs this season, both at the Baseball Grounds.
 
The Suns padded the lead in the eighth inning with a two out rally.  Jake Smolinski was hit by a pitch, Paul Gran singled, and Kyle Skipworth walked to load the bases.  Shawn Bowman then cleared the bases with a double to left-center field to make the score 11-3.  Bowman is 3-for-6 with nine RBI this season with the bases loaded. 
 
Paul Gran went 3-for-5 with a RBI and scored two runs.  Donnie Webb, Shawn Bowman, and Jeff Dominguez each had two hits in the first game.  Bowman leads the Suns with 36 RBI.
 
Pitcher Alan Oaks arrived at the ballpark on Monday morning after being transferred from Jupiter of the Florida State League to Jacksonville.  He earned the win, allowing a run on three hits.  Smokies pitcher Eric Jokisch (3-1) allowed 10 runs on eight hits and lost for the first time this season.
 
In the regularly scheduled game, Suns starter Matthew Neil retired the first nine batters that he faced before running into trouble in the fourth.  Jim Adduci walked to lead off the inning, but was erased when Jae-Hoon Ha grounded into a double play.  With two outs, the Smokies collected four straight hits to start the scoring.  Junior Lake singled and scored when Justin Bour doubled to right field to give Tennessee a 1-0 advantage.  Bour leads the Southern League with 55 runs batted in.  Nelson Perez followed by hitting his first triple of the season, with Bour scoring to build a 2-0 lead.  Nate Samson made it 3-0 when he singled up the middle, with Perez cruising across the plate.
 
The Suns began the comeback in the home half of the fourth against Smokies starter Dallas Beeler.  Kyle Jensen doubled with one out, and scored when Aaron Dudley collected his first hit and first RBI with the Suns to cut the lead to 3-1.  Jacksonville drew even in the fifth, with Jake Smolinski and Kyle Jensen each driving in a run to tie the score 3-3. 
 
The Suns broke the game open in the sixth when they batted around, and tied their season-high for runs in a inning by scoring seven times, all with two outs.  Paul Gran led off with a double, and Jeff Dominguez walked with one out to put runners on first and second.  After pinch hitter Kyle Skipworth struck out, Donnie Webb drew a walk to load the bases with two away.  Chris Gutierrez snapped an 0-for-6 stretch with a clutch single to drive in two runs and put the Suns ahead 5-3.  After Jake Smolinski was hit by a pitch, the bases were full of Suns again.  Kyle Jensen delivered with a single to center, with Webb and Gutierrez scoring on the play to make the score 7-3.  Jensen is 3-for-6 with nine RBI with the bases loaded this season.
 
Already with a hit and RBI, Suns first baseman Aaron Dudley cleared the bases with one swing of the bat when he blasted a home run into the right field seats and the Suns had a 10-3 lead.  The Suns scored seven runs in an inning for the second time this season.  In a 7-0 win in Mobile on April 23rd, the Suns scored all seven of their runs in the eighth inning.
 
Kyle Jensen finished 3-for-3, drove in three runs and scored twice.  He is second on the team with 35 RBI.  Aaron Dudley went 2-for-4 with four RBI.  Donnie Webb, Jake Smolinski, and Kyle Jensen each scored twice.
 
Kyle Kaminska (5-3) pitched a scoreless sixth inning for the win.  His last victory was May 2nd at Birmingham.  Kevin Rhoderick (1-3) allowed five runs on five hits.  
 
The Suns hit seven home runs against the Smokies, with Donnie Webb hitting two of the long balls.  It’s the first time this season that Jacksonville has hit a home run in every game of a series.   Jacksonville has now scored 10 or more runs in a game four times this season.
 
The Suns begin a five game series in Montgomery on Tuesday night with the first pitch scheduled for 8:05 p.m. EST.  The Biscuits took three of five from the Suns at Riverwalk Stadium May 11-15.

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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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Suns Fall To Generals 8-0

 

The Jackson Generals clinched their first division championship since 2008 with an 8-0 win over the Jacksonville Suns June 11, 2012. Photo Courtesy: Jackson Generals

By Steve Kolbe

Playing for the final time at the Baseball Grounds in the first half, the Suns were shutout by the Jackson Generals 8-0 on Monday night.  The Suns finished the first half of the season with a home record of 14-21.  With the win, the Generals clinched their first division championship since 2008 with five games remaining. 

Suns starter Matthew Neil retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced in the game, but the Generals took the lead in the fourth inning.  Nick Franklin led off with a single, and came around to score on a single by Jesus Sucre and an error by Jake Smolinski to give Jackson a 1-0 lead.  Designated hitter Joe Dunigan then belted a two-run home run to increase the lead to 3-0.  Dunigan leads the Generals with 10 round trippers this season.  With the loss, the Suns fell to 7-29 when allowing the first fun of the game.

In the seventh, the Generals scored a run on an error and another on a two-out double by Chris Pettit to increase the lead to 5-0.  The Suns committed three errors on the night, one shy of their season high of four May 13th against Montgomery.  It’s the eighth time this season that the Suns have committed three or more errors in a contest.

Jackson against rallied with two outs in the eighth when Chih-Hsien Chiang drove in the sixth run of the game with a single, with Joe Dunigan scoring on the play.

In the ninth inning, Jesus Sucre and Denny Almonte delivered with RBI singles to pad the lead to 8-0.  Six different Generals players finished the game with two hits, and seven different players scored at least one run.  Jackson has scored at least five runs in a game 23 times this season.

For the Generals, both Chris Pettit and Joe Dunigan drove in two runs and scored twice.  For the Suns, Jake Smolinski went 3-for-4 with three singles.  Chris Gutierrez doubled in the eighth inning to increase his hit streak to 11 games.  He hasn’t gone hitless in a game since May 29th against Mobile. 

The Suns were shut down twice in the series by the South League’s top pitching staff.  The Generals have a 3.07 ERA and eight shutouts this season.  Jackson is the only team in the league that will finish with 20 wins both at home and on the road.

Jacksonville claimed the series by taking three of the five games.  The last four games between the two teams were shutouts, with each team winning twice.  The Generals have only lost three of their 13 series this season, and two of the losses have been on the road against teams from the South Division.

After earning his first Double-A win in his last start at Pensacola, Matthew Neil (1-1) allowed three runs on three hits in the loss for the Suns.  Brandon Maurer (5-1) pitched seven and a-third innings and struck out seven in the win for the Generals.  Maurer has won all three of his June starts with a 1.80 ERA, allowing just three runs over 22 innings of work.  He also stayed perfect on the road with a record of 3-0 this season. 

The Suns begin their final series of the first half on Wednesday night in Mississippi with the first pitch scheduled for 8:00 p.m.  The Suns will send RHP Omar Poveda (5-2, 4.34) to the mound for his 12th start of the season.  The Braves counter with RHP Zeke Spruill (5-5, 3.74).  Jacksonville is 17-13 away from home this season, with nine of the wins by a single run.  The Suns have won four of six road series this season.

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Suns Hang On For Win Over Blue Wahoos

The Suns took three of five games in the series from the Blue Wahoos with a 2-1 win Wednesday June 6, 2012 at Bayfront Stadium. Photo Courtesy: Pensacola Blue Wahoos

By Steve Kolbe

Suns center fielder Donnie Webb drove in both runs for Jacksovnille in a 2-1 win over the Pensacola Blue Wahoos on Wednesday night at Bayfront stadium.  The Suns improved to 8-4 in series finales this season. 

The Suns started the scoring in the third inning against Pensacola starter Daniel Corcino.  Webb led off with a triple, and scored when Chris Gutierrez lifted a sacrifice fly to center field to put the Suns up 1-0.  Webb has hit four of his five triples this season against the Blue Wahoos.  The Suns are 22-6 when scoring the first run of the game, while the Blue Wahoos dropped to 4-20 when they allow the first strike. 

In the fifth inning, Webb connected for his second home run of the season to increase the lead to 2-0.   The Suns have hit 13 home runs in the last 22 games.  Both of Webb’s round trippers this season have come against Blue Wahoos pitcher Daniel Corcino.  Webb finished the series 6-19 and drove in four runs in the five games.

Pensacola scored a run in the eighth inning when Ryan LaMarre came home on a sacrifice fly by Josh Fellhauer to cut the lead to 2-1, but that would be the last run of the night.  The Suns improved to 12-8 against the Blue Wahoos this season, and close calls have been the norm between the in-state rivals, with 11 of the 20 meetings decided by only one run.

Jacksonville improved to 17-13 on the road this season, with nine of the wins by just a single run.  The Suns moved into sole possession of third place in the South Division, one game ahead of Pensacola.   The Suns denied the Blue Whoos their first three-game win streak since they won three in a row against Montgomery in the first series of the season. 

The Suns won for just the second time this season when scoring two runs or less (2-23).  Their previous win was 2-0 on Opening Night against Huntsville April 5th at the Baseball Grounds. 

The center fielders stole the show at the plate.  For the Suns, Donnie Webb finished 3-for-4 and scored both runs.  For the Blue Wahoos, Ryan LaMarre went 3-for-4 with three singles and scored Pensacola’s lone run.  All six of the Blue Wahoos hits in the game were singles. 

Suns starter Matthew Neil made his Double-A debut against the Blue Wahoos May 20th, and on Wednesday he earned his first career Double-A win against Pensacola.  Neil allowed five singles and struck out a season-high six batters over six innings.  Evan Reed closed out the game for his 12th save of the year, and is now tied for the league lead.  In his fourth start against Jacksonville this season, Daniel Corcino suffered his third straight loss and fell to 2-4 on the season.  He allowed two runs on five hits in five innings of work.

The Suns return home on Thursday to face the top team in the Southern League, with the 37-23 Jackson Generals making their lone visit of the season to the Baseball Grounds. 

 

 

 

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BayBears Rally In Ninth For 4-2 Win Over Suns

 

The BayBears increased their lead in the South Division by scoring two times in the ninth inning for a 4-2 win over the Suns June 1, 2012 at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. Photo Courtesy: Mobile BayBears

By Steve Kolbe 

The Mobile BayBears scored two runs in the ninth inning on the way to a 4-2 win over the Suns on Friday night.  After winning five of their first six series of the season, the Suns have lost their last five series.
 
The BayBears took the lead in the second inning against Suns starter Matthew Neil.  Marc Krauss led off the inning with a double when he hit a deep drive toward the wall in left-center field.  Jake Smolinksi went crashing into the outfield fence attempting to make the catch and injured himself on the play.  Smolinski had to leave the game, with Ryan Patterson taking his place in left field.  After a single by Alfredo Marte put runners on the corners with no outs, Brent Clevlen drove in the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly to put Mobile in front 1-0. 
 
The Suns drew even in the second against BayBears starter Tyler Skaggs.  Donnie Webb led off the inning with a single to left, and stole second base.  Chris Gutierrez then doubled to right-center to drive in his 15th run of the season, with Webb scoring to tie the game 1-1. 
 
In the fourth inning Mobile reclaimed the lead.  BayBears cleanup hitter Marc Krauss, behind in the count 0-2, blasted his eighth home run of the season over the center field fence for a 2-1 lead.  Krauss is tied for the league lead with 37 runs batted in.
 
The Suns rebounded again in the home half of the eighth inning when pinch hitter Jeff Dominguez started the rally with a double.  After an infield single by Gutierrez put runners on the corners with no outs, German Duran drove in Dominguez from third with a sacrifice fly and the game was tied again 2-2.
 
Suns reliever Bobby Bramhall ran into trouble in the ninth.  David Nick led off the inning with a bunt single, and Matt Davidson singled behind him.  Marc Krauss then walked to load the bases with no outs.  Alfredo Marte put the BayBears back in front 3-2 with a sacrifice fly to right, with Nick crossing the plate.  Mobile added an insurance run on a sacrifice fly by Rossmel Perez to pad the lead 4-2.
 
For the Suns, Chris Gutierrez finished the night 2-for-4 and drove in a run.  Donnie Webb went 2-for-3 and stole his second base of the season.  For the BayBears, Marc Krauss was 2-for-3 with a double and his ninth home run of the season.  Krauss leads the Southern League with 30 extra base hits.  Three of Mobile’s runs scored on sacrifice flies.
 
Matthew Neil started his third game for the Suns and pitched a season-high seven innings.  He allowed two runs on three hits, including a home run and did not figure in the decision for the third straight time.  Neil struck out four without a walk.  Bobby Bramhall allowed two runs on two hits and walked three batters.  He surrendered the winning run in the ninth.  BayBears starter Tyler Skaggs threw 100 pitches over eight innings to improve his record to 4-3.  He allowed two runs on six hits and has won four of his last five starts.  Matt Gorgen pitched the ninth to earn his sixth save of the season.
 
The Suns begin a five game series against the Blue Wahoos in Pensacola on Saturday night with the first pitch scheduled for 8:30 p.m EST. 

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Skipworth Hits For Cycle; Suns Win Slugfest 13-10

Jacksonville Suns catcher Kyle Skipworth hit for the cycle including a grand slam against the Chattanooga Lookouts May 26, 2012 at AT&T Field. Photo Courtesy: MiLB.com

By Steve Kolbe 

Suns catcher Kyle Skipworth hit for the cycle to lead the Suns past the Lookouts 13-10 in a slugfest at AT&T Field in Chattanooga on Saturday night.  The win snapped the Suns four game slide, and also ended Chattanooga’s six game win streak.
 
The scheduled starter for the Lookouts Nathan Eovaldi didn’t take the mound as expected.  Instead, right-hander Luis Vasquez was pressed into service and started a game for the first time this season.  The Suns  came out swinging against Vasquez and sent nine men to the plate in the first inning. 
 
Leadoff man Danny Black doubled to right field to start the game, and Jake Smolinski drove in Black with a RBI single  to put the Suns in front 1-0 before many fans had even taken their seats.  With two outs, Kyle Skipworth hit a ground rule double to put runners on second and third and bring Kyle Jensen to the plate.  Jensen capped the inning by smashing his sixth home run of the season, a three-run blast to right-center field for a 4-0 Suns advantage.  The Suns improved their record to 11-2 when scoring a run in the first inning.  Jensen and Skipworth share the team lead with six round-tippers each.
 
In the second, Jacksonville added another run when Danny Black led off for the second straight inning, this time reaching base on an error by the pitcher.  After Paul Gran bunted his way on and Jake Smolinski was hit by a pitch, the bases were loaded with no outs.  Shawn Bowman then grounded into a force out, with Black thrown out at the plate.  With one out, Kyle Skipworth’s hit a sacrifice fly to right field with Gran tagging from third to increase the lead to 5-0.
 
The Lookouts scored their first run of the night against Suns starter Matthew Neil in the home half of the second, when Travis Denker led off the inning with his third home run of the season to cut the lead to 5-1.  The Lookouts have hit 10 home runs this season against the Suns, their most against any club.
 
Having just arrived at the ballpark prior to the game, reliever Eammon Portice took over on the hill for Vasquez in the third, and had similar results.  The Suns scored to make it 6-1 when Matthew Neil walked with two outs, and Danny Black drove him in with a single to right field.  Black reached base in each of the first three innings.
 
In the fourth, Jake Smolinski walked to lead off the inning, and Shawn Bowman singled behind him.  With two on and no outs, Skipworth drove in his second run of the night with a single.  Later in the inning, Russell Mitchell drove in his tenth run of the year, with Bowman coming in to score on a ground out and the Suns had built an 8-1 advantage.
 
The Lookouts came to life in the bottom of the fourth against Neil.  Singles by Travis Denker and Brahiam Maldonado, and a walk to Pedro Baez loaded the bases with one out.  Jake Lemmerman then drove in the first run of the inning, when Bowman committed an error on a grounder hit in his direction with Baez scoring to make the score 8-2 Suns.  Matt Wallach brought the Lookouts closer with a base-clearing double into the right field corner, and at the end of four innings Jacksonville led 8-5.
 
Before the fifth inning began, the Lookouts made a call to the bullpen and summoned another newcomer, Bret Montgomery.  After striking out the first batter of the inning, five straight Suns hitters would reach base against Montgomery.  Danny Black hit his second double of the night, Paul Gran scratched out an infield single, and Jake Smolinski drove in Black with a single.  With the score 9-5 Suns, Shawn Bowman walked on four pitches to load the bases and set the stage for Kyle Skipworth.  With one mighty swing, Skipworth sent the ball sailing high into the Chattanooga night and over the right field fence for the Suns first grand slam of the season.  By the end of the inning, the Suns had scored five runs on four hits to expand the lead to 13-5.  Jacksonville scored runs in each of the first five innings in the game.  During their four game losing streak, the Suns had plated a total of only nine runs.
 
Chattanooga chipped away by scoring three runs in the bottom half of the fifth.  Luis Nunez singled to lead off the inning, and scored on Travis Denker’s double to straightaway center.  The inning was highlighted by a no-doubt-about-it two-run home run to left field off the bat of Pedro Baez, and the score was 13-8.  Baez has hit a two-run homer in two straight games, and he now has 26 runs batted in.  Suns relief pitcher Zach Neal took over for Matthew Neil and struck out Jake Lemmerman for the final out of the inning.
 
The Lookouts didn’t go away quietly, and scored two more runs in the seventh.  J.T. Wise single to left, and Denker doubled behind him.  Baez cashed in a run with a ground out with Wise scoring and Denker moving to third on the play.  With two outs, Lemmerman singled to drive in Denker to cut the lead to 13-10, but that’s as close as Chattanooga would get. 
 
The 13 runs are the most that the Suns have scored in a game this season.  In the first eight games of the season series against the Lookouts, Jacksonville had scored a total of 26 runs. 
 
During the 2011 campaign the Suns hit four grand slams, third-most in the Southern League.  Alex Romero, Luke Montz, Kevin Mattison, and Jake Smolinski each hit one.
 
For the Suns, Kyle Skipworth finished 4-for-4 and hit for the cycle.  He doubled in the first, singled in the third, hit his grand slam in the fifth, and tripled in the seventh.  Skipworth drove in six runs and scored twice.  Danny Black went 3-for-6, drove in a run, and scored two others.  Jake Smolinski was 2-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored.  Paul Gran had two hits and scored twice. 
 
For the Lookouts, Travis Denker went 4-for-5 with two doubles and a home run.  He drove in two runs and scored four times.  Nick Buss, Brahiam Maldonado, and Matt Wallach each finished with two hits in the losing cause.
 
Matthew Neil pitched four and two-thirds innings in his second start for the Suns.  He allowed eight runs on 10 hits and did not figure in the decision.  Zach Neal tossed two and a-third innings to earn his third win of the season.  Evan Reed struck out two of the three batters he faced in a flawless ninth to record his ninth save. 
 
In the spot start, Luis Vasquez allowed five runs on five hits in the first two innings to fall to 1-2.  The Suns are 2-7 this season against the Lookouts, with both of the wins coming against Vasquez.  The 13 runs are the most that the Lookouts have surrendered in a game this season.
 
The series finale is set for Sunday night from AT&T Field with the first pitch scheduled for 6:15 p.m.  The Suns will send RHP Omar Poveda (3-2, 4.54) to the mound for his ninth start of the season.  Jacksonville will try to hand RHP Ethan Martin (5-0, 3.28) his first loss of the year.  Martin is one of only two starting pitchers in the Southern League with a perfect record.

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Suns Even Series With Wahoos

Shawn Bowman drove in the game tying run in the eighth inning against the Blue Wahoos with a pinch hit double in the Suns 4-3 win at the Baseball Grounds. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns spotted the Pensacola Blue Wahoos a 3-0 lead on Sunday afternoon, but rallied for a 4-3 win at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.  The last three games in the series have all been decided by one run. 

Matthew Neil had impressive numbers in his eight starts with Jupiter, going 6-0 with a 2.06 ERA.  On Sunday,  the Suns sent the 25-year-old right-hander to the mound  looking to even the series against the Wahoos at two wins apiece.  Neil responded by retiring the first three batters he faced in his double-A debut. 
 
In the top of the second, Josh Fellhauer singled to lead off the inning against Neil, and Joel Guzman drove him in with a double into the gap in right-center field to put the Blue Wahoos in front 1-0.  Guzman is 7-for-17 in the series, including three doubles and a three-run home run.  He has hit safely in all four games.
 
The Wahoos increased the lead in the fifth inning, when Mark Fleury singled with one out and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Pensacola pitcher Daniel Corcino.  Moving the runner into scoring position paid off, when Ryan LaMarre drove in Fleury with a single to right field for a 2-0 Wahoos lead.
 
In the sixth, the Blue Wahoos added a run against Suns reliever  Bobby Bramhall.  Brodie Greene and Josh Fellhauer both singled, and after a force out put runners on first and third, the rarely used suicide squeeze came into play.  Stephen Hunt bunted back to the pitcher Bramhall, with Greene breaking from third base on the pitch, and scoring the Blue Wahoos third run of the day.  
 
Pensacola starter Daniel Corcino was cruising along into the sixth inning.  He allowed just two singles, and at one point retired 11 straight Suns batters, seven by strikeout.  In the sixth, Suns shortstop Danny Black singled to lead off the inning and Donnie Webb followed by hitting a two-run home run into the right field stands to cut the Blue Wahoos lead to 3-2.  It was Webb’s first home run of the season, and the Suns have now hit the long ball in six of their last eight games.
 
The Suns pulled even in the bottom of the seventh against relief pitcher Drew Hayes.  Curt Smith hit his ninth double of the season, and pinch-hitter Shawn Bowman doubled to drive home Smith with the tying run and the Blue Wahoos 3-0 lead had vanished.
 
Late inning heroics have been the norm for the Suns this week with two ninth inning wins, and Sunday afternoon was no exception when it came to late inning thrills.
 
In the bottom of the eight, Kyle Skipworth snapped an 0-for-21 stretch with a one out single off of Clayton Tanner.  After Tanner struck out Russell Mitchell, the stage was set for Kyle Jensen.  Celebrating his 24th birthday, Jensen completed the comeback by gift wrapping the go-ahead run with a double off the left field wall, with Skipworth hustling all the way from first to score putting the Suns in front 4-3.
 
Pensacola threatened in the top of the ninth against Evan Reed, when David Vidal and Mark Fleury hit back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners with one out.  The Blue Wahoos turned to Yordanys Perez, who entered the game as a pinch hitter.  He hit the ball sharply to Suns shortstop Danny Black, who handled it cleanly and started the game-ending double play.  Not to be overlooked was the effort by second baseman Paul Gran, who absorbed a hard slide by Vidal and still made the throw to first to finish the play.
 
It was memorable double-A debut for infielder Danny Black.  He finished 3-for-4 with three singles and scored a run.  Curt Smith went 2-for-4 for his third multi-hit game of the season.  Brodie Greene, Mark Fleury, and Josh Fellhauer each finished the day 2-for-4 for the Blue Wahoos.
 
Matthew Neil’s double-A debut has to be considered a success.  He allowed two runs on five hits over five innings against a Blue Wahoos team that ranks second in the Southern League in batting with a .260 average.  Neil is now 11-3 in his 24 minor league starts.  Evan Reed pitched the final two innings to improve to 3-1, and now has earned both wins for the Suns in this series. 
 
Coming off his worst outing of the season after he allowed six runs over five innings, Daniel Corcino found his touch against the Suns tossing six innings allowing just two runs on four hits.  He struck out a season-high nine batters, fanning at least one in every inning except the sixth.  Corcino, who has the best fastball in the Reds system, threw 105 pitches on the afternoon.  He’s given up more than three earned runs in a game only once in his nine starts this season.  Clayton Tanner pitched one and a-third innings and gave up the winning run to fall to 0-3 on the season.
 
The series finale is 11:05a.m. Monday morning at the Baseball Grounds.  In a match up of right handers, the Suns will send Omar Poveda (3-1, 5.05) to the mound for his sixth start of the season.  The Blue Wahoos counter with Tim Crabbe (1-2, 4.24).

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