Tag Archives: Merrill Kelly

Suns Flex Their Muscles In Win Over Biscuits

 

Kyle Jensen hit a grand slam, and the Suns rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Biscuits 6-2 at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery August 24, 2012. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Montgomery Biscuits 6-2 on Friday night to claim the first game of a pivotal five-game series at Riverwalk Stadium.  Jacksonville is now just two games behind Montogmery in the South Division.  After dropping nine of the first 12 games of the season against the Biscuits, the Suns have won seven straight in the season series by a combined score of 36-12.
 
The Biscuits dented the scoreboard in the third inning against Suns starter Jose Alvarez.  After Mark Thomas was hit by a pitch and Mikie Mahtook walked, Ryan Garko drove in his 38th run of the season with a single to left field with Thomas scoring to put the Biscuits in front 1-0.  Montgomery had a record of 15-4 at home when scoring the first run of the game.  Jacksonville won for just the 18th time when allowing the first run.
 
Montgomery tacked on another run in the home half of the fourth inning.  Omar Luna led off with a doubled and Michael Sheridan singled, with Luna advancing the third base.  Mark Thomas then lifted a sacrifice fly to center, with Luna crossing the plate to increase the Biscuits lead to 2-0.
 
The Suns managed just a single by Ben Lasater in the first four innings against Biscuits starting pitcher Merrill Kelly.  But once again the Suns used the long ball in the comeback.  Kyle Skipworth led off the fifth inning with a solo home run to cut the lead to 2-1.  Skipworth has 20 home runs this season, with four of them at the expense of the Biscuits pitching staff.
 
Kelly ran into trouble in the sixth inning when Alfredo Lopez was hit by a pitch, Jake Smolinski walked, and Chris Gutierrez singled to load the bases with no outs.  Montgomery made the call to the bullpen and summoned C.J. Reifenhauser, and he was able to entice Zack Cox into a force play, but the Suns still had the bases full.  Ben Lasater then delivered with a sacrifice fly to right field, with Smolinski racing in from third to even the score 2-2.  After a mound visit from Biscuits pitching coach R.C. Lichtenstein, the stage was set for the Suns to flex their muscles on the road.  Rieferhauser tried to sneak a fastball past Kyle Jensen, who cleared the bases when he smashed his 23rd home run of the season over the high left field wall to put the Suns up 6-2.  It was the Suns 100th home run of the season.  Kyle Jensen has hit a homer in five straight games, and he joined Kyle Skipworth as the only Suns players with a grad slam this season, with both coming on the road.
 
Kyle Jensen went 2-for-4 for his third straight multi-hit game and 16th of the season.  Jensen is third in the league with 75 RBI, and he’s tied for second with 23 home runs, one behind Joe Dunigan of the Jackson Generals.  Jensen has a dozen hits against the Biscuits this season, five of them have been round trippers.   Kyle Skipworth belted his 2oth home run of the season and scored two runs for the Suns.  He has 10 hits this season against the Biscuits, including three home runs.
 
Ryan Garko led the Biscuits going 3-for-4 with three singles.  Omar Luna, Michael Sheridan, and Mark Thomas each collected two hits for Montgomery in the loss. 
 
Jacksonville improved to 10-9 in the season series against Montgomery, and won for just the fourth time at Riverwalk Stadium in 11 games.  The Suns had been outscored 29-13 during a six game road losing streak.
 
The Suns are 20-14 when using the designated hitter, 10-9 against Montgomery.  The Biscuits have lost five of ther last eight games, and their magic number to claim the second half in the South Division remains at eight. 
 
Jose Alvarez (6-8) tossed 101 pitches allowing two runs on 10 hits in the win, with nine of the hits singles.  Omar Luna’s double was the only extra base hit of the game for the Biscuits.  Alvarez won for just the second time on the road this season (2-5).   He is 2-0 this season in his four starts against Montgomery.  Merrill Kelly (7-3) surrendered four runs on just three hits over five innings of work.  Two of his three losses this season have been to the Suns.
 
Game two of the series is Saturday night with the first pitch slated for 8:05 PM from Riverwalk Stadium.  RHP Matthew Neil (2-7, 4.34) will take the mound for the Suns.   LHP Kyle Lobstein (7-6, 4.02) gets the start for the Biscuits.
 

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Graham Taylor Shines In Shutout Over Biscuits

 

Graham Taylor earned his third shutout of the season, allowing seven singles over eight innings in the Suns 2-0 win over the Biscuits at the Baseball Grounds August 3, 2012. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

 By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns returned home with the stage set for a show down with first place Montgomery, and Graham Taylor delivered a dominating performance leading the Suns to a 2-0 win over the Biscuits Friday night at the Baseball Grounds.  With the Suns claiming the first game of the five game series, the Biscuits lead in the South Division has been cut to three games.
 
The Suns scored all the runs that Taylor would need in the home half of the fourth inning against Biscuits starter Merrill Kelly.  With one out, Kyle Skipworth walked to start the rally and designated hitter Kyle Jensen singled to put runners on first and third.  Shawn Bowman drove in the first run of the game with a single to left center, with Skipworth racing home to put the Suns on top 1-0.  It was Bowman’s 45th RBI of the season, and his first since July 19th.  Ben Lasater then collected the Suns third straight single in the inning, with Jensen scoring for a 2-0 lead.  Lasater has driven in three runs in his last three games.  The Suns have scored the first run of the game in seven of the last eight, and are 42-18 when they cross the plate first.
 
By blanking the Biscuits for the first time in 2012, Jacksonville now has nine shutouts this season.  Montgomery was shutout for the first time since May 28th, a span of 57 games.  It’s just the third time this season that the Biscuits have been kept off the scoreboard, with the Mississippi Braves doing the honors the previous two times (April 13th 4-0 and May 28th 6-0).
 
The Suns have won four straight at the Baseball Grounds, outscoring their opponents 22-13.  Overall, the Suns improved to 13-7 in their last 20 games. 
 
Chris Gutierrez went 2-for-3, and now has at least one hit in five straight games and nine of his last 11.  Omar Luna led all hitters going 3-for-4 with three singles.  Mike Mahtook also collected two hits for the Biscuits to increase his hitting streak to eight games.  Montgomery shortstop Hak-Ju Lee singled to extend his on-base streak to 46 games dating back to June 11th.  Suns catcher Kyle Skipworth threw out both would-be base stealers on the night, including Hak-Ju Lee, who entered the game with 37 stolen bases and had been caught only eight times.
 
For the second straight night, the Suns starting pitcher went eight innings.  On Thursday, Jose Alvarez pitched a complete game in a 1-0 loss at Mobile.  On Friday, Graham Taylor (7-8) threw 101 pitches and scattered seven singles in the win.  In his last four starts, Taylor has allowed just three runs over 27 innings of work, and he has won his last three decisions.  Biscuits starter Merrill Kelly (6-2) allowed two runs on five hits in the loss.  He is 6-0 as a reliever, and 0-2 as a starter this season.
 
Closer A.J. Ramos entered the game to pitch the ninth, and surrendered a leadoff single to Omar Luna.  Ramos then struck out both Derek Dietrich and pinch hitter Kyeong Kang, and enticed Brett Nommensen to ground out to second to end the game.  Ramos is tied for second in the Southern League with 16 saves.
 
The Suns will look to make it two in a row over the Biscuits on Saturday with the first pitch scheduled for 6:05 PM from the Baseball Grounds.  RHP Matthew Neil (1-6, 5.08) takes the mound for the Suns.  He has lost his last six decisions.  LHP Kyle Lobstein (6-6, 4.03) will start his 22nd game of the season for Montgomery.
 

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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 And Biscuits Split Twin Bill

The Jacksonville Suns and Montgomery Biscuits split a doubleheader at Riverwalk Stadium on May 13, 2012. The Suns won game one 6-2 and the Biscuits claimed the night cap 7-1. Photo Courtesy: Montgomery Biscuits

By Steve Kolbe 

The Suns and Biscuits split a doubleheader on Sunday May 13th at Riverwalk Stadium with Jacksonville winning the first game 6-2, and Montgomery claiming game two 7-1.
 
In the first game of the day, the Suns took the lead in the fourth inning off of Montgomery starter Jake Thompson. Dallas Poulk led off the inning with a single, and later scored when Kyle Jensen sent a sacrifice fly to center to put Jacksonville in front 1-0.  The lead was short lived, with Montgomery sending eight men to the plate and scoring twice with two outs in the bottom half of the fourth .  At one point, five straight batters reached base in the inning against Suns reliever Bobby Bramhall, with Greg Sexton and Brad Coon each driving in a run with and RBI single for a 2-1 Biscuits advantage.
 
The Suns took the lead for good in the fifth inning when Russell Mitchell led off with a single, and Jake Jefferies followed with a double to put runners on second and third.  Chris Gutierrez then drove in his ninth run of the season with a sacrifice fly to tie the game 2-2, and Jake Smolinski singled to knock in Jefferies with the go-ahead run and give Jacksonville a 3-2 lead.
 
Suns designated hitter Kyle Jensen hit his fourth home run of the season in the sixth, when he jumped on the first pitch from relief pitcher Marquis Fleming and sent it over the right field wall to increase the Suns lead to 4-2..  It was Jensen’s fourth home run of the season.  Later in the inning, Donnie Webb drove in Ryan Patterson with a sacrifice fly and Dallas Poulk added an RBI single with Jefferies scoring to expand the lead to 6-2.

Suns catcher Jake Jefferies slides in safely just ahead of the throw to Biscuits catcher Mark Thomas in the Suns 6-2 win in the first game of the doubleheader. Photo Courtesy: Montgomery Biscuits

The win snapped the Suns six game losing streak.  Jacksonville had four extra-base hits in the game, one more than their total in the previous six games.  The Suns improved to 15-1 when scoring the first run of the game.
 
Corey Madden (1-0) pitched an inning and a third to earn his first win of the season.  Bryan Evans, who beat Montgomery for his first career double-A victory last August, started game one of the twin bill for the Suns.  Evans was forced to leave the game after he was injured on a play at the plate in the first inning, when he was sent into the air and landed on his back after tagging out the runner Ty Morrison.  Biscuits starter Jake Thompson (0-4) dropped his fourth straight game to fall to 0-4 on the season.  He allowed three runs on five hits in four and two-thirds innings of work. 
 
In the night cap, the Biscuits used the big inning to defeat the Suns 7-1.  Montgomery jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the third inning against Suns starter Zach Neal, when David Wendt tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Emeel Salem. 
 
Montgomery broke the game open by scoring five times in the fifth inning to increase the lead to 6-0.  The big hit in the inning was a fly ball to left field off the bat of Kyeong Kong with the bases loaded.  Three runs scored when Jake Smolinski fell down trying to make the tough catch and was given an error on the play.  Tyler Bortnick and Emeel Salem also drove in a run in the inning against Neal and reliever Wade Korpi. 
 
The Suns scored their only run of the second game when Paul Gran walked in the sixth inning and then scored on a ground out by Smolinski.  The Biscuits tacked on a run in the bottom half of the sixth, when David Wendt singled and was driven in by Ty Morrison.  Wendt finished the game 3-for-3 with three runs scored.
 
Alex Koronis (1-0) pitched two innings for his first win of the season.  Spot starter Merrill Kelly, normally a long reliever, and two relief pitchers combined to allow the Suns just three hits in the seven inning game.  Zach Neal (2-5) pitched four and two-thirds innings and suffered his fourth straight loss after allowing just one earned run.
 
Game four of the series is set for Monday night at Riverwalk stadium with the first pitch scheduled for 8:05PM ET.  LHP Graham Taylor (2-3, 4.81) will start his eighth game of the season for Jacksonville.  RHP Shane Dyer (4-2, 2.18) takes the mound for Montgomery for his eighth start of the year.

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