Tag Archives: Mike Zunino

Suns Eliminated From Playoff Contention


Graham Taylor(above)allowed six hits in his final start of the season in the Suns 3-2 rain-shortened six inning loss to the Generals.

Graham Taylor(above)allowed six hits in his final start of the season.  Jacksonville fell 3-2 to the Jackson Generals in six innings at Pringles Park.

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns quest for a playoff birth in the second half of the season came to an end on Saturday night, with a 3-2 loss to the Jackson Generals in a six inning rain-shortened game at Pringles Park.  The loss, combined with the Biscuits 11-4 win over the Stars, eliminated the Suns from playoff contention and vaulted Montgomery to the South Division title in the second half.
After waiting through a 23 minute rain delay prior to the first pitch, the Suns jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Paul Gran hit his fifth home run of the season, a solo blast to left field off of Generals starting pitcher Anthony Fernandez.  It was Gran’s first home run since July 7th.  The Suns have scored the first run in all three games in the series, but have lost all three to fall to 51-25 when crossing the plate first.
The Generals used the long ball to even the score in the home half of the second inning against Suns lefty Graham Taylor.  Kalian Sams belted his 11th round tripper of the season, a solo shot to left field to tie the game 1-1.  
Jackson took the lead for good in the bottom of the third inning when Brad Miller doubled to right field, and Stefen Romero followed with a two-run blast to left-center to make the score 3-1.  Taylor has allowed 18 home runs this season, tied for the most in the Southern League.  The Generals lead the league with 114 home runs, and have had 13 multi-homer games in their last 45 contests. 

In the fifth inning Jake Smolinski led off the inning with his league-leading 78th walk, and Chris Gutierrez singled to put runners on the corners with no outs.  The Generals then summoned Moises Hernandez from the bullpen.  With one out, Kyle Jensen lifted a sacrifice fly to center with Smolinski cruising home to cut the Generals lead to 3-2.

The teams continued to play knowing that severe weather was on the way.  Play was then stopped after Taylor struck out Leury Bonilla to end the sixth inning, and after a delay of 1 hour and 22 minutes due to heavy rain, lightning, and strong wind, the game was ruled complete with Jackson declared the winner.

The Suns have just four wins in their last 14 road games, and fell to 13-20 away from home in the second half.  The Generals continued to improve on the best home record in the league at 44-24, and Jackson has won six straight and 11 of their last 13 games at Pringles Park.

Jose Duarte finished 2-for-2 with a pair of singles for his fifth multi-hit game of the season for the Suns.  Jacksonville left eight runners on base over six innings.  Mike Zunino and Stefen Romero each finished with two hits for the Generals.  Zunino has hit safely in 10 of his first 13 games with Jackson.  Romero has hit safely in 19 of his last 20 games, with eight multi-hit games and six home runs.  He has belted a two-run home run in each of the last two games against the Suns.

Graham Taylor (9-11) allowed three runs on six hits and struck out five over six innings of work.  Taylor finished the season 6-5 at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, and 3-6 on the road.  Moises Hernandez (5-2) tossed two hitless innings for the victory.  He’s the older brother of Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez.

The Suns will send RHP Bryan Evans (6-8, 4.59) to the mound for game four of the series on Sunday afternoon at Pringles Park, with the first pitch slated for 3:05 PM.  RHP Taijuan Walker (7-9, 4.31) will start for the Generals.  The Suns finished with a record of 70-70 during the 2011 campaign, and will need to win their final two games to finish at .500 this season.

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Filed under Ahead Of The Curve, Southern League News

The Suns Fall To Generals 7-3

The Jacksonville Suns fell to the Generals 7-3 at Pringles Park in Jackson, Tennessee August 30, 2012. Photo Courtesy: Jackson Generals

By Steve Kolbe

The Jackson Generals defeated the Jacksonville Suns 7-3 Thursday night in the first game of a five-game series at Pringles Park.  The loss, combined with the Montgomery Biscuits 10-3 win over Huntsville, dropped the Suns one game back in the South Division with four games remaining in the regular season. 

The Suns dented the scoreboard in the first inning against Generals starter James Paxton.  Jake Smolinski led off with a single and Chris Gutierrez followed with a double to start the inning.  Paxton then settled down to strike out both Zack Cox and Ben Lasater.  With two outs, Kyle Jensen delivered with a double off the right field wall with both Smolinski and Gutierrez racing around to score and the Suns had a 2-0 lead.  Jensen is among the league leaders with 77 RBI.  

The Generals didn’t waste any time getting even, and were able to solve Suns starting pitcher Jose Alvarez in the home half of the first inning.  After Alvarez walked Francisco Martinez to start the inning, Brad Miller and Stefen Romero both singled to load the bases with no outs.  This season’s Johnny Bench Award winning catcher Mike Zunino stepped up, and the former Florida Gator lifted a sacrifice fly to deep center field with Martinez coasting home to cut the lead to 2-1.  Alvarez continued to struggle with his control, and a wild pitch allowed Miller to score from third to tie the game 2-2. 

Jackson sent eight men to the plate in the second inning, scoring three more runs to take control of the contest early.  Denny Almonte led off with a single, Francisco Martinez walked, and Brad Miller singled to load the bases for a second straight inning.  Stefen Romero gave the Generals the advantage with a sacrifice fly, with Almonte racing home to make the score 3-2.  Zunino then fell behind in the count to Alvarez 0-2, but went the opposite way for a single to right field with both Martinez and Miller scoring on the play to increase the lead to 5-2.  

Jackson added a run in the fifth on a RBI double by Joe Dunigan, and another in the sixth when Stefen Romero drove in his second run of the night with a single to pad the lead to 7-2.  The top four hitters in the Generals lineup combined for five RBI and scored five times.  

The Suns loaded the bases in the ninth inning with no outs, but scored just one run and fell to the Generals 7-3.  After allowing 15 runs during their five-game winning streak, the Suns have now allowed 14 runs in the last two games.  Jacksonville is 4-8 in the last 12 road games. 

Kyle Jensen finished 2-for-4 and had a hand in all three Suns runs with two RBI and a run scored.  Jensen now has 20 multi-hit games this season.  Brad Miller went 3-for-4 and scored three times for the Generals.  Mike Zunino drove in three of the Generals seven runs.  He has eight RBI in a dozen games with Jackson since being promoted.  The Generals improved to 42-24 at Pringles Park, the best home record in the Southern League.  

Jose Alvarez (6-9) allowed five runs on five hits, walked three and had a wild pitch in 1.2 innings of work, his shortest outing of the season.  Alvarez finished the season with a 2-6 record in his 12 road starts.  James Paxton (9-4) surrendered two runs on four hits over six innings for the win.  Paxton has won six of his last seven decisions, and has just one loss since May 25th.   Logan Bawcom entered the game in the ninth to shut down the Suns rally for his 19th save of the season.

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Filed under Ahead Of The Curve, Southern League News