Tag Archives: Omar Luna

Suns Fall To Biscuits; Drop Into First Place Tie

Catcher Mark Thomas drove in the go-ahead runs with a double in the seventh inning, helping the Biscuits top the Jacksonville Suns 7-4 at Riverwalk Stadium August 28, 2012. Photo Courtesy: Montgomery Biscuits

By Steve Kolbe

The Montgomery Biscuits avoided being swept and moved back into a tie for first place, defeating the Jacksonville Suns 7-4 on Tuesday night at Riverwalk Stadium.  The Suns and Biscuits have identical 35-30 records and are tied atop the South Division with five games remaining in the regular season for each team.  

The Biscuits broke the ice against Suns starter Brian Flynn with a two out rally in the third inning.   After striking out Kyeong Kang and Ty Morrison, Flynn allowed singles to both Omar Luna and Shawn O’Malley, and a walk to Mikie Mahtook to load the bases.  Derek Dietrich was then hit by a pitch to force in O’Malley from third to give the Biscuits a 1-0 lead.  The Suns fell to 18-45 this season when allowing the first run of the game.
 
The Suns stormed back in the top of the fourth sending eight men to the plate against Biscuits pitcher Jake Thompson.  With one out, Kyle Jensen walked and Danny Pertusati singled and then advanced a base on a wild pitch.  Jose Duarte then walked to load the bases.  Kyle Jensen scored on Thompson’s second wild pitch of the inning to tie the game 1-1.  After Alfredo Lopez reached base on a single to load the bases again, both Duarte and Lopez came around to score on a throwing error by catcher Mark Thomas to put the Suns in front 3-1.  Chris Gutierrez then drove in his 45th run of the season with a double off the left field wall, with Jake Smolinski scoring to increase the lead to 4-1.
 
The Biscuits had an answer in the fifth with Ty Morrison leading off with a double, Shawn O’Malley hit by a pitch, and Omar Luna hitting a single to left field to load the bases.  Mikie Mahtook drove in a run with a ground out to cut the Suns advantage to 4-2.  Dietrich tied the game 4-4 when he delivered with a single back up the middle, with O’Malley and Luna crossing the plate. 
 
Montgomery grabbed the lead in the seventh against Suns reliever Grant Dayton.  Luna doubled to start the inning, and Dietrich bunted his way aboard to put runners on first and third.  Mark Thomas drove in both base runners with a double down the left field line to give the Biscuits the lead 6-4.  Kyeong Kang increased the lead to 7-4 with a RBI-single later in the inning.  It was his first RBI in his last eight games.  The Suns had outscored the Biscuits 23-11 in the first four games of the series.
 
The Suns five-game winning streak came to an end, a stretch where Suns relievers tossed 18.2 scoreless innings.  Jacksonville has still won eight of the last 10 games.  The Biscuits snapped their five-game losing streak.  The Suns won the season series 13-10.
 
The Suns finished the 2012 campaign 43-41 against division opponents, six more victories than last season.  On the road the Suns are 32-33, and have won seven of their 14 road series this season.
 
Chris Gutierrez and Kyle Jensen each finished 2-for-4 for the Suns.  Gutierrez hit his team-leading 25th double of the season.  Jensen recorded his 19th multi-hit game of the season.  
 
Derek Dietrich and Mark Thomas combined to drive in five runs.  Dietrich finished 2-for-4 with three RBI, and Thomas was 2-for-3 and drove in in a pair of runs.  Omar Luna extended his hitting streak to nine games going 3-for-5 with two runs scored.  He is third in the Southern League in batting and finished the five-game series 10-for-21 with two straight three-hit games.
 
Suns starter Brian Flynn did not figure in the decision for the fourth straight outing.  He allowed four runs on six hits in 4.2 innings.  Grant Dayton (2-1) allowed three runs on four hits in 1.2 innings in the loss.  Biscuits starter Jake Thompson surrendered four runs on eight hits over five innings in the no decision.  He hasn’t won a start since July 14th.  Marquise Fleming (4-5) tossed two hitless innings for the win.  Matt Nevarez struck out two in a perfect ninth to earn a save in his Biscuits debut.
 
The Suns begin a pivotal five-game series in Jackson on Thursday night.   The Generals own the best record overall record in the Southern League (76-59), and the best home record (41-24).   In a match up of left handers, Jose Alvarez (6-8, 3.97) will start his 24th game of the season for the Suns against James Paxton (8-4, 3.05) for the Generals.  
 
The Suns took three of five games from the Generals at the Baseball Grounds earlier this season by a combined score of 20-11 with two shutouts.
 
 
 

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The Suns Are One-Hit, But Win 1-0

Kyle Skipworth’s RBI-single in the fourth inning was the lone hit for the Jacksonville Suns in a 1-0 win over Biscuits starter Matt Buschmann(above)at Riveralk Stadium August 27, 2012. Photo Coutesy: Montgomery Biscuits

By Steve Kolbe 

The Jacksonville Suns were held to just one single and had just three base runners, but blanked the Montgomery Biscuits 1-0 on Monday night at Riverwalk Stadium to take sole possession of first place in the South Division with six games remaining in the regular season.
 
After dropping nine of the first 12 games against the Biscuits, the Suns have now won 10 straight games over Montgomery, outscoring the Biscuits 52-21.  It’s the Suns longest winning streak against any opponent this season.
 
In a pitchers duel, the Suns plated the lone run of the night in the top of the fourth against Biscuits starter Matt Buschmann.  Jake Smolinski drew a leadoff walk, and Zack Cox walked with one out to put runners on first and second.  Smolinski has walked 73 times this season, tied for second-most in the league.  With two outs, Kyle Skipworth hit ground ball on an 0-2 pitch, past the outstretched glove of second baseman Derek Dietrich, and into right field for the RBI-single to give the Suns a 1-0 lead.  Skipworth has just five hits with runners in scoring position and two outs this season (5-for-47 with six RBI).  He has driven in five runs in the series.
 
Fun Fact:  Kyle Skipworth has had the Suns only single in two one-hitters this season.  One win and one loss.  Jacksonville was shutout 1-0 on a one-hitter April 12th by the Chattanooga Lookouts at the Baseball Grounds, with Skipworth collecting a single in the second inning for the only hit of the game against Aaron Miller, Red Patterson, and Shawn Tolleson.
 
The Suns have won five straight, and eight of the last nine games after a season-high seven game losing streak.  The Biscuits have dropped five in a row, and have just three wins in their last 11 outings.
 
The Suns had their steak of scoring at least five runs in a game snapped at eight.  The Biscuits collected seven hits in the game, with six singles and a triple.  The Biscuits had at least one runner on base in every inning except the second, but had more than one base runner in an inning only once.  Omar Luna finished 3-for-4 and has the third-best batting average in the league this season.
 
The Suns have 14 shutouts during the 2012 campaign, doubling their total of seven from last season.  The Suns have held the Biscuits off the scoreboard four times during their 10-game winning streak against Montgomery:
 
*Graham Taylor and A.J. Ramos combined on a 1-0 win over the Biscuits August 3rd. 
*Four Suns pitchers combined on a two-hitter against Montgomery August 4th. 
*Jose Alvarez tossed a complete-game two-hitter in a 4-0 win over the Biscuits August 7th.
 
Bryan Evans (6-8) put together one of his strongest outings of the season.  He threw 92 pitches, 60 for strikes, and allowed four singles and a triple in his seven innings for the victory.  Evans has won four of his last six decisions, with two of the wins coming at the expense of the Biscuits. 
 
Matt Buschmann (6-8) surrendered a lone RBI-single to Kyle Skipworth in the loss.  Buschmann enticed the Suns into 16 ground outs, and allowed just three base runners in the game, all in the fouth inning.  Kirby Yates pitched the ninth for the Biscuits to combine with Buschmann on the one-hitter.
 
The Suns bullpen slammed the door on the Biscuits.  James Leverton allowed a single in the eighth, and A.J. Ramos pitched the ninth to earn his second save of the series and 21st of the season.  Ramos has the second-most saves in the Southern League. 
 
The win didn’t come without some late-inning drama.  Omar Luna led off the home half of the ninth with a single, went to second on a sacrifice bunt, and took third on a wild pitch by Ramos to increase the tension.  Ramos then retired Kyeong Kang on a fly ball to right field to end the game.  Suns relievers have allowed just nine singles in 18.2 scoreless innings over the last five games.
 
Jacksonville has won the first four games of the series by a combined score of 23-11.  The Suns will look to complete the sweep in the series finale Tuesday night from Riverwalk Stadium, with the first pitch scheduled for 8:05 PM.  RHP Brian Flynn (2-0, 3.41) will step on the mound for the Suns.  RHP Jake Thomspson (7-10, 5.30) gets the call for the Biscuits.

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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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Suns Win Fourth Straight Over Biscuits; Tie For Division Lead

Jake Smolinski(above left)and Curt Smith (above right)combined to go 5-for-6 with five RBI’s and five runs scored in the Suns 11-7 win over the Montgomery Biscuits August 6, 2012 at the Baseball Grounds. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

 
The Jacksonville Suns moved into a tie for first place in the South Division of the Southern League, collecting a season-high 15 hits in an 11-7 win over the Montgomery Biscuits on Monday night at the Baseball Grounds.  The Suns began the five game series trailing the Biscuits by four games in the standings. 
 
The Biscuits took the lead in the top of the third inning against Suns starter Brian Flynn.  Mark Thomas legged out an infield single to start the inning and went to second on a pass ball.  With one out, Hak-Ju Lee singled to left field with Thomas scoring from second to put Montgomery in front 1-0.  The Biscuits scored the first run for the second straight game, with Lee providing the RBI both times.  After a single by Ty Morrison put runners on first and third, Mikie Mahtook plated Lee from third with a ground out and the Biscuits were up 2-0. 
 
The Suns evened the score 2-2 in the home half of the third against Biscuits starter Matt Buschmann.  Donnie Webb walked to set up Jake Smolinski, who hit a two-run home run to left-center.  Smolinski entered the season with seven career home runs.  He has hit all five of his homers this season in the last 44 games. 
 
The two teams traded runs in the fourth inning.  Michael Sheridan drove in a run with a RBI double for the Biscuits in the top half of the inning, and Curt Smith countered with a solo home run for the Suns in the home half.  Smith has hit nine home runs this season, with two of them in his last three games in the starting lineup.  The Suns have belted at least two home runs in five of the last nine games, and now have a total of 82 round trippers on the season.
 
Jacksonville batted around in the fifth, scoring five times on four hits to break the game open.  Chris Gutierrez and Zach Cox each drove in a run with a single to give the Suns a 5-3 lead.  Curt Smith plated two more runs with a double, with both Gutierrez and Cox crossing the plate to increase the advantage to 7-3.  An error by third baseman Greg Sexton on a ground ball by Paul Gran then allowed Smith to score for an 8-3 Suns edge.
 
In the sixth inning, after singles by Jake Jefferies and Jake Smolinski, Zach Cox hit a fly ball with left fielder Shawn O’Malley unable to make the catch by the foul line,  going head-over-heels onto the lawn in foul ground, with the ball falling to the ground.  The triple drove in both Smolinski and Jefferies to give the Suns a comfortable 10-3 lead.
 
The Suns and Biscuits again traded runs in the seventh inning.  After the Biscuits loaded the bases on three straight singles against Suns reliever Rett Varner, Ty Morrison drove in his 32nd run of the season for Montgomery with a ground out to cut the lead to 10-4.  Donnie Webb got the run back for the Suns with a double in the home half of the inning, with Paul Gran scoring to make it 11-4 Jacksonville.
 
With Jordan Conley on in relief, the Biscuits made it interesting in the eighth.  Greg Sexton hit a solo home run and Derek Dietrich smashed a two-run home run to cut the Suns lead to 11-7.  After a double by Mark Thomas, left fielder Shawn O’Malley hit a ball deep to right field, with Suns right fielder Danny Pertusati leaping up at the wall to commit highway robbery and deny O’Malley the home run.  A.J. Ramos entered the game to record the final out of the eighth inning, and also pitched the ninth.
 
The Suns and Biscuits combined for 29 hits in the game.  17 of the 18 hitters  in the game with the exception of Suns catcher Kyle Skipworth (0-for-5) had at least one hit.  The top four batters in the Suns lineup combined to finish 8-for-16 with nine RBI’s and seven runs scored.  Eight players in the lineup had at least one of the Suns season-high 15 hits.  Curt Smith went 3-for-4 with three RBI’s.  Jake Smolinski, Chris Gutierrez, Paul Gran, and Jake Jefferies each had two hits.  In his Suns debut, Zach Cox was 2-for-5 with a triple, three RBI’s, and a run scored.  Every player in the Biscuits lineup had at least one hit.  Mark Thomas, Greg Sexton, Omar Luna, and Michael Sheridan each had a multi-hit game for the Biscuits.  Jacksonville has outscored Montgomery 21-8 in the series.
 
Brian Flynn (2-0) allowed three runs on six hits to win his second straight start.  Flynn, a 6-8 left hander, was acquired by the Marlins from the Tigers just before the trade deadline last week.  Matt Buschmann (5-7) surrendered eight runs on eight hits in the loss.  He shutout the Suns 1-0 on May 11th, allowing just one hit over six innings.
 
The Suns have won seven straight games at the Baseball grounds, outscoring opponents 41-21.  It’s the longest home winning streak for the Suns since May 2-14, 2010, when they also won seven in a row.
 
The Suns look to take sole possession of first place with a win on Tuesday.  Jacksonville hasn’t been alone at the top of the division since May 4th in the first half of the season.  The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. from the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.  LHP Jose Alvarez (4-6, 3.74) takes the mound for the Suns.  RHP Nick Barnese (2-0, 4.30) will try to avoid the sweep 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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Biscuits Stay Hot With Win Over Suns

Ty Morrison finished a single shy of the cycle, drove in three runs and scored four others in the Biscuits 8-6 win over the Jacksonville Suns on June 29, 2012 at Riverwalk Stadium. Photo Courtesy: Montgomery Biscuits

By Steve Kolbe

 
The Jacksonville Suns scored three runs in the first inning, but the Montgomery Biscuits tied their season high with 14 hits on the way to an 8-6 win at Riverwalk Stadium on Friday night.  The Biscuits have reached double-digit hits in all four games of the series, and have out hit the Suns by a total 49-35.
 
The Suns started quickly when Biscuits starter Joe Cruz struggled with his control, allowing the first four batters to reach base in the opening inning.  Donnie Webb walked on four pitches, Chris Guierrez singled, and Jake Smolinski walked to load the bases before Cruz recorded an out.  Kyle Jensen drew a walk on four straight pitches, forcing in Webb to put the Suns up 1-0.  Jensen increased his team-leading RBI total to 38, with 10 of them coming with the bases loaded.  Kyle Skipworth knocked in Gutierrez from third with a ground out to the right side to make the score 2-0.  After Paul Gran popped out, Jake Jefferies hit a ground ball to first baseman Michael Sheridan that went under his glove and into right field, with Smolinski scoring on the error to build the Suns lead to 3-0.  The Suns have scored first in all four games of the series but have just one win.
 
Montgomery countered in the bottom of the first against Suns starter Graham Taylor.  Leadoff man Hak-Ju Lee singled to center on a two strike pitch and Ty Morrison doubled down the third base line, also on a two strike pitch, to put runners on second and third with no outs.  Ryan Garko drove in Lee from third with a sacrifice fly, and Tyler Bortnick plated Morrison with a single up the middle and the Suns lead was cut to 3-2.  Hak-Ju Lee has had a lead off hit in all four games in the series for the Biscuits.
 
Cruz entered the game with the second-most walks in the league, and struggled to find the plate again in the second when he walked Jeff Dominguez and Donnie Web.  Cruz then threw a wild pitch, and catcher Mark Thomas added to the trouble when his throw to third base went into left field, with Dominguez scoring to increase the Suns advantage to 4-2.  In the first two innings, Jacksonville scored four runs on just one hit, five walks, a wild pitch, and an error.
 
The Biscuits began their comeback in the third inning when Ty Morrison led off with a walk and Omar Luna doubled down the third base line, with Morrison motoring all the way around from first to cut the lead to 4-3. 
 
In the fourth inning, Montgomery took the lead for good by scoring three runs on four hits against Taylor, all with two outs.  Brett Nommensen singled and went to second on a ground out.  Hak-Ju Lee then drove in Nommensen with a single to right field to tie the game 4-4.  Ty Morrison continued his big night when he hit a two-run home run over the right field fence to give Montgomery a 6-4 edge.  It was Morrison’s second round tripper of the season, and the Biscuits third home run in the last three games.
 
With Suns reliever Alan Oaks on the mound in the sixth the Biscuits scored two important runs, again with two outs.  Lee singled and scored when Morrison tripled into the gap in left-center and it was 7-4 Biscuits.  Omar Luna came through with a two-out single, with Morrison coasting across the plate to make the score 8-4.  Montgomery has rallied to tie or take the lead after falling behind in all four games in this series.
 
With Biscuits closer Adam Liberatore on the hill in the ninth, Paul Gran singled and Curt Smith hit a two-run home run to make it 8-6, but that’s as close as the Suns would get.  Smith has hit three home runs in his last five games.  The Suns as a team have hit 14 round trippers in the last 13 games.
 
Montgomery has won five of the last six games, while the Suns have dropped seven of their last 11 contests.  Friday night’s not alright, with Jacksonville just 3-10 in games played on Friday.
 
Curt Smith finished 3-for-5 with two RBI and Jake Smolinski was 2-for-4.  The Suns finished with seven hits, six of them singles, and until the ninth didn’t have more than one hit in any of the first eight innings of the game.  The Suns tied their season high by walking 10 times, with Donnie Webb and Kyle Jensen each issued three free passes. 

The top three batters in the Biscuits lineup combined for nine of the 14 hits on the night.  Hak-Ju Lee, Ty Morrison, and Omar Luna each finished with three hits apiece.   Lee extended his hit streak to 10 games.  Morrison had a double, triple, and a home run to finish a single away from the cycle.  Morrison accounted for seven of the Biscuits eight runs, scoring four times and driving in three others.  Tyler Bortnick singled in the first inning to extend his hit streak to 15 games, one away from tying for the longest streak in the Southern League this season (Chris Gutierrez and Henry Rodriguez).  Every player except left fielder Kyeong Kang    (0-for-4) reached base at least once in the game for Montgomery. 

Graham Taylor (4-7) allowed six runs on 10 hits over five innings and has lost three of his last four decisions.  Montgomery had been tough on lefties, with a record of 17-7 against southpaws this season.  Taylor fell to 1-4 in eight road starts this season, with his lone win April 23 at Mobile.  Friday’s game was the fourth time this season that Taylor has surrendered six or more runs in an outing.  Biscuits starter Joe Cruz (6-6) allowed four runs on four hits and earned the win despite walking seven batters in five innings.  Cruz improved to 4-1 at home, and has won four straight decisions overall after winning just twice in his first 10 starts of the season.

The series finale is Saturday night from Riverwalk Stadium with the first pitch set for 8:05 p.m.  RHP Matthew Neil (1-2, 5.05) gets the nod for the Suns.  RHP Nick Barnese (0-0, 4.50) will make his second start of the season for the Biscuits. 

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Filed under Ahead Of The Curve, Southern League News