Tag Archives: Omar Poveda

Suns Fall To Biscuits In Slugfest

 

Biscuits shortstop Hak-Ju Lee(above)finished 2-for-5, drove in a run, and also scored in Montgomery’s 7-6 win over the Suns at Riverwalk Stadium June 26, 2012. Photo Courtesy: Montgomery Biscuits

By Steve Kolbe

The Suns first road game of the second half ended up being a slugfest, with Jacksonville coming up short in a 7-6 loss at Riverwalk Stadium on Tuesday night.  The Suns fell to 2-4 this season in Montgomery.

 The Suns jumped out to an early lead in the first inning against Biscuits starter Alex Colome. Donnie Webb led off with a double to right-center, and he scored when Chris Gutierrez doubled to put Jacksonville up 1-0.  The Suns have scored at least one run in the first inning in 22 games this season. 

The Biscuits wasted no time getting on the scoreboard in the home half of the first.  Leadoff man Hak-Ju Lee singled and stole second base.  The Biscuits next stolen base will be their 100th of the season.  Ty Morrison then singled with Lee scoring to tie the game 1-1.  Suns starter Omar Poveda would face only one more batter.  Omar Luna hammered a line drive back up the middle that hit Poveda in the lower left leg, forcing the Suns pitcher to leave the game.   With Suns lefty James Leverton taking over, Kyeong Kang singled to center with two runs scoring to give the Biscuits a 3-1 advantage. 

Jacksonville roughed up Colome in the second inning, sending nine batters to the plate and scoring five runs on four hits to take a 6-3 lead.  Colome committed two balks in the inning, one of which allowed a run to score.  Chris Gutierrez and Paul Gran each drove in a run with a single in the inning, and Kyle Skipworth plated a run with a sacrifice fly. 

Montgomery started chipping away at the Suns lead in the third.  Omar Luna, Ryan Garko, and Tyler Bortnick all singled to load the bases.  Leverton then committed a balk, with Luna scoring to cut the Suns lead to 6-4.  There were three balks called in the first three innings of the game. 

The Suns had a chance to break the game open in the fifth inning when Jake Jefferies doubled, Jeff Dominguez singled, and Aaron Dudley walked to load the bases with no outs.  But the Suns came up empty when Biscuits reliever Alex Koronis retired the next three batters he faced in what would be the turning point of the game. 

In the home half of the sixth inning, the Biscuits rallied against Suns left hander Bobby Bramhall.  With one out and two on, Mark Thomas came through when he doubled off the wall in left field, with Michael Sheridan scoring to bring the Biscuits within one at 6-5.  Hak-Ju Lee then singled with Brett Nommensen rumbling home to even the score at 6-6. 

In the seventh, the Biscuits completed the comeback against Suns reliever Jordan Conley.  Kyeong Kang led off the inning with a double down the left field line.  After Tyler Bornick was hit by a pitch, and Michael Sheridan dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third, the Suns elected to walk Brett Nommensen to load the bases.  Mark Thomas then drove in the go-ahead run with a ground ball to short, with the Suns unable to turn an inning-ending double play, and Kang touched the plate to put the Biscuits in front 7-6. 

The two teams combined for 13 runs on 28 hits.  Jake Jefferies finished 3-for-5 with a double and scored a run.  Jeff Dominguez and Aaron Dudley each had two hits, and Chris Gutierrez drove in two of the Suns six runs.  The Suns collected five doubles in the game, two shy of their season high.  

Montgomery finished with a season-high 14 hits in the game.  Ryan Garko and Kyeon Kang led the Biscuits with three hits each.  Kang has now reached base safely in 12 straight games.  

Jordan Conley (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing one run on three hits in two and two-thirds innings of work. Neil Schenk (3-0) pitched the seventh inning for the win.  Adam Liberatore tossed the final two innings to earn his seventh save of the season.  The Suns threatened in the ninth with Jeff Dominguez and Curt Smith hitting singles to put runners on the corners with two outs.  Liberatore buckled down and struck out Donnie Webb to end the game.

 
Game two of the series is Wednesday with the first pitch scheduled for 8:05 p.m. EST.  LHP Jose Alvarez (2-4, 4.15) will start his 14th game of the season.  After allowing just two singles in eight innings in a 2-0 win over Tennessee, Alvarez was named the Southern League’s Pitcher of the Week.  The Biscuits will send LHP Kyle Lobstein (3-3, 4.7) to the mound for his 15th start of the season.

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Smokies Down Suns To Start Second Half

Suns left fielder Jake Smolinski provided the only offense for the Suns when he hit hit his first home run of the season in the first inning against the Tennessee Smokies June 21, 2012 at the Baseball Grounds. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

 By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns finished the first half of the season 14-21 at home, and began the second half of the season falling to the Tennessee Smokies 3-1 on Thursday night at the Baseball Grounds.
 
The Suns scored their only run of the night in the first inning, when Jake Smolinski hit his first home run of the season off Smokies starter Nick Struck to put Jacksonville in front 1-0.  The Suns have scored at least one run in the first inning 19 times this season, and now have a record of 15-4 when crossing the plate in the first. 
 
The Smokies grabbed the lead in the third inning against Suns starter Omar Poveda.  Logan Watkins led off with a single, and Junior Lake singled behind him.  With one out, Justin Bour singled to right field with Watkins scoring to tie the game 1-1.  Bour leads the Southern League with 53 runs batted in.  Nelson Perez then put the Smokies in front with a sacrifice fly to center field, with Lake cruising home to give the Smokies a 2-1 edge.
 
Tennessee added another run in the fourth inning when Matthew Cerda led off with a single, and later scored on a Logan Watkins RBI single to increase the advantage to 3-1.
 
For the Suns, shortstop Chris Gutierrez went 0-for-4 and his hit streak came to an end at 16 games.  It’s the first time since May 30th that Gutierrez has been held without a hit.  For the Smokies, Junior Lake went 4-for-5 with three singles and a double.  It was his first four-hit game of the season. 
 
Suns starter Omar Poveda (6-3) pitched six innings, allowing three runs on nine hits.  The Smokies had at least one in every inning in the game except the sixth.  Nick Struck (8-6) tossed six innings in the win, and is one of just three Souther League pitchers this season with eight victories.  He allowed just two hits, a single and the solo home run to Smolinski.  Marcus Hatley earned his third save of the season.
 
Game two of the series is set for Friday with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.  LHP Jose Alvarez (1-4, 4.66) takes the mound for the Suns.  RHP Dae-Eun Rhee (4-2, 5.29) will get the start for the Smokies.
 

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Suns Win Series Opener Over Braves

 

The Suns topped the Mississippi Braves 6-3 in the first meeting of the season between the two teams June 13, 2012 at Trustmark Park. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe 

Shortstop Chris Gutierrez increased his hit streak to a dozen games, and the Suns claimed game one of their final series of the first half, with a 6-3 win over the Mississippi Braves on Wednesday night at Trustmark Park.
 
Jacksonville took the lead in the second inning against Braves starter Zeke Spruill.  With one out, Kyle Jensen hit his 11th double of the season, and Kyle Skipworth singled to center behind him to give the Suns a 1-0 lead.  The Suns improved to 25-4 this season when scoring the first run of the game.
 
In the bottom of the second, the Braves drew even on three singles.  After base hits by Todd Cunningham and Joe Leonard put runners on the corners against Suns righty Omar Poveda, a two-out base knock by Barrett Kleinknecht drove in Cunningham to tie the game 1-1.
 
The Suns reclaimed the lead in the third inning helped by some suspect defense.  After Chris Gutierrez doubled and advanced to third on a throwing error by left fielder Tim Smith, Jake Smolinski plated Gutierrez with a ground out, and the Suns had a 2-1 advantage.
 
Once again, Mississippi came right back in the home half of the inning with two extra base hits against Poveda.  Keenan Wiley led off the inning when he tripled off the wall in right field.  A batter later, Joe Terdoslavich doubled to right, with Wiley cruising home to even the score 2-2.
 
In the fourth, Joe Leonard gave the Braves their only lead of the night when he led off the inning smashing his third home run of the season over the right field wall to give Mississippi at 3-2 edge.  The Braves have hit just 22 round trippers this season. 
 
Jacksonville took advantage of two errors in the sixth inning to take the lead for good.  Kyle Jensen walked and Kyle Skipworth singled to put runners on first and third with one out.  Then the Braves came unglued.  Jeff Dominguez hit a grounder that first baseman Joe Terdoslavich couldn’t handle, with Jensen scoring from third base on the miscue to tie the game 3-3.  Skipworth was on the move from first and never stopped, rumbling all the way around to score on a throwing error by right fielder Keenan Wiley, and the Suns were back in front 4-3.
 

The Suns score two insurance runs in the ninth inning against relief pitcher Andrew Russell.  With one out, Paul Gran and Jose Duarte both singled  to put runners on the corners.  Donnie Webb hit a deep fly ball to right field, with Gran scoring on the sacrifice to pad the lead to 5-3.  Gutierrez then completed another big night with his second double of the game, driving in Duarte from third and giving the Suns a comfortable 6-3 lead.  The Suns are 17-0 this season when scoring six or more runs in a game.

For the Suns, Chris Gutierrez finished 2-for-5, drove in a run and also scored.  He extended his hit streak to 12 games with his eighth multi-hit game of the season.  Kyle Skipworth went 3-for-4, with a run scored, and added his 29th RBI of the year.  It’s the third time this season that Skipworth has had three or more hits in a game.  Paul Gran had two singles for his sixth multi-hit game.  Joe Leonard provided most of the offense for the Braves, collecting three of the their seven hits. 

Omar Poveda won his third straight decision to improve to 6-2.  He pitched six and two-thirds innings, allowing three runs on six hits.   Poveda hasn’t lost since being shuffled back to first in the Suns pitching rotation.  Suns All-Star A.J. Ramos entered the game with two outs in the eighth inning, and slammed the door on the Braves the rest of the way for his fourth save of the season. 

Mississippi starter Zeke Spruill suffered the loss to drop to 5-6 on the season.  He allowed four runs, but only one earned, on six hits in his seven innings of work.  He was the victim of the shaky fielding behind him.  Spruill matched his season high by striking out eight Suns batters.

The Suns improved their road record to 18-13.  Overall, Jacksonville has won five of the last seven games.  The Braves have now dropped nine of their last 12, and will finish last in the South Division.

Game two of the series is Thursday from Trustmark Park with the first pitch scheduled for 7:00 p.m. local time.  The Suns will hand the ball to LHP Jose Alvarez (1-3, 4.19) for his 12th start of the season.  The Braves send RHP Gary Moran (1-5, 3.50) to the mound for his 10th start of the year.

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Suns Stop Generals 4-2

Omar Poveda struck out a season-high eight batters in the Suns 4-2 win over the Jackson Generals June 7, 2012 at the Baseball Grounds. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe 

After a 42 minute rain delay, the Jacksonville Suns won their first meeting of the season against the Jackson Generals 4-2 at the Baseball Grounds on Thursday night.  Jackson entered the game winners of eight of their last 10 games, and the Generals 37 victories are the most in the Southern League.  

The Generals broke the ice in the top of the first inning against Suns starter Omar Poveda.  After a lead off single by Denny Almonte and a force out that left Nick Franklin on first base, catcher Jesus Sucre put  Jackson on top 1-0 with a RBI single to center field. 

The lead lasted for just an inning, with the Suns getting to Generals starting pitcher Taijuan Walker in the home half of the second.  After Kyle Skipworth and Paul Gran were retired, Ryan Patterson started a two-out rally with a single.  Jose Duarte singled behind him, with Patterson moving to third base and Duarte advancing to second on a throwing error.  Designated hitter Curt Smith drove in both base runners with the third straight single in the inning to put the Suns ahead 2-1. 

Jacksonville tacked on two more in the third inning against Walker.  Chris Gutierrez and Shawn Bowman singled, and Paul Gran walked to load the bases.  This season the Suns had been 3-for-9 as a team with the bases loaded, and Ryan Patterson alone was 0-for-5.  With two outs, Patterson wasn’t denied this time, driving a single to center field with Gutierrez and Bowman scoring to increase the lead to 4-1. 

The Generals scored their final run of the night in the sixth inning, a lead off home run by Joe Dunigan against Poveda to cut the lead to 4-2, but that would be the final run of the night.  Dunigan’s solo blast to left field tied him with Denny Almonte for the Generals team lead with nine round trippers.  Jackson leads the Southern League with 46 home runs.

The Suns improved their record to 12-19 at the Baseball Grounds, while the Generals are now 17-14 on the road.  Jacksonville is 7-27 when allowing the first run of the game, and Jackson is now  27-7 when crossing the plate first. 

The bottom third of the Suns batting order accounted for all the offense in the win, going 7-for-10 with four runs batted in and two runs scored.  Ryan Patterson went 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored.  Curt Smith and Jose Duarte each finished 2-for-3.  Smith drove in two and now has 20 runs batted in this season.  Duarte recorded his first multi-hit game of the year.  The Suns collected nine hits, all singles. 

Suns starter Omar Poveda pitched a season-high seven innings to improve his record to 5-2.  He allowed two runs on five hits, and struck out a season-high eight batters.  Poveda has won two straight decisions for the first time since April, when he started the season 2-0.  Kyle Kaminska and A.J. Ramos combined to pitch two innings of scoreless baseball, with Ramos closing the door in the ninth for his third save of the season. 

Generals starter Taijuan Walker was hit in his throwing arm when Donnie Webb, the Suns first batter of the game, sent a hard ground ball back up the middle in the first inning.  While that may or may not have factored in the 19-year-old’s early struggles, he tossed his his second-shortest outing of the season, allowing four runs on six hits in just three innings of work.  Walker had allowed a total of 16 runs this season, and Thursday’s loss to the Suns was the first time in his 11 starts that he surrendered more than two runs in a game.   

Game two of the series is Friday at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05PM.  In a match up of left handers, Jose Alvarez (1-2, 4.64) will start for the 11th time this season for the Suns.  Danny Hultzen (6-3, 1.44) will take the mound for his 12th start of the season.  Hultzen ranks first in the league in ERA at 1.44, and he ranks second in strikeouts with 67.

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Suns Late Inning Rally Stuns Blue Wahoos

The Jacksonville Suns scored seven unanswered runs in the final three innings to rally for a 9-6 win over the Blue Wahoos June 2, 2012 at Bayfront Stadium. Photo Courtesy: Pensacola Blue Whaoos

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns hammered out a season-high 14 hits, and used a late inning rally for a 9-6 win over the Blue Wahoos in Pensacola on Saturday night.  The Suns took sole possession of third place in the South Division with the victory. 

The Suns took the lead in the first inning against Blue Wahoos starter Tim Crabbe.  Chris Gutierrez walked to start the game for the second straight night, and German Duran doubled off the left field wall to put runners on second and third with no outs.  Kyle Jensen then gave the Suns a 1-0 lead with a ground ball to the right side of the infield for his 30th RBI of the season.  The Suns improved to 21-5 when scoring the first run of the game.  The Blue Wahoos fell to 4-19 when they allow the first run. 

German Duran increased the Suns lead in the third inning with his second home run of the season, a solo blast to left field for a 2-0 advantage.  Duran finished the game 3-for-5 and a triple shy of the cycle.  He drove in two runs and scored three times. 

Suns starter Omar Poveda allowed just three hits in the first four innings, but struggled in the fifth with the first five Pensacola batters in the inning reaching base.  Pensacola sent 10 men to the plate in the inning and scored six times.  Pinch hitter Stephen Hunt singled and Ryan LaMarre walked to start the rally.  Didi Gregorius hit a ball sharply to first that went under the glove of German Duran and into right field, with Hunt scoring on the error to put the Blue Wahoos on the board.  Brodie Greene gave Pensacola a 3-2 lead when he drove in two runs with a single to center, with LaMarre and Gregorius crossing the plate.  David Vidal drove in a run with a single to increase the lead to 4-2.  The Blue Wahoos used the suicide squeeze with Josh Fellhauer racing home from third, and a sacrifice fly by Mark Fleury to make the score 6-2.  The Suns have allowed six runs in an inning three times this season. 

The Suns started their comeback in the seventh when Donnie Webb doubled to lead off the inning.  With two outs, German Duran singled to right to drive in his second run of the night to cut the lead to 6-3.  Shawn Bowman followed with double, with Duran scrambling all the way from first and it was 6-4 Blue Wahoos.  

In the eighth, the Suns put together the big inning against reliever Justin Freeman sending eight men to the plate and scoring four runs on five hits.  Bowman drove in two runs with his third double of the game.  Webb and Gutierrez each had RBI singles and the Suns grabbed an 8-6 lead. 

Jacksonville tacked on one more in the ninth when Jeff Dominguez doubled and scored on Webb’s sacrifice fly.  German Duran, Shawn Bowman, and Jake Jefferies each finished with three hits.   Bowman’s three doubles tied Jake Smolinski and Paul Gran for the most in a game this season. 

The Suns improved to 10-6 against the Blue Wahoos this season. Jacksonville has won five of the six games played at Bay Front Stadium.  The Suns have won three of their last four games while the Blue Wahoos have lost three straight  and nine of the last 13 games. 

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Suns Slip Past Lookouts 4-3

The Jacksonville Suns won the series finale over the Lookouts 4-3 at AT&T Field May 27, 2012. Photo Courtesy: Chattanooga Lookouts

  By Steve Kolbe 

The Jacksonville Suns took an early lead and won their second straight game, defeating the Chattanooga Lookouts 4-3 in the series finale at AT&T Field on Sunday night. 
 
The Suns started the scoring in the second inning against Lookouts starter Ethan Martin.  Kyle Skipworth singled with one out, and then Kyle Jensen walked on four pitches.  The Suns took a 1-0 lead when Jeff Dominguez singled to right field with Skipworth crossing the plate, and Jensen advancing to third base on the play.  Donnie Webb then drove in Jensen with a sacrifice fly to right field to increase the lead to 2-0.
 
The Lookouts cut into the Suns lead in the bottom of the third against Suns starter Omar Poveda.  Matt Wallach led off the inning with an infield single, and made his way to second on a perfect sacrifice bunt by Lookouts starting pitcher Ethan Martin. Nick Buss then singled to right to put runners on the corners with one out.  After a line out by Luis Nunes, it appeared that Poveda was going to wiggle out of the jam.  But Poveda’s pickoff attempt to first went in the dirt and past  Jeff Dominguez toward the stands, and Matt Wallach huslted home to cut the Suns lead to 2-1. 
 
With a one-run lead and the Suns trying to hand Martin his first lose of the season, the Suns scored two more times in the fifth inning.   Jeff Dominguez led off the fifth with a walk on four pitches, and stole second base to put himself in scoring position.  Donnie Webb then jumped on a 2-2 pitch for a RBI single to center, with Dominguez scoring to pad the Suns lead to 3-1.  Webb advanced to second on the throw to the plate.  Omar Poveda helped his cause with a textbook sacrifice bunt to push Webb to third base, and Danny Black’s sacrifice fly drove in Webb for a 4-1 Suns advantage.
 
The Lookouts added a run in the home half of the fifth inning to get within 4-2.  Nick Buss tripled into the gap in right-center field, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Luis Nunez.  Buss is second in the league with six triples this season.
 
In the sixth inning, Blake Smith led off with a single and Poveda issued a free pass to Pedro Baez on four pitches.  Poveda found his control to strike out Kyle Russell on three pitches for the first out of the inning.  With one out, Jake Lemmerman singled to left with Smith scoring and the Suns lead was down to one, 4-3.  The Suns summoned Corey Madden from the bullpen, and he retired the next two batters to end the inning.
 
Omar Poveda allowed three runs on six hits over five and a-third innings, and struck out a season-high seven batters to improve his record to 4-2.  The Suns bullpen shut down the Lookouts, allowing just one hit over three and two-thirds innings of work.  Evan Reed pitched the ninth to earn his tenth save of the season. 
 
Jacksonville handed Lookouts starter Ethan Martin his first defeat of the season.  Martin and Huntsville’s Tyler Thornburg were the only two remaining starters in the Southern League without a loss.  Martin is now 5-1 after allowing four runs on four hits in his six innings. 
 
With tropical storm Beryl bearing down on Jacksonville, the weather could be a factor for the upcoming homestand.  The Suns are scheduled to begin a five game series against the first place Mobile BayBears on Monday night.
  
 
 
 

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Blue Wahoos Down Suns In Series Finale

Blue Wahoos starting pitcher Tim Crabbe gave up just two hits in six scoreless innings and struck out six against the Suns to earn his second win of the season. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe 

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos used strong starting pitching from Tim Crabbe, and a three-run home run from Yordanys Perez to top the Jacksonville Suns 4-1 on Monday afternoon at the Baseball Grounds.
 
Omar Poveda kept the Pensacola bats silent until the sixth, when he lost his control and walked center fielder Ryan LaMarre on four pitches to lead off the inning.  LaMarre’s 12 stolen bases are third-most in the league, and with Poveda trying to limit his lead from first base, he threw the ball away allowing LaMarre to advance to second on the throwing error.  On the next pitch, Didi Gregorius drove in the first run of the day with a single up the middle, with LaMarre scoring from second base to give Pensacola a 1-0 lead.
 
The Blue Wahoos increased their lead in the eighth inning against Suns reliever Corey Madden.  With one out, Brodie Green and Joel Guzman each singled.  They weren’t on base for long, when Yordanys Perez turned on an 0-2 pitch and hit his second home run of the season to increase Pensacola’s lead to 4-0.   Guzman hit safely in every game in the series going 8-for-21 with 6 RBI. 
 
Perez finished the day 3-for-4 with two singles and the three-run home run.  He tied his career highs for hits and RBI in a single game.  Pensacola has smashed 15 home runs in the month of May, after hitting just 11 in the first month of the season.
 
Suns second baseman Jeff Dominguez hit a solo home run to right field off of reliever Justin Freeman to account for Jacksonville’s only run.  It was his second homer of the season, and first since the opening series of the year, when he hit a three-run home run against Huntsville.  The Suns have now hit a home run in seven of the last nine games. 
 
The win gave the Blue Wahoos their first road series victory of the season, while the Suns have now lost their last three series.  Pensacola is one game below .500 with a record of 22-23 and have moved past the Suns in the standings, with Jacksonville falling to 21-24.  The Suns are 9-16 at the Baseball Grounds, and haven’t won more than two straight home games this season.
 
Omar Poveda suffered the loss even though he allowed just three hits and only one run in six innings of work.  Poveda is now 3-2 on the season.  He struck out six and walked three batters.  Zach Neal and A.J. Ramos each pitched an inning of scoreless ball.  Corey Madden allowed three hits and three runs in the Pensacola half of the eighth.
 
Tim Crabbe pitched six scoreless innings and gave up just two hits to even his record at 2-2, with both of his wins this season coming on the road.  The only hits he allowed in the game were singles by Ryan Patterson and Donnie Webb.  In his last three starts, Crabbe has allowed just ten hits and one earned run over 18 innings.  He earned his first win in nearly a month, with his last victory on April 23rd at Montgomery.  Last season leadoff hitters batted just .167 against Crabbe, and the Suns had their leadoff hitter reach base only once in the game against him.
 
The Blue Wahoos once again relied on the bullpen, using four relievers on Monday.  Curtis Partch, Justin Freeman, and Donnie Joseph each pitched an inning and held the Suns to just one run.  Donnie Joseph tossed the ninth inning to record his Southern League leading tenth save of the season.  Joseph earned a save in all three of the Blue Wahoos wins in the series.
 
The Suns dropped to 4-22 when allowing their opponent to score the first run.  The first run has been a key for the Wahoos as well, with 19 of their 22 wins coming when they cross the plate first.  In the final three games of the series, the Blue Wahoos built leads of 6-0, 3-0, and 4-0.  In the last four games of the series, the Suns had just six hits combined in the first five innings of play, and scored a total of three runs against Blue Wahoos starters.
 
The Suns travel to Chattanooga to open up a five-game set with the Lookouts on Wednesday.  In a match up of southpaws, LHP Jose Alvarez (1-1, 4.23) is set to start his eighth game of the season for the Suns in game one.  LHP Aaron Miller (2-4, 5.65) will start his ninth game of the season for Chattanooga.  The Lookouts outscored the Suns 28-18 and took four-of-five at the Baseball Grounds in April.

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Suns Rally In Ninth For 5-4 Win

The Suns rallied from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Biscuits 5-4 in the series finale at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery, Alabama. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

The Suns rallied in the ninth inning for a 5-4 win over the Biscuits on Tuesday afternoon at Riverwalk Stadium.  Jacksonville scored four times in the final two innings to overcome a 3-1 deficit.

The Suns took the lead in the top of the first inning when Ryan Patterson homered to left to put Jacksonville in front 1-0.  All three of Patterson’s home runs this season have been solo blasts.  The Suns have scored in the first inning in 11 of their 40 games this season with a 9-2 record in those games.

The Suns have scored first in three of the last four games, and improved to 16-2 when scoring the game’s first run.  Montgomery is now 6-17 when allowing the first run of the game.

Montgomery tied the game 1-1 in the fourth inning against Suns starter Omar Poveda when Tyler Bortnick hit his first home run of the season, a no-doubt shot to left field.  The Biscuits have hit 23 home runs this season.

In the sixth inning, the Biscuits took the lead when Hak-Ju Lee led off with a single, was sacrificed to second, and stole third.  The Biscuits lead the league with 54 stolen bases.  Lee scored when Omar Luna grounded out to short to put Montgomery in front 2-1.  After Kyeong Kang tripled to deep center field, Bortnick continued his big day at the plate when he singled to drive in Kang to make the score 3-1.  The Biscuits lead the league with 22 triples this season.

Both starters departed after pitching six innings.  Biscuits lefty Kyle Lobstein allowed three hits and one run.  For the Suns, Omar Poveda allowed five hits and three runs.  In the series, the Suns collected just 11 hits and scored just five runs against the Biscuits starting pitchers, but scored nine runs against the Biscuits bullpen.

The Suns started their late inning comeback in the eighth off of reliever Frank De Los Santos.  Curt Smith hit his eighth double of the season to lead off the inning, and scored on Jake Smolinski’s single to right field to cut the lead to 3-2.  Smolinski is 9-for-21 this season with runners in scoring position.

In the top of the ninth inning, the Suns completed the comeback with catcher Jake Jefferies coming through against his former team.  With relief pitcher Kirby Yates trying to protect the lead, Russell Mitchell drew a one out walk and Jeff Dominguez singled behind him.  That set the stage for Jefferies, who hit a towering three-run home run to right field to put the Suns in front 5-3.  Jefferies is 2-for-6 with three RBI and three runs scored since returning to Jacksonville from New Orleans.

Kyeong Kang led off the bottom of the ninth with a double off of Suns reliever A.J. Ramos, and scored for the the second time in the game when Michael Sheridan singled to center field to cut the Suns lead to 5-4.  With a runner on first, David Wendt’s blast to left was hauled in by Jake Smolinski on the warning track for the second out of the inning.  Ramos then struck out Brad Coon on a 3-2 pitch to end the game.

Jeff Dominguez finsihed the day 2-for-4 and scored a run.  Seven different Suns players had at least one hit in the game.  Ryan Patterson and Jake Jefferies hit the long ball.  After going 13 games without a home run, the Suns have hit four in the last four games. 

Tyler Bortnick entered the game with just three hits in his last 28 plate appearances.  He led the Biscuits on Tuesday going 3-for-4 with two singles and his first home run of the season.  Kyeong Kang was 2-for-4 with a double and a triple.  Kang has 26 hits on the season, with 18 of them for extra bases (eight home runs, eight doubles, two triples).

A.J. Ramos pitched the eighth and ninth, allowing three hits and a run to improve to 2-0 on the season.  Ramos has allowed only two runs this season in his 16 appearances.

The Suns are now 9-7 in one-run games this season and won for the first time when trailing after the seventh inning (1-16).  Jacksonville opens a five game series against Pensacola on Thursday night at the Baseball Grounds with Jose Alvarez (1-1, 3.90) taking the hill for his seventh start of the season.  The first pitch is scheduled for 7:35PM ET.

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BayBears Sweep Suns

Suns starter Omar Poveda pitched six innings against the BayBears allowing just one run on two hits and struck out five. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

The Mobile BayBears defeated the Suns 4-1 on Thursday night at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville to complete a five game sweep and take a five game lead in the South Division. 

The BayBears scored in the fifth inning against Suns starter Omar Poveda when Rossmel Perez led off with a single to center.  David Nick drove in Perez with a single later in the inning to put Mobile on top 1-0.  The BayBears scored the first run in all five games in the series. 

The Suns scored in the seventh off of relief pitcher Yonata Ortega, when Russell Mitchell and Paul Gran both walked and Jake Smolinski drove in Mitchell with a single to center to tie the game 1-1.  The Suns finished with seven hits in the game, all singles.  In the series only three of the Suns 25 hits went for extra bases. 

Mobile took the lead back in the eighth with a two out rally.  After Josh Schmidt retired the first two batters he faced in the inning, Matt Davidson drew a walk.  Brent Clevlen then singled and Marc Krauss was hit by a pitch to load the bases.  Schmidt then walked Alfredo Marte on a 3-2 pitch to force in a run and the BayBears led 2-1.  Mobile added two more in the inning when Yazy Arbelo drove in two runs with an infield single to increase the lead to 4-1. 

In the series the Suns went 2-for-25 with runners in scoring position and were outscored by the BayBears 25-3.  Jacksonville has lost a season high five straight games and seven of the last eight. 

The winning pitcher was Taylor Sinclair (1-0).  Evan Marshall earned his second save of the series and seventh of the year.  Josh Schmidt lost his second straight outing to drop to 1-2.  Suns starter Omar Poveda pitched six innings and allowed two hits and one run. 

The Suns begin a five game series in Montgomery on Friday with the first pitch scheduled for 8:05PM ET.

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Suns Finish Road Trip With 11-7 Win

The Suns won 11-7 in their final visit to Regions Park in Birmingham. Jacksonville improved to 10-5 on the road and tied Mobile for first place in the South Division. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns collected 11 hits to win the series finale over Birmingham 11-7 on Saturday at Regions Park. 

The Suns scored six times in the first inning against Barons starter Cameron Bayne to jump out to a 6-0 lead.  The big hit in the inning was a base-clearing triple by Curt Smith.  Smith was 1-for-4 in the game with three RBI’s.  Kyle Jensen, Chris Gutierrez, and Russell Mitchell also drove in a run apiece in the first.
 
In the fourth the Suns exploded for five more runs and an 11-0 lead.  Kyle Skipworth hit his fifth home run of the season, a three-run blast to right field.  It was the Suns first home run in nine games.   Chris Gutierrez and Shawn Bowman also drove in runs in the inning.
 
The Barons scored three runs on four hits in the fourth to cut the lead to 11-3.  In the fifth inning Birmingham scored four more on four straight hits to make it 11-7.
 
Omar Poveda pitched five innings, allowing 10 hits and seven runs and earned the win to improve to 3-1.  The losing pitcher was Cameron Bayne.  He pitched three and two-thirds allowing 11 hits and 11 runs.  The Suns have won five of their first six series this season.
 
The Suns are tied with Mobile for first place in the South Division setting up a five-game series against the BayBears starting Sunday night at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.  The first pitch is scheduled for 6:05PM with Jose Alvarez on the mound for the Suns.

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