Tag Archives: Riverwalk Stadium

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 Tie For First In South Division

 

The Suns rallied for a come from behind win for the third straight game in Montgomery, defeating the Biscuits 7-3 at Riverwalk Stadium August 26, 2012. With the victory, the Suns pulled into a tie for first place with the Biscuits. Photo Courtesy: Montgomery Biscuits

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns vaulted into a tie for first place in the South Division of the Southern League, defeating the Montgomery Biscuits 7-3 on Sunday afternoon at Riverwalk Stadium.  The Suns and Biscuits have identical 34-29 records in the second half. 
 
The Suns jumped in front in the second inning against Biscuits starter Kyle Lobstein.  Kyle Jensen led off with a walk, and Danny Pertusati singled to put runners on first and third.  Jose Duarte then lifted a sacrifice fly to left field, with Jensen rumbling home to give the Suns a 1-0 lead.  Duarte would finish the day with three RBI.
 
Jacksonville added a run in the fourth inning against Lobstein. Kyle Jensen led off with his 19th double of the season, and advanced to third on a ground out by Kyle Skipworth.  Danny Pertusati then grounded out, with Jensen hustling home for the second time in the game to make the score 2-0 Suns.  Jensen has scored 15 runs in his last 11 games.
 
The Biscuits broke though against Suns starter Graham Taylor in the home half of the fourth inning.  Derek Dietrich doubled and Greg Sexton singled to put runners on first and third.  After Dietrich scored on a wild pitch by Taylor to put the Biscuits on the board, catcher Mayo Acosta belted a two-run home to put Montgomery in front 3-2. 
 
The Suns came back for the third time in the series in the sixth inning.  Zack Cox hit a ball high off the left field wall just missing a home run, but collected his third double in the last two games to start the inning.  Ben Lasater followed with a double to right-center, with Cox racing around from second to tie the score 3-3.  Kyle Jensen singled to put runners on first and third, and Kyle Skipworth followed with a single to drive in Lasater from third and the Suns had reclaimed the lead 4-3.  In a pivotal play in the inning, Danny Pertusati dropped down a sacrifice bunt moving Jensen to third base and Skipworth to second.  Jose Duarte cashed in by delivering with a single up the middle with the infield in, with Jensen and Skipworth scoring for a 6-3 Suns advantage.  On the play Biscuits catcher Mayo Acosta was injured in a home plate collision with Skipworth and was forced to leave the game.
 
Ben Lasater smashed his second home run of the season in the ninth, a solo blast to add to Suns the lead at 7-3.
 
Graham Taylor (9-10) allowed three runs on nine hits over five innings for the win.  Kyle Lobstein (7-7) surrendered six runs on nine hits in the loss.
 
The Suns can take over sole possession of first place with a win in game four of the series on Monday night, with the first pitch scheduled for 8:05 PM from Riverwalk Stadium.   RHP Brian Evans (5-8, 4.86) will take the mound for the Suns. 
 

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Suns Stun Biscuits 9-6; One Game Out Of First Place

 

Second baseman Alfredo Lopez drove in four runs in the Suns 9-6 win over the Biscuits at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery, Alabama. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe 

The Jacksonville Suns scored seven unanswered runs in a 9-6 victory over the Montgomery Biscuits on Saturday night at Riverwalk Stadium.  The Suns have won the first two games of the five-game series to trim the Biscuits lead in the South Division to just one game.

The Suns dented the scoreboard in the first inning against Biscuits starter Shane Dyer.  Chris Gutierrez singled and scored when Zack Cox doubled to left field to put the Suns up 1-0.  The Suns improved to 49-22 when scoring the first run of the game. 

Montgomery stormed back in the home half of the first against Suns pitcher Matthew Neil.  The first three batters of the inning each singled, with Derek Dietrich driving in Ty Morrison to tie the game at 1-1.  A throwing error by Jose Duarte allowed Shawn O’Malley to score to give the Biscuits the edge 2-1.  Ryan Garko then lifted a sacrifice fly to left, with Dietrich coasting across the plate for a 3-1 Biscuits lead. 

The Suns got one back in the top of the second.  Kyle Jensen led off with a walk, and Jose Duarte singled to put runners on first and third.  Alfredo Lopez delivered with a RBI single, with Jensen scoring to cut the lead to 3-2.  Lopez would finish the night 3-for-3 with four runs batted in.  Suns second basemen have thrived ninth in the batting order in the last two weeks.  The four RBI’s by Lopez are the most by a Suns number nine hitter a game this season.  Dallas Poulk was playing second base and batting ninth when he drove in three runs August 19th against Birmingham. 

The Biscuits scored three more runs on three hits in the bottom of the second off of Neil to take command with a 6-2 lead.  Mikie Mahtook drove in two runs with a double, and Ryan Garko plated another with a sacrifice fly.  Montgomery collected eight hits in the first two innings, then just three singles in the last seven. 

The Suns solved Shane Dyer and pulled even in the third.  Kyle Skipworth drove in two runs in the inning with his 16th double of the season to cut the lead to 6-4.  Kyle Jensen scored on a wild pitch to make the score 6-5, and Alfredo Lopez knocked in a run with a single to even the score 6-6.  

Jacksonville scored three runs in the eighth inning with a two-out rally to take a 9-6 lead.  Lopez drove in two runs with a seeing-eye single up the middle, and Jake Smolinski drove in a run with his 23rd double of the season.  The Suns finished with a season-high 16 hits and tied their season-high for doubles in a game with seven.  Jacksonville had at least one base runner in every inning except the fourth, and every player in the Suns lineup reached base at least once in the game. Paul Gran was the only Suns player without a hit, but he reached base when he was hit by a pitch for a league-leading 18th time this season. 

The Suns had six players record a multi-hit game.  Alfredo Lopez and Jose Duarte each finished with three hits.  Chris Gutierrez, Zack Cox, Kyle Skipworth, and Kyle Jensen each collected two hits in the game.  Lopez drove in four to double his RBI total to eight.  Skipworth drove in a pair of runs and now has 59 RBI’s this season.  Ty Morrison went 3-for-3 and scored two runs for the Biscuits.  Ryan Garko and Mikie Mahtook each drove in a pair of runs for Montgomery. 

The Suns have won six of their last seven games, outscoring opponents 50-33.  Jacksonville improved to 21-14 when using the designated hitter.  After dropping nine of the first 12 games in the season series to the Biscuits, the Suns have won eight straight over their division rival by a combined score of 44-18 with three shutouts.  The Suns are a win away from claiming a series for the first time in three trips to Riverwalk Stadium this season. 

Suns starter Matthew Neil allowed and Biscuits starter Shane Dyer did not figure in the decision.  Neil allowed six earned runs on eight hits in just 1.2 innings, his shortest outing of the season.  Dyer surrendered six runs on eight hits in 2.2 innings of work. 

The Suns bullpen combined to pitch 7.1 scoreless innings.  Edgar Olmos allowed just two singles in 3.1 innings after taking over for Neil in the second inning.  Grant Dayton (2-0) tossed three hitless innings for the Suns in the win.  Chris Rearick (2-1) allowed three runs on five hits over two innings in the loss.  A.J. Ramos pitched the ninth to earn his 20th save of the season.

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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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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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Biscuits Take Over First Place In South

Biscuits first baseman Ryan Garko belted a three-run home run in the sixth inning to lead Montgomery to an 8-3 win over the Jacksonville Suns June 28, 2012 at Riverwalk Stadium. Photo Courtesy: Montgomery Biscuits

 By Steve Kolbe

The Montgomery Biscuits scored five times in the sixth inning on the way to an 8-3 win over the Suns on Thursday at Riverwalk Stadium.  The Biscuits improved to 5-3 in the second half, and took sole possession of first place in the South Division.
 
Before many found their seats, Jake Smolinski hit his second home run of the season, swinging at the first pitch of the game and sending it over the left field wall to put the Suns in front 1-0.  It’s the second time this season that Jacksonville has had their first batter of the game go deep.  Donnie Webb hit a home run against Tennessee while leading off on June 22nd at the Baseball Grounds. 
 
The Biscuits threatened in the third inning when they loaded the bases with only one out.  After falling behind in the count 3-0 to Tyler Bortnick, Suns starter Bryan Evans wiggled his way out of the jam when Bortnick grounded into an inning-ending double play. 
 
Montgomery started another rally in the fifth inning when Mark Thomas reached base with an infield single, and Ty Morrison doubled to put runners on second and third with one out.  Evans then let a pitch get away, hitting Ryan Garko in the batting helmet to load the bases.  Kyeong Kang walked on four pitches, pushing Thomas across the plate to tie the game 1-1.  Bortnick came to the plate with the bases full of Biscuits for the second time in three innings, and came up empty again when he grounded into another inning ending double play.
 
Kyle Jensen gave the Suns a 2-1 lead in the sixth, hammering the first pitch of the inning to deep left-center field for his tenth home run of the season.  Jensen has hit a home run in two straight games, and is the first Suns player to reach double digits.
 
Jacksonville summoned reliever Chris Squires to begin the sixth inning.  He walked the first batter that he faced in his return to the Suns when he gave Tyler Bortnick a free pass.  After Bortnick advanced to second base on a wild pitch, Squires settled down and retired the next two batters he faced.  With two outs, Mark Thomas hit a hard grounder to third and Shawn Bowman’s throw to first sailed over the head of Curt Smith, with Sexton scoring to even the score 2-2.
 
After Hak-Ju Lee was issued an intentional walk, Ty Morrison drove in Thomas with a single to right field to put the Biscuits ahead to stay at 3-2.  Squires then fell behind in the count 3-1 to Ryan Garko and when he tried to challenge him with the fastball, Garko smashed his fifth home run of the season to left-center.  The three-run blast increased the Biscuits lead to 6-2.  Garko has reached base safely in 11 straight games.  Montgomery sent eight men to the plate and scored five runs on three hits in the inning.
 
The Biscuits added to their lead in the seventh inning against Zach Neal, when Greg Sexton hit a two-run home run to make the score 8-3.  Montgomery has scored 54 runs in the first eight games of the second half (over seven runs per game).  The Biscuits improved to 26-3 when they score six or more runs, the Suns have only three victories when they score three or fewer.
 
Jake Smolinski and Jeff Dominguez each had multi-hit games for the Suns.  For Montgomery, Tyler Bortnick extended his team-high hit streak to 14 games with his infield single in the second inning.  Mark Thomas finished 3-for-4 with three singles and scored two runs.  Hak-Ju Lee and Ty Morrison each collected two hits.  Lee extended his hit streak to nine games.
 
The Biscuits leadoff hitters made things difficult for Suns pitchers throughout the night, reaching base in seven of the eight innings (triple, double, two singles, three walks).  The Suns have scored the first run in all three games of the series but have lost twice.
 
Suns starter Bryan Evans (2-5) didn’t figure in the decision after allowing just one run on five hits over five innings.  Chris Squires (0-1) suffered the loss after giving up five runs on three hits in the sixth inning.  Biscuits starter Jake Thompson (5-5) allowed three runs on seven hits and earned the win.  Thompson went 0-4 in his first seven starts of the season, but is 5-1 in his last seven starts.  Neil Schenk allowed just one hit over the final two and two-thirds innings for his first save of the season.
 
Game four of the series is Friday night from Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery with the first pitch scheduled for 8:05 p.m. EST.  The Suns will send LHP Graham Taylor (4-6, 4.54) to the mound for his sixteenth start of the season.  The Biscuits will look to win the series with RHP Joe Cruz (5-6, 4.96) on the hill for his fifteenth start of the year.

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Suns Power Past The Biscuits In 10 Innings

 

Curt Smith and Kyle Jensen each hit home runs, and the Suns scored three runs in the tenth inning for a 5-2 win over the Montgomery Biscuits at Riverwalk Stadium June 27, 2012. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

 By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns hit two home runs to power past the Montgomery Biscuits 5-2 in 10 innings at Riverwalk Stadium on Wednesday night. 
 
The Suns once again jumped on the scoreboard early, when Kyle Jensen led off the second inning blasting his ninth home run of the season to put Jacksonville in front 1-0.   Jensen has hit safely in his last three games.  The Suns offense has started quickly over the last week, scoring in the second inning or earlier in five of the last six games.
 
The Biscuits evened the score 1-1 in the bottom half of the second, when Tyler Bortnick hit his fourth home run of the season off Suns starter Jose Alvarez.  It was just the fourth home run that Alvarez has surrendered in nearly 79 innings of work this season.
 
In the third inning, Jeff Dominguez led off with his eleventh double of the season and scored on Jake Smolinski’s sacrifice fly to left, and the Suns took a 2-1 lead.  With 20 RBI, Smolinski is one of seven Suns players with at least 20 runs batted in this season.
 
Montgomery tied the game in the sixth inning against Suns reliever Kyle Kaminska.  Greg Sexton hit a one out single to left, and Brad Coon doubled to put runners on the corners.   Mayo Acosta then grounded to third, with Sexton beating Shawn Bowman’s throw to the plate to even the score 2-2.
 
The teams combined to leave 21 runners on base in the game, with the Suns stranding nine.  The Suns left the bases loaded twice, and the Biscuits left the bases full three times.  Each team loaded the bases in the ninth inning and failed to score. 
 
Jake Smolinski led off the tenth inning with a walk against Biscuits reliever Kirby Yates.  After Yates retired the next two batters, Shawn Bowman doubled off the wall in left field, with Smolinski scoring to give the Suns a 3-2 edge.   After falling behind in the count 0-2, Curt Smith added some insurance for the Suns by blasting his fifth home run of the season to increase the lead to 5-2. 
 
The win snapped the Suns three-game road losing streak.  Jacksonville improved to 3-2 in extra innings, with all five games played on the road.  The Suns are 3-0 against Montgomery this season when they hit a home run in a game, and 0-4 when they don’t.
 
Shawn Bowman and Jeff Dominguez each had two hits for the Suns.  Curt Smith connected for his fifth home run of the year.  After going without a home run since the first series of the season, Smith has belted four in his last 11 games. 
 
For the Biscuits, Hak-Ju Lee finished 3-for-5 with three singles.  His stolen base in the second inning was the 100th stolen base of the season by Montgomery base runners.  Greg Sexton and Brad Coon each had multi-hit games.
 
Jose Alvarez allowed only one run on seven hits over five innings.  Kyle Kaminska tossed three and two-thirds innings in long relief and allowed a run on four hits.  Suns reliever Corey Madden (2-1) entered the game in the ninth inning with the bases loaded, and struck out Tyler Bortnick to dash the Biscuits hopes.  Madden faced just the one batter in the game to earn his second win of the season.  A.J. Ramos retired the Biscuits in order in the tenth inning for his sixth save of the season.
 
Biscuits starter Kyle Lobstein allowed two runs on two hits in his five innings of work.  Kirby Yates (0-2) allowed two hits in each of his two innings after the Suns had only two hits in the first eight innings of the game.  Yates has two losses this season, both against the Suns.
 
Game three of the series is Thursday night with the first pitch slated for 8:05 p.m. EST.  RHP Bryan Evans (2-5, 3.48) is scheduled to start for the Suns.  RHP Jake Thompson (4-5, 5.26) gets the call for the Biscuits.

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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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