By Steve Kolbe
By Steve Kolbe
By Steve Kolbe
The Jacksonville Suns built a 4-0 lead over the Jackson Generals at the Baseball Grounds on Saturday night, when rain stopped the play and eventually suspended the game in the bottom of the fourth inning. Saturday’s game will be completed beginning at 3:05 p.m. Sunday afternoon, with the Suns and Generals playing their regularly scheduled game Sunday night. Game two will be a seven-inning contest.
The Suns came out swinging in the first inning against Generals starter Steve Garrison. Donnie Webb and Chris Gutierrez led off the game with singles, and with the first two batters the Suns had matched their hit total from Friday night’s 1-0 loss. After a force out, third baseman Shawn Bowman drove in his 29th run of the season with a sacrifice fly, with Webb scoring to put the Suns in front 1-0.
Jacksonville added three more runs in the second, all with two outs. Paul Gran singled to start the rally, and scored on Ryan Patterson’s double to increase the lead to 2-0. Donnie Webb then smashed a two-run home run over the left field fence to give the Suns a 4-0 advantage. Webb has hit two round trippers in his last four games.
Suns starting pitcher Bryan Evans began the game in search of his second straight win. He retired the first seven batters he faced, and allowed just two hits in four innings. Generals starter Steve Garrison allowed four runs on seven hits and was on the mound in the bottom of the fourth with one out when the skies opened.
In the second game on Sunday, LHP Graham Taylor (3-5, 4.93) will start his 13th game the season for the Suns. RHP Taylor Stanton (1-1, 7.56) takes the hill for the Generals for his third start of the year.
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.
By Steve Kolbe
Pensacola tacked on another run in the eighth inning on a RBI ground out by Chris Berset, and the Blue Wahoos had a 9-2 win. It’s the sixth time this season that the Suns have allowed eight runs or more, with the Blue Wahoos accomplishing the feat three times. Pensacola has won consecutive games for the first time in over two weeks, last winning two contests in a row in Jacksonville May 18-19.
It’s the third time this season that the Blue Wahoos have scored nine or more runs in a game, they also had a 9-3 win over the Suns April 26th at the Baseball Grounds. The seven run win is the second largest margin over victory that Pensacola has had in a game this season, second only to an 8-0 win over Birmingham May 12th at Bayfront Stadium.
Suns pitcher Graham Taylor had his shortest outing since his first start of the season, when he allowed six runs in four innings against Chattanooga. Taylor surrendered six runs (5 ER) on ten hits in his four innings of work on Tuesday and fell to 3-5 on the season. Zach Neal came out of the bullpen, allowing three runs on four hits in the final four innings of the game.
Blue Wahoos starter J.C. Sulbaran allowed two runs on seven hits over six and a-third innings to improve his record to 4-4. Sulbaran struck out 10 Suns batters to earn his first win over Jacksonville this season in four starts. Relievers Wilkin De La Rose and Clayton Tanner finished the job, allowing just one hit in the final three innings. Pensacola pitchers fanned 14 Suns batters on Tuesday, and in the series Blue Wahoos hurlers have 49 strike outs in four games.
For the Suns, Donnie Webb and Jeff Dominguez each finished with two hits, with Webb driving in his 15th run of the season. Ryan Patterson, Curt Smith, Kyle Jensen, and Kyle Skipworth each had one hit. The Blue Wahoos collected 14 hits. Five players had multi-hit efforts and seven players scored at least one run for Pensacola. David Vidal finished 3-for-3, drove in a run, and scored twice. Andrew Means went 3-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored. Ryan LaMarre and Brodie Greene each had two hits and two RBI. Didi Gregorius added a pair of hits to extend his hit streak to eight games. It’s his second streak of at least eight games this season.
The rubber match of the series is Wednesday night with the first pitch scheduled for 8:00 p.m. from Bayfront Stadium in Pensacola. RHP Matthew Neil (0-0, 5.49) will start his fourth game of the season for the Suns. RHP Daniel Corcino (2-3, 3.79) is set to take the mound for the Blue Wahoos.
By Steve Kolbe
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.
By Steve Kolbe
The Jacksonville Suns won their second straight game over the Barons with an 8-6 victory in 12 innings on Wednesday afternoon. The Suns are a season-high five games over .500 with a record of 16-11, and have sole possession of first place in the South Division.
In the 12th inning, Ryan Patterson led off with a walk. Curt Smith then drove in his second run of the day with a double to center with Patterson scoring to give the Suns a 6-5 advantage. Donnie Webb drove in a run with a sacrifice bunt to increase the lead to 7-5, and Jake Smolinski plated a run in the inning with his third double of the game. The Suns improved to 2-0 in extra inning games this season. During the 2011 campaign, the Suns led the Southern League with 10 extra inning wins.
Overall, seven of Jacksonville’s 13 hits were doubles. Jake Smolinksi finsihed 4-for-6 with three doubles, two runs scored, and a run batted in. Dallas Poulk wednt 3-for-7 with two doubles and scored a run. Kyle Jensen and Curt Smith each had two hits and two runs batted in. It’s the second time this season that Smolinski has had three doubles in a game to come within one of tying the Southern League record for most doubles in a single game. He had three doubles against Huntsville April 7th.
Suns starter Bryan Evans pitched five-and-a-third innings, allowing two hits and three runs(two earned). Kyle Kaminska was the winning pitcher to improve his record to 4-1. He tossed two innings, allowing just two hits and struck out two. Evan Reed pitched the 12th inning to notch his league-leading eighth save of the season. Six Suns pitchers combined to strike out a season-high 17 Birmingham hitters.
The Suns will look to continue their winning ways on Thursday night with RHP Zach Neal (2-2, 2.16) on the mound. Neal’s 2.16 ERA has him among the league leaders. LHP Pedro Hernandez (2-1, 3.24) is scheduled to start for the Barons.
The Pensacola Blue Wahoos topped the Jacksonville Suns 9-3 on Thursday night at the Baseball Grounds. The win snapped the Suns five-game winning streak over the Wahoos.
Pensacola jumped out to a lead in the first inning when Ryan LaMarre and Henry Rodriguez both singled, and with one out Joel Guzman doubled to left to drive in the first run. A batter later it was 2-0 when Rodriguez scored on Brodie Greene’s ground out. It was a tough first inning for Suns starter Bryan Evans. He allowed three hits, two runs, and walked a batter.
In the bottom of the inning Jacksonville cut the lead in half when Ryan Patterson singled, stole second, and scored on a throwing error by Pensacola catcher Mark Fleury. The Suns took the lead in the third inning when Patterson and Kyle Skipworth both walked and came around to score when Russell Mitchell doubled into left to give Jacksonville a 3-2 advantage. Patterson has scored four runs in the last two games.
That Blue Wahoos scored the next seven runs in the game. Pensacola sent nine men to the plate in the fourth and scored three runs to take a 5-3 lead. Josh Fellhauer, Mark Fleury, and Mark Serrano all walked and scored in the inning. In the game, the Wahoos drew eight walks and five of them came around to score.
Pensacola scored two more in the sixth and seventh innings to build a 9-3 lead. Joel Guzman finished 4-for-5 and drove in three runs. Henry Rodriguez went 4-for-5, scored two runs and drove in another. 11 of the Blue Wahoos 12 hits in the game were singles.
The Suns were held to four hits in the game. Russell Mitchell drove in two of Jacksonville’s three runs, the other was unearned. The Suns dropped to 1-9 this season when allowing the game’s first run.
Bryan Evans dropped to 0-2. He pitched three and two-thirds innings, allowing five hits and five runs but only two were earned. Evans walked five and struck out two. The winning pitcher was Mark Serrano. He tossed three scoreless innings to improve to 2-0.
Game three of the series is Friday night with Zach Neal (2-1, 1.42) taking the mound for the Suns. The Blue Wahoos counter with Daniel Corcino (0-1, 4.12).
By Steve Kolbe
The Suns returned to Jacksonville after winning seven games on their 10-game road trip and picked up right where they left off, downing Pensacola 6-5 at the Baseball Grounds.
Kyle Skipworth put the Suns in front 1-0 in the second inning with a solo home run off of Blue Wahoos starter Pedro Villarreal. Skipworth has hit three of his four round-trippers this season against Pensacola. Curt Smith walked later in the inning and scored when Ryan Patterson doubled to left field to increase the lead to 2-0. On a wild play, Jose Alvarez hit a ball back to the pitcher with Donnie Webb on first. It bounced off of Villarreal, and started a double play in which Webb and Alvarez were both tagged out on a base running miscue. Patterson scored from second on the play to make it 3-0.
In the fourth inning, Kyle Jensen singled with one out and scored on Patterson’s second double of the night for a 4-0 Suns lead. A batter later it was 5-0 when Donnie Webb hit his second triple of the season to drive in Patterson. It was Webb’s third run batted in of the season. Patterson has now driven in six runs on the year.
Suns starting pitcher Jose Alvarez was cruising along into the sixth inning. He had retired 15 straight Pensacola batters after Ryan LaMarre doubled to lead off the game. But in the sixth, the Blue Wahoos were able to get to Alvarez when Brian Peacock led off with a single, and that was followed by a double by Yordanys Perez. A sacrifice fly by LaMarre plated the first of four runs in the inning for the Blue Wahoos and what was a comfortable Suns lead was gone with the score 5-4. Didi Gregorius had a single to drive in a run in the inning, and Henry Rodriguez drove in his 12th run of the season with a double. Gregorius has hit safely in 11 of his last 12 games.
After Garrett Parcell pitched the eighth inning for the Suns, Evan Reed took over in the ninth inning for Jacksonville looking to secure the win for his sixth save of the season. The leadoff man in the inning Cody Puckett popped up into shallow right field and second baseman Dallas Poulk dropped the ball and Puckett ended up on second. It was the Suns third error of the game and a costly one. Two batters later Brian Peacock drove in the game-tying run with a single to even the score 5-5.
In the home half of the ninth, Donnie Webb led off against relief pitcher Justin Freeman with his second triple of the night. After an intentional walk to pinch hitter Paul Gran, Pensacola manager Jim Riggleman brought his center fielder into the infield to give the Blue Wahoos five players in the infield with the game-winning run at third for the Suns with no outs.
What happened next was a moment that could have been taken right from a Hollywood script. Dallas Poulk, who had committed that error earlier, came to the plate with a chance to give the Suns the win. He didn’t disappoint. After falling behind in the count no balls and two strikes, Poulk launched a single into center field to give Jacksonville the walk-off win 6-5. It was one of those moments that can be frozen in time for a player in just his third game with his new team. It was just the third run that the Suns have scored in the ninth inning in 21 games this season.
Jose Alvarez pitched five-and-a-third innings, allowing four runs on five hits and didn’t figure in the decision. He struck out six and didn’t walk a batter. Evan Reed allowed one hit and one unearned run in the ninth to earn his first win of the season. The losing pitcher was Justin Freeman. He entered the game having allowed only two runs this season, but he allowed the game winning run on two hits on Wednesday to fall to 2-2 on the season.
Donnie Webb had a perfect night going 3-for-3 with two triples, a run batted in, and a run scored. Overall this year, the Suns have hit five triples, and Webb has hit all three of his against Pensacola. Ryan Patterson also had a big night at the plate going 2-for-4 with two doubles, two runs batted in, and two runs scored. Kyle Jensen finished 2-for-4 and scored a run.
The Suns have won five straight over the Blue Wahoos after dropping the first-ever meeting against their new in-state rival. Five of the first six meetings this season between the two teams have been decided by a single run, with Jacksonville winning four of them. Jacksonville improved to 10-1 when scoring the game’s first run. The Suns have won eight of their last 11 games, while the Blue Wahoos have just three wins in their last 11 contests.
The win, combined with Mobile’s 8-7 loss to Chattanooga in 12 innings, leaves the Suns alone atop the Southern League South Division. With 12 wins in the month, Jacksonville already has more wins in April then in the 2011, when they finished 11-12 in the first month of the season. Game two of the series against Pensacola is Thursday at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. In a matchup of right-handers, Bryan Evans takes the mound for the Suns looking for his first win of the season. Tim Gustafson gets the call for the Blue Wahoos.
By Steve Kolbe