Tag Archives: Shawn Bowman

Graham Taylor Shines In Shutout Over Biscuits

 

Graham Taylor earned his third shutout of the season, allowing seven singles over eight innings in the Suns 2-0 win over the Biscuits at the Baseball Grounds August 3, 2012. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

 By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns returned home with the stage set for a show down with first place Montgomery, and Graham Taylor delivered a dominating performance leading the Suns to a 2-0 win over the Biscuits Friday night at the Baseball Grounds.  With the Suns claiming the first game of the five game series, the Biscuits lead in the South Division has been cut to three games.
 
The Suns scored all the runs that Taylor would need in the home half of the fourth inning against Biscuits starter Merrill Kelly.  With one out, Kyle Skipworth walked to start the rally and designated hitter Kyle Jensen singled to put runners on first and third.  Shawn Bowman drove in the first run of the game with a single to left center, with Skipworth racing home to put the Suns on top 1-0.  It was Bowman’s 45th RBI of the season, and his first since July 19th.  Ben Lasater then collected the Suns third straight single in the inning, with Jensen scoring for a 2-0 lead.  Lasater has driven in three runs in his last three games.  The Suns have scored the first run of the game in seven of the last eight, and are 42-18 when they cross the plate first.
 
By blanking the Biscuits for the first time in 2012, Jacksonville now has nine shutouts this season.  Montgomery was shutout for the first time since May 28th, a span of 57 games.  It’s just the third time this season that the Biscuits have been kept off the scoreboard, with the Mississippi Braves doing the honors the previous two times (April 13th 4-0 and May 28th 6-0).
 
The Suns have won four straight at the Baseball Grounds, outscoring their opponents 22-13.  Overall, the Suns improved to 13-7 in their last 20 games. 
 
Chris Gutierrez went 2-for-3, and now has at least one hit in five straight games and nine of his last 11.  Omar Luna led all hitters going 3-for-4 with three singles.  Mike Mahtook also collected two hits for the Biscuits to increase his hitting streak to eight games.  Montgomery shortstop Hak-Ju Lee singled to extend his on-base streak to 46 games dating back to June 11th.  Suns catcher Kyle Skipworth threw out both would-be base stealers on the night, including Hak-Ju Lee, who entered the game with 37 stolen bases and had been caught only eight times.
 
For the second straight night, the Suns starting pitcher went eight innings.  On Thursday, Jose Alvarez pitched a complete game in a 1-0 loss at Mobile.  On Friday, Graham Taylor (7-8) threw 101 pitches and scattered seven singles in the win.  In his last four starts, Taylor has allowed just three runs over 27 innings of work, and he has won his last three decisions.  Biscuits starter Merrill Kelly (6-2) allowed two runs on five hits in the loss.  He is 6-0 as a reliever, and 0-2 as a starter this season.
 
Closer A.J. Ramos entered the game to pitch the ninth, and surrendered a leadoff single to Omar Luna.  Ramos then struck out both Derek Dietrich and pinch hitter Kyeong Kang, and enticed Brett Nommensen to ground out to second to end the game.  Ramos is tied for second in the Southern League with 16 saves.
 
The Suns will look to make it two in a row over the Biscuits on Saturday with the first pitch scheduled for 6:05 PM from the Baseball Grounds.  RHP Matthew Neil (1-6, 5.08) takes the mound for the Suns.  He has lost his last six decisions.  LHP Kyle Lobstein (6-6, 4.03) will start his 22nd game of the season for Montgomery.
 

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BayBears Shut Down Suns

 

David Holmberg and two relievers combined on the Mobile BayBears (Double-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks)1-0 win over the Jacksonville Suns at Hank Aaron Stadium August 2, 2012. Photo Courtesy: Mobile BayBears

By Steve Kolbe

After scoring 24 runs in their previous two games, the Jacksonville Suns were shutout in the series finale 1-0 by the BayBears on Thursday night at Hank Aaron Stadium in Mobile.  The Suns have been blanked 10 times this season, three times by Mobile.  Jacksonville suffered a shutout loss for the first time in a month.
 
The BayBears scored the only run of the night in the bottom of the fourth inning against Suns starter Jose Alvarez.  Brent Clevlen led off with a single and went to third on a fly out by Ryan Strieby.  Alfredo Marte then drove in his 61st run of the season with a ground out to short, with Clevlen coasting across the plate.  Marte made his return to the lineup after serving a three game suspension for throwing a punch in a brawl against Mississippi last week.
 
BayBears starter David Holmberg kept the Suns off balance throughout the night, and at one point retired 10 batters in a row.  The BayBears have four shutouts this season, with three of them against the Suns. Trevor Bauer blanked the Suns May 6th, and Chase Anderson turned the trick May 9th as part of the BayBears five-game sweep of the Suns at the Baseball Grounds in the first half.
 
Chris Gutierrez and Shawn Bowman each finished 2-for-4.  Danny Pertusati’s seventh inning double was the only extra-base hit for the Suns.  Jacksonville was 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position, and left 10 men on base during the night.   It was the first game of the series that the Suns were held without a home run.  Jacksonville belted nine homers off of seven different pitchers in the five games.
 
Suns starter Jose Alvarez (4-6) went the distance in the loss.  He allowed just the one run on five hits over eight innings.  It’s the second time this season that Alvarez has tossed eight innings, the last time he earned Pitcher of the Week honors with a 2-0 shutout against Tennessee.  David Holmberg (3-4) scattered five hits and struck out a season-high seven in 6.2 innings of work for the win.  Eury De La Rosa pitched the final two innings to earn his second save of the season.
 
The Suns lost a game in the standings to South-leading Montgomery, falling four games behind the Biscuits.  The stage is now set for a showdown for first place in the South Division with the Biscuits invading Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville for a five-game series starting Friday night.  LHP Graham Taylor (6-8, 4.09) will take the mound for the Suns.  RHP Merrill Kelly (6-1, 3.55) will start his fourth game of the season for the Biscuits. 
 
 

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Suns Split Marathon Doubleheader With BayBears

 

The Suns and BayBears began a double header on July 31st at 6:05PM central time. The final out of game two was recorded August 1st at 1:05AM central time. Photo Courtesy: Mobile BayBears

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns and Mobile BayBears split a doubleheader at Hank Aaron Stadium, with the BayBears claiming game one in 10 innings 3-2, and the Suns winning the night cap 15-3.  During the twin bill the calendar changed from July to August, with first game starting at 6:06 PM on July 31st, and the final out of game two secured in the books at 1:05 AM August 1st.
 
The Suns took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning in game one when Jake Smolinski hit his fourth home run of the season, a solo blast off of BayBears starter Brett Lorin.  Smolinski has hit all four of his home runs in the second half.
 
The BayBears edged in front in the bottom of the fifth against Suns starter Bryan Evans.  Mobile third baseman Matt Davidson doubled to right-center to drive in Chris Owings to tie the score 1-1.  Brent Clevlen then drew a walk and Ryan Strieby reached on a error to load the bases.   David Nick forced in the go-ahead run with a walk to give the BayBears a 2-1 lead.
 
Kyle Skipworth hit a solo home run in the top of the sixth inning off of Mobile reliever Eury De La Rosa to tie the game 2-2.  Skipworth has six home runs and 10 runs batted in over his last 11 games.
 
The game went into extra innings, and the BayBears ended the contest in the tenth inning.  Rossmel Perez and Wladimir Sutil each singled to start the rally against Suns reliever Bobby Bramhall.  Chris Owings then walked to load the bases.  Matt Davidson walked on a full count to force in pitcher Bo Schultz with the winning run in the 3-2 victory.  The Suns have played seven extra-inning games this season(4-3), with all of them on the road.
 
Curt Smith, Ben Lasater, and Jake Smolinski each finished with two hits for the Suns.  Matt Davidson had two hits and drove in two of the BayBears runs in the game.  The BayBears were 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position, and left 16 men on base.
 
Bobby Bramhall (1-2) allowed one run on two hits in the loss.  Suns pitchers combined to walk 11 batters in the game.  Bo Schultz (1-2) pitched the tenth inning for the win.
 
In game two, the Suns started quick and never looked back in the 15-3 win.  Curt Smith and Paul Gran each drove in a run in the first inning to put the Suns up 2-0.  Jacksonville has scored at least one run in the first inning 33 times this season (24-9).
 
Mobile countered in the home half of the first against Suns starting pitcher James Leverton, scoring three times to take a 3-2 lead.  David Nick drove in two runs with a single, and Brent Clevlen drove in a run with an infield hit.  The Suns would go on to score 13 unanswered runs the rest of the night.
 
In the top of the second, after Shawn Bowman was hit by a pitch, Danny Pertusati put the Suns in front to stay with his first Double-A home run.  His blast to left-center gave the Suns a 4-3 lead.  The Suns have hit at least two home runs in the first three games of the series at Hank Aaron Stadium
 
In the fifth inning, Curt Smith hit his eighth home run of the season and Jake Jefferies drove in a run with a single to increase the lead to 7-3.  Smith finished the game with four RBI’s.  Jacksonville exploded for a season-high seven runs in the seventh inning, capped by a three-run home run by Kyle Jensen.
 
Seven different Suns players scored a run in the game, with six players crossing the plate at least twice.  Jake Smolinski, Chris Gutierrez, Curt Smith, Kyle Jensen, and Shawn Bowman each scored two times.  Danny Pertusati scored three runs for Jacksonville.  Seven different Suns drove in at least one run.  Curt Smith drove in four runs, Kyle Jensen drove in three, and Danny Pertusati and Jake Smolinski each had two RBI’s.
 
Game four of the series is Wednesday with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 PM from Hank Aaron Stadium.  LHP Jose Alvarez (4-5, 3.95) takes the hill for the Suns.  LHP David Holmberg (2-4, 4.63) will start for the BayBears.
 

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Smokies Slug Three Home Runs To Down Suns

Tennessee shortstop Junior Lake hit a pair of two-run home runs in the Smokies 7-5 win over the Jacksonville Suns July 25, 2012 at the Baseball Grounds. Photo Courtesy: Tennessee Smokies

 By Steve Kolbe

The Tennessee Smokies powered past the Suns by hitting three home runs for the second straight game in a 7-5 victory Wednesday afternoon.  The Suns have given up 10 home runs in their last six games at the Baseball Grounds.
 
Suns starter Bryan Evans struggled with his control in the first inning, walking the first three batters of the game to load the bases.  Justin Bour drove in the first run of the day with a sacrifice fly to right field, with Junior Lake scoring to put the Smokies in front 1-0.  Bour leads the Southern League with 76 RBI’s. 
 
In the second inning Junior Lake connected for a two-run homer off of Evans to increase the Smokies lead to 3-0.  Lake has hit three of his six home runs this season against Suns pitching.
 
The Suns closed the gap in the home half of the second against Tennessee starter Dae-Eun Rhee.  With one out, Shawn Bowman reached on an error by first baseman Justin Bour.  Curt Smith then singled to center, and when center fielder Jae-Hoon Ha ran past the ball, Bowman went to third and Smith advanced to second.  Jake Jefferies knocked in both base runners with a single to center to cut the Smokies lead to 3-2. 
 
Jacksonville tied the game 3-3 in the fifth inning when Danny Pertusati reached base on an infield single, and scored when pinch hitter Jose Duarte double into the left field corner.  After a single by Jake Smolinski put runners on the corners, Duarte hustled home on a ground out by Chris Gutierrez to put the Suns in front for the first time 4-3. 
 
Junior Lake hit his second two-run homer of the day off Suns reliever Jordan Conley in the top of the sixth, and the Smokies were on top 5-4.  Lake had a hand in all seven runs for the Smokies, driving in four of the  seven runs in the game, and scoring three others..  Nelson Perez added some insurance in the ninth inning when he belted the Smokies third two-run home run of the game to pad the lead to 7-4.  Danny Pertusati drove in a run in the Suns half of the ninth to make the final score 7-5.
 
The Smokies had at least one base runner in every inning on Wednesday.  In the series Tennessee has scored 16 runs on 23 hits.  The Smokies went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left a dozen men on base, including the bases loaded twice.
 
Suns starter Bryan Evans allowed three runs on three hits, and walked six batters in a season-low two and two-thirds innings.  Evans had walked a total of six batters in his previous four starts.  Jordan Conley (1-2) surrendered two runs on five hits in the loss.  Smokies starter Dae-Eun Rhee (7-5) allowed four runs on nine hits in the win.  Frank Batista pitched the final two innings to tie for the league lead in saves with 18.
 
Game three of the series is Thursday night with the first pitch scheduled for 7:35 p.m.  LHP Brian Flynn is expected to make his first start for the Suns.  RHP Dallas Beeler (4-6, 4.11) will take the mound for Tennessee.

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Suns Slip Past Braves In Ninth

 

Catcher Kyle Skipworth(left)and second baseman Paul Gran each collected three hits in the Suns 8-7 walk-off win over the Mississippi Braves July 19, 2012 at the Baseball Grounds. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

New faces help the Jacksonville Suns come back to win a walk-off thriller 8-7 over the Mississippi Braves on Thursday night at the Baseball Grounds.  The Suns won for just the second time this season when trailing going into the ninth inning (2-43).  Jacksonville also came back to beat Montgomery 5-4 on May 15 when Jake Jefferies hit a three-run home run in the top of the ninth at Riverwalk Stadium.
 
The Braves used the long ball to take the lead against Suns starter James Leverton, who hadn’t surrendered a home run in his previous 10 appearances.  Tim Smith and Christian Marrero each hit solo home runs in the second inning to put the Braves up 2-0.  For Smith it was just his second of the season, for Morrero it was his first home run of the year but he made it count.  Morrero’s blast cleared the right field stands and headed toward the street.   In the third inning, Christian Bethancourth hit his first home run of the year to extend the lead to 3-0. 
 
The Suns broke through in the home half of the third against Mississippi starting pitcher David Hale.  With one out, Chris Gutierrez doubled to the wall in left field to extend his hitting streak to 14 games.  Paul Gran then drove in his 21st run of the season with a single to center, with Gutierrez motoring around from second to cut the Braves lead to 3-1.  With two outs, Kyle Skipworth smashed a two-run home run to tie the game 3-3.  Skipworth has hit four round trippers in the last three games, and his 11 home runs this season match his total last year’s campaign.
 
In the fifth inning, Phil Gosselin led off with his second triple of the season and scored on Jason Christian’s RBI-single to center to give the Braves a 4-3 edge.  In the seesaw affair, the Suns stormed back in the bottom of the fifth.  Chris Gutierrez walked to lead off the inning, but Hale retired both Paul Gran and Kyle Jensen on fly balls.  With two outs, Kyle Skipworth doubled to drive in Gutierrez to tie the game 4-4.  Ben Lasater then followed with a double for his first RBI of the season, with Skipworth rumbling home to vault the Suns back into the lead 5-4. 
 
The Braves jumped ahead in the sixth against Suns reliever Mike Ojala.  Joe Terdoslavich led off with a double into the left field corner, and scored when Joe Leonard singled to knot the game 5-5.  After a single by Marrero put runners on the corners, Phil Gosselin hit a sacrifice fly to center with Leonard tagging from third for a 6-5 Mississippi advantage.
 
The Suns used three singles in the seventh inning to tie the score 6-6.  Paul Gran led off the inning with a base knock, and scored on Shawn Bowman’s two-out RBI-single.  In a game where no lead was safe, the Braves went back in front in the eighth inning against Kyle Kaminska.  After Joe Leonard doubled and Christian Marrero singled, pinch hitter Alden Carrithers swung at the first pitch he saw and sent a fly ball into center field, with Marrero scoring on the sacrifice to give the Braves a 7-6 lead going into the ninth.
 
Mississippi turned to their closer Mark Lamm, who entered the night with 10 saves.  Paul Gran led off the ninth inning with a single to left field to start the rally.  After Kyle Jensen went down on strikes, Kyle Skipwroth and Ben Lasater each walked to load the bases with one out.  Lamm then retired Shawn Bowman with one pitch on a foul pop to the catcher.  With two outs, center fielder Danny Pertusati took center stage and stole the spotlight in his first Double-A game.  Pertusati singled to right field past the diving second baseman, with both Gran and pinch runner Donnie Webb scoring to give the Suns the walk-off win 8-7.  Pertusati was mobbed in the infield by his new teammates to celebrate the win.  The Suns scored seven of their eight runs in the game after there were two outs in an inning.
 
Kyle Skipworth and Paul Gran each had three hits.  Skipworth finished 3-for-4 with three RBI’s and two runs scored.  He has hit four home runs and driven in seven over the last three games.  Gran collected three singles, drove in a run, and scored three of the Suns eight runs.  Chris Gutierrez extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a double in the third inning.  It’s his second streak this season of at least 14 games.  The last time that Gutierrez was held without a hit was July 1st against Pensacola. 
 
Suns starter James Leverton allowed four runs on five hits in five innings of work, including three home runs.  He struck out a season-high seven batters.  After being acquired by the Marlins on July 9, Jon Link pitched the ninth to earn the win in his first game with Jacksonville.  Suns pitchers did not issue a walk for the eleventh time this season.  Braves closer Mark Lamm took the loss to drop to 0-4 this season.
 
The Suns have won three straight games for the first time since April 28 to May 2 when they won four in a row.  Overall, Jacksonville has won five of the last six games..  This season 35 of the Suns 97 games have been decided by a single run (17-18).  The Braves have dropped six of their last seven games, and have been outscored 49-29 in those games.  Mississippi lost for just the second time this season when taking a lead into the ninth (29-2). 
 
Game two of the series is Friday with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.  RHP Bryan Evans (3-6, 3.97) will take the mound for the Suns.  Evans allowed just one run in five and a-third innings and earned the victory as the Suns topped the Blue Wahoos 6-1 in Pensacola last week.  LHP Brent Leach (0-2, 1.59) is set to start his second game of the season for the Braves. 
 

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Suns Beat Blue Wahoos; Win I-10 Panhandle Challenge

 

Catcher Kyle Skipworth drove in a pair of runs to lead the Suns past the Blue Wahoos 6-1. Jacksonville improved to 14-10 this season against Pensacola to clinch the season series. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

 By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns scored three times in the first inning and cruised to a 6-1 win over the Blue Wahoos on Saturday night at Bayfront Stadium.  The Suns improved to 14-10 overall (8-3 on the road) against the Blue Wahoos, and clinched the season series.
 
The Suns jumped out to the lead in the first inning against Wahoos starter Kyle Lotzkar.  Jake Smolinski was hit by a pitch and Chris Gutierrez walked.  With one out, Curt Smith hit a ground ball to shortstop Billy Hamilton who committed an error, with Smolinski scoring from second to put the Suns up 1-0.  Kyle Skipworth then drove in two runs with a double to left-center field to increase the lead to 3-0. 
 
The Blue Wahoos scored their lone run in the third inning.  Billy Hamilton walked, stole second base, and went to third on a throwing error.  Josh Fellhauer then drove in Hamilton with a RBI single to cut the Suns lead to 3-1.
 
Jacksonville loaded the bases in the fifth inning with no outs, when Chris Gutierrez and Curt Smith were each hit by a pitch and Paul Gran singled.  Kyle Jensen singled to center with Gran scoring on the play for a 4-1 Suns advantage.  Jensen leads the Suns with 44 runs batted in this season.  Shawn Bowman then drove in his 43rd run of the season with a ground out to make the score 5-1. 
 
Jake Smolinski walked to lead of the sixth inning and went to third when Gutierrez singled.  Paul Gran drove in the final run of the game when he grounded into a double play, with Smolinski scoring and the Suns led 6-1.  Four of the Suns six runs in the game were scored by base runners that had walked, were hit by a pitch, or reached on an error.
 
Kyle Skipworth went 1-for-2 with two RBI’s and had the only extra base hit for the Suns.  Miguel Rojas and Bryson Smith each had two hits for the Blue Wahoos.
 
Bryan Evans (3-6) allowed one run on six hits in five and a-third innings to earn his first win against Pensacola this season.  Jordan Conley and Josh Schmidt combined to pitch three and two-thirds scoreless innings.  Kyle Lotzkar (4-4) surrendered five runs on just two hits in the loss.  He hit three batters and walked four.
 
The Suns have won the season series against the Blue Wahoos to claim the first I-10 Panhandle Series, and will bring the “Golden Skillet” back to the Baseball Grounds. Game two of the series is Sunday afternoon with the first pitch scheduled for 5:00 p.m. EST. 
 

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Suns Single Their Way Past Stars

 

The Suns beat the Stars 3-1 at Joe Davis Stadium in game one of a three-game series. Jacksonville finished with six hits, all singles. Photo Courtesy: Huntsville Stars

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns avoided being swept in a series for the first time this season, with a 3-1 win over the Huntsville Stars Monday night at Joe Davis Stadium.  The season series between the two teams ends with each side winning four of the eight games.
 
The Stars scored their lone run in the third inning against starter Zach Neal.  Josh Prince hit an infield single and took second on a throwing error by third baseman Curt Smith.  When Prince attempted to steal third, Neal’s throw went past Smith with Prince scoring on the Suns second error of the inning.
 
Huntsville starter Hiram Burgos retired the first 12 Suns batters of the game until Curt Smith singled in the fifth inning. 
 
Jake Jefferies led off the sixth inning with a walk, and went to second when Donnie Webb reached on an error.  After a ground out by Jose Duarte moved the runners over a base, Paul Gran drove in Jefferies with a sacrifice fly to tie the game 1-1.  Gran drove in three runs in the three game series.
 
The Suns took a 2-1 lead in the eighth when Kyle Jensen led off with a walk, and pinch hitter Shawn Bowman drove him in with a single to right.  Bowman had at least one hit in all three games against the Stars.
 
 Jacksonville added an insurance run in the ninth.  Jeff Dominguez reached on an error by third baseman T.L. Mittelstaedt, and Jensen drove him in with a RBI single to make the score 3-1.  The win improved the Suns record to 10-33 when they allow the first run of the game. 
 
The Suns had the leadoff man in an inning reach base three times in the last three innings, and all three times he came around to score.  The Suns scored all three of their runs in the game with two outs.  Jacksonville won for just the third time in the last nine road games. 
 
Curt Smith, Kyle Jensen, and Shawn Bowman each had a single in the game.  Jensen and Bowman drove in a run and are tied for the team lead with 42 RBI’s.  Hunter Morris went 2-for-4 on Monday, and in the series finished with three home runs, two triples, five RBI’s, and scored four runs.  Morris leads the Southern League in hits (104), RBI’s (67), doubles (27), and extra-base hits (46).  He’s second in the league in batting average (.314) behind Jackson’s Nick Franklin.
 
In his second straight solid outing, Suns starter Zach Neal allowed five hits and one unearned run over five innings.  Jordan Conley (1-1) allowed one hit in his two innings of work for the win.  A.J. Ramos again showed why he’s the most dominant closer in the league, breezing through the final two innings for his ninth save of the season.  Ramos earned the save in all three of the Suns wins on the road trip.
 
The Suns begin a three game series against the Montgomery Biscuits on Wednesday with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.

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Stars Hit Six Home Runs In 10-5 Win Over Suns

Stars first baseman Hunter Morris(above)hits one of his two solo home runs in 10-5 win over the Jacksonville Suns at Joe Davis Stadium. Photo Courtesy: Huntsville Stars

By Steve Kolbe

 
The Jacksonville Suns surrendered a season-high six home runs to the Huntsville Stars in a 10-5 loss on Sunday afternoon at Joe Davis Stadium.  The Stars have hit a total 47 home runs this season, with seven of them coming in the last two games against Suns pitching.
 
After a 10 minute delay due to rain, Huntsville got right to work in the bottom of the first by sending eight men to the plate against Suns starter Bryan Evans.  The first two batters reached base, when Lee Haydel led off with a single and Josh Prince walked.  With one out, Hunter Morris blistered a triple to right field with both runners scoring to put the Stars in front 2-0.  Morris drove in three runs and scored twice in the Stars win in game one of the series, and he would be a factor again throughout the day.  Hainley Statia added a run when he jumped on the first pitch that he saw from Evans, hitting a double to right field, with Morris cruising home to make the score 3-0. 
 
The Suns scored their first run of the game in the second inning against Stars pitcher Johnnie Lowe. Curt Smith hit the first of his three singles on the day, and moved to second base on a fielders choice.  After a Shawn Bowman walk put runners on first and second, Jose Duarte drove in his fifth run of the season with a single to right field, with Smith scoring from second to cut the lead to 3-1.  Duarte had gone without an RBI since April 20 (72 games).
 
In the third inning, Paul Gran and Chris Gutierrez both singled against Lowe to start a rally, and with two outs Curt Smith singled to drive in two runs to even the score 3-3.  The Suns scored all five of their runs in the game after there were two outs in an inning.
 
In the home half of the third, leadoff man T.J. Mittelstaedt hit his first Double-A home run off of Evans to put the Stars back in front 4-3.  It was also Mittelstaedt’s first Double-A RBI, and it gave Huntsville a lead they wouldn’t give up.
 
In the sixth inning the Stars sent eight men to the plate for the second time in the game.  Hunter Morris led off the inning with a solo home run to increase the lead to 5-3.  Morris has homered and tripled in two straight games, and his day was far from over.  After an infield single by Hainley Statia, Kentrail Davis added his name to the long ball list by smashing a two-run home run deep to right field to pad the Stars advantage to 7-3.  It was the third home run that Bryan Evans allowed in the game.
 
The Suns summoned Kyle Kaminska from the bullpen, and he was given a rude reception when pinch hitter Domnit Bolivar hit his first home run of the season to pad the lead at 8-3.  The Stars hit three home runs in the sixth inning.
 
In the seventh, Kyle Jensen crushed a two-run home run to the deepest part of Joe Davis Stadium to get the Suns to within two runs at 8-5.  Jensen leads the Suns with 11 home runs this season, and he’s tied for the team lead with 41 RBI’s with Shawn Bowman.
 
Huntsville belted two more home runs in the seventh inning off of Kaminska.  The first two batters of the inning, T.J Mittelstaedt and Hunter Morris, hit back-to-back solo home runs and the Stars led 10-5.  It’s the first time this season that a team has hit back-to-back home runs against the Suns.  Jacksonville has allowed double-digit runs against four times this season.
 
The Stars hit six home runs in the game, one shy of tying the Southern League record for the most home runs in a single game.  Seven is the record, set by six different teams over a 31 year span from 1961 through 1997.  Knoxville hit seven against Jacksonville July 28, 1997, and Huntsville hit seven against Chattanooga July 18, 1997.  Six round trippers are the most that the Suns have allowed in a game this season, and the most that the Stars have hit in a single game this year.  Three of the home runs in Sunday’s game were hit by the leadoff man in an inning.
 
Curt Smith went 3-for-5 with three singles, and he’s now 8-for-14 this season against Huntsville.  Smith had a hand in four of the Suns five runs, with two RBI’s and two runs scored.  Shawn Bowman had a multi-hit game, going 2-for-3.  Hunter Morris, Hainley Statia, and Kentrail Davis each collected three hits for the Stars.  Morris had a hand in seven of the 10 runs, with 4 RBI and three runs scored.  In the series, Morris has had a hand in 12 of the Stars 17 runs (7 RBI and 5 runs scored).  Lee Haydel and T.J. Mittelstaedt finished with two hits each.  Eight of the Stars 15 hits in the game went for extra-bases.  Seven different Stars players scored at least one run.
 
Bryan Evans (2-6) pitched five and a-third innings allowing seven runs on nine hits, both season highs.  Evans has allowed seven home runs in his last four starts, after giving up just two in his first 13 starts of the season.  Kyle Kaminska pitched an inning and two-thirds giving up three runs on six hits.  Kaminska was tagged for three home runs in the game.  He had allowed two home runs total in his previous 24 outings.  Stars starting pitcher Johnnie Lowe allowed three runs on six hits over his four innings of work and didn’t figure in the decision.  Dan Merklinger (2-7) pitched two innings of hitless baseball to earn the win.
 
The series finale is Monday night from Joe Davis Stadium with the first pitch scheduled for 6:43 p.m. local time.  RHP Zach Neal (4-6, 4.26) will start his tenth game of the season for the Suns.  Neal earned the win last week at Tennessee after getting the start when Rob Rasmussen was traded to the Houston Astros just prior to the game July 4 at Smokies Park.  RHP Hiram Burgos (4-1, 2.05) will take the mound for the eleventh time this season for the Huntsville Stars.   The Suns have not been swept in a series this season.
 
 
 

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Stars Power Past The Suns

Huntsville first baseman(above)drove in three runs and scored twice to lead the Stars over the Jacksonville Suns 7-4 at Joe Davis Stadium. Morris is third in the Southern League in batting, second in RBI’s, and first in extra-base hits. Photo Courtesy: Huntsville Stars

By Steve Kolbe

 
The Huntsville Stars hit three home runs to take game one of the three game series against the Suns, with a 7-4 win Saturday night at Joe Davis Stadium.  The Stars are third in the Southern League with a team batting average of .262, behind Montgomery and Birmingham.
 
The Stars jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Suns starter Alan Oaks struggled with his control.  Oaks walked three batters in the inning, and Hunter Morris hit his team leading twelfth home run of the season, a two-run blast to straight away center.  Oaks started two games for Jupiter this season, Saturday was his first start with the Suns.  Jacksonville fell to 9-33 when allowing the first run of the game.
 
Huntsville used the long ball again in the second inning to tack on another run, with Kentrail Davis going deep for the second time this season, to increase the lead to 3-0.  After the Davis home run, Oaks retired seven of the next eight batters he faced, five by strikeout.
 
The Suns got on the scoreboard in the top of the third, when Shawn Bowman belted his eighth home run of the season off of Stars starter Evan Anundsen to cut the lead to 3-1.  Bowman is second on the team in homers behind Kyle Jensen (10).
 
Suns lefty Bobby Bramhall had his toughest outing of the season.  With Bramhall taking over in the fifth inning, Stars catcher Anderson De La Rosa led off with his fourth home run of the season to add to the lead at 4-1.  Huntsville pitcher Evan Anundsen helped his own cause with a double off the wall in right field, and Lee Haydel then singled to put runners on the corners with no outs.  Josh Prince drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to put the Stars up 5-1, with Anundsen scoring on the play.  Hunter Morris then tripled to right field with two outs to drive in Haydel from first for a 6-1 Stars advantage.  Hanley Statia knocked in a run with a double to cap the scoring, with the Stars sending eight men to the plate and building a 7-1 lead.
 
Paul Gran hit a solo home run for the Suns in the sixth to make the score 7-2 Stars. Gran has hit a home run in back-to-back games, and has three round trippers in his last five games in the starting lineup.  The Suns have hit seven home runs in their seven games against the Stars this season.
 
Jacksonville added two more runs in the eighth inning against reliever Kyle Heckathorn.  Jose Duarte led off with a single, and pinch hitter Curt Smith doubled behind him to put runners on second and third with no outs.  Paul Gran drove in a run with a ground out, and Chris Gutierrez plated a run with a single to make the score 7-4 Stars.
 
Jose Duarte went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles.  Shawn Bowman and Paul Gran each hit home runs.  The Suns have hit 59 home runs this season, seven against Huntsville.  Hunter Morris finished 2-for-4, scored two runs, and drove in three.  He now has 62 RBI’s, just one behind Tennessee’s Justin Bour for the league lead.  Morris hit a two-run home run and added a triple against the Suns.  He leads the Southern League with 42 extra-base hits. 
 
Alan Oaks (1-2) allowed three runs on three hits over four innings in his first start for the Suns.  He walked three in the first inning, after entering the game having walked a total of three batters in his first three appearances.  Evan Anundsen (5-4) allowed two runs on three hits in six innings for the win.  Brandon Kintzler retired the Suns in order in the ninth to earn his third save of the season.
 
Game two of the series is Sunday from Joe Davis Stadium in Huntsville, with the first pitch scheduled for 4:05 p.m.  RHP Bryan Evans (2-5, 3.61) will take the mound for the Suns.  RHP Johnnie Lowe (4-0, 3.55 ERA in Triple-A) will start for the Stars.

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Suns Win On Independence Day

Suns starter Zack Neal(4-6)allowed two runs on seven hits over seven innings. The only runs he allowed were on a two-run home run by Greg Rohan(above)in the first inning. Photo Courtesy: Tennessee Smokies

By Steve Kolbe

 
The Jacksonville Suns took a two-run lead into the ninth inning and hung on for a 4-3 win over the Tennessee Smokies on Wednesday night at Smokies Park.  The Suns improved to 31-1 when leading going into the ninth.
 
The Suns provided the fireworks in the first inning against Smokies starter Dallas Beeler.  Chris Gutierrez hit a solo home run to left to put the Suns in front 1-0.  With the blast, Gutierrez established a new career high with four home runs on the year.  It’s the first time since 2008 that he’s had more than two in a season.  With two outs, Kyle Skipworth reached on an error when Beeler dropped a throw at first base.  Jeff Dominguez then drove in Skipworth with a single to left to increase the lead to 2-0.  The Suns have scored at least one run in the first inning 29 times this season, with a record of 19-9 when they cross the plate in the first.
 
Tennessee drew even in the home half of the first against Suns starter Zach Neal.  After Jim Adduci singled, Greg Rohen belted his first Double-A home run, a two-run blast to left field to tie the game 2-2.  Rohen had hit a career-best 12 home runs for the Daytona Cubs of the Florida State League before he was promoted to the Smokies on July 2. 
 
In the fourth inning, Jeff Dominguez doubled to the left field corner, and scored when Shawn Bowman drove in his 40th run of the season with a single to center to give the Suns the edge 3-2.  Bowman is the first Suns player this season to reach the 40 RBI mark.
 
Jacksonville tacked on another run in the fifth inning.  Gutierrez led off with an infield single, and Skipworth singled to put runners on the corners with one out.  Jeff Dominguez hit a ground ball to short, with Gutierrez racing home with an important run to give the Suns a 4-2 advantage.   
 
After collecting five hits in the first two innings, the Smokies were held to just two hits from the third until the ninth inning against Suns pitchers Zach Neal and Kyle Kaminska.  In the ninth, Jae-Hoon Ha led off with a single, and stole second base.  Kaminska then struck out Jim Adduci, and enticed Greg Rohen into a ground out, but couldn’t get the final out.   
 
With two away, the Southern League’s top RBI man Justin Bour added to his total by driving in Ha with a single to left to cut the Suns lead to 4-3.  Bour now has 61 runs batted in this season.  Jacksonville summoned closer A.J. Ramos from the bullpen, and he issued just his eighth walk of the season when he put pinch hitter Jaun Apodaca on base.  With runners on first and second, Ramos denied the Smokies the game-tying run when he struck out Mike Brenly to end the game.
 
The Suns have won three straight over the Smokies.  Tennessee manager Buddy Bailey has 1,599 career wins over 24 seasons as a minor league manager.  His next win will make him one of just four active managers with at least 1,600 victories.
 
Left handed pitcher Rob Rasmussen was scheduled to start for the Suns, but the Marlins traded him along with third baseman Matt Dominguez to the Houston Astros in exchange for 36-year-old slugger Carlos Lee.  Rasmussen, the Marlins second round pick in the 2010 draft,  was 4-7 with a 3.90 ERA in 16 starts for Class A Jupiter this season.  Dominguez was batting .234 with seven home runs and 46 RBI’s with Tiple-A New Orleans.  He was the Marlins first round draft pick in 2007.
 
Zach Neal (4-6) was pressed into service and started his ninth game of the season.  Neal allowed two runs on seven hits over seven innings, six singles and a home run.  A.J. Ramos recorded the final out for his seventh save.  Smokies starter Dallas Beeler (3-6) allowed four runs on nine hits in four and a-third innings of work, and lost for the first time in five weeks.
 
Chris Gutierrez finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored.  Jeff Dominguez went 2-for-4 with two RBI’s.  Justin Bour was the only Smokies player with more than one hit.  Eight of Tennessee’s nine hits were singles.  The Suns have had 31 of their 84 games this season decided by a single run, with a 14-17 record.
 
Game two of the series is Thursday night from Smokies Park with the first pitch scheduled for 7:15 p.m.  RHP Matthew Neil (1-3, 5.53) will start his eighth game of the season for the Suns.  He’s lost his last three decisions.  LHP Eric Jokisch (3-1, 3.25) will take the mound for Tennessee.  He suffered his first loss of the season June 25 at Jacksonville, when he allowed 10 runs on nine hits in a relief appearance in the Suns 11-3 win.
 
 
 

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