Tag Archives: Shawn Bowman

Suns Fall Short In Extra Innings

Lookouts right fielder Blake Smith hit a solo home run in the third inning off of Suns starter Graham Taylor. Smith leads Chattanooga with seven home runs and 28 runs batted in. Photo Courtesy: Chattanooga Lookouts

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns struck out a season-high 17 times and ended up on the wrong side of a 14-inning affair on Friday night, with the Lookouts winning 5-4 at AT&T Field in Chattanooga.  The Suns lost in extra innings for the first time this season and are now 2-1 when working overtime, with all three of the games on the road.  The Lookouts have gone into extra innings five times in their last 11 games.  Chattanooga is now 3-3 in extra-inning games this season. 

The Suns scored the first run of the game in the second inning against Lookouts starter Chris Withrow, when Shawn Bowman walked to lead off the inning and later scored on a single by Russell Mitchell to give Jacksonville a 1-0 advantage.  Mitchell has driven in nine runs this season. 

The Lookouts used the long ball to take the lead in the bottom half of the second against Suns starter Graham Taylor. After Brahiam Maldonado led off the home half of the inning with a single, Pedro Baez smashed his second home run of the season over the left field fence, a two-run blast that put the Lookouts in front 2-1. 

In the third inning, the Lookouts flexed their muscle again when Blake Smith hit a solo home run to right field off of Taylor to increase the lead to 3-1.  Taylor has given up a team-high seven home runs this season. 

Jacksonville cut into the lead in the fourth when Shawn Bowman led off inning by reaching base again, this time with a single.  Playing in his second straight game, catcher Jake Jefferies drove in Bowman with his second double of the year, and the Suns trailed 3-2.  

In the fifth, the Suns reclaimed the lead when Paul Gran walked, and Jake Smolinski reached on an error by shortstop Jake Lemmerman.  With two on and one out, Bowman continued his strong night at the plate when he doubled into the gap in right-center field, with Gran scoring from second and Smolinski hustling around from first  to give the Suns a 4-3 edge.  That would be the last run of the night.  After scoring four runs on four hits in the first five innings, the Suns had just three hits in the games final nine innings. 

In the home half of the seventh, Rafael Ynoa led off the inning with his first triple of the season.  He wasn’t on base for long, with Nick Buss driving him in with a single on a two strike pitch to tie the game 4-4.  Ynoa would later leave the game after he was injured on a head first slide into first base. 

In the fourteenth inning, lead off hitter Nick Buss was hit by a Josh Schmidt pitch and Luis Nunez singled to left.  After a ground out by J.T. Wise, the Suns walked Blake Smith intentionally to load the bases and take their chances with the pitcher, Blake Johnson.   With Chattanooga out of position players, Johnson was forced to grab a bat and take a trip to the plate.  With the Suns infield in, Johnson helped his own cause with his first hit of the season, sending a grounder back up the middle for the game-winning RBI to give the Lookouts a 5-4 victory.  In the series Lookouts pitchers have five hits against the Suns, with at least one hit in every game. 

This season, 20 of Jacksonville’s first 48 games have been decided by a single run, with the Suns 10-10 in those games.  The Suns won eight of their first 12 one-run games this year, but have won just two of the last eight games decided by the smallest of margins.  

Suns starter Graham Taylor took the mound at 7:20 p.m. for his tenth start of the season.  He allowed four runs on 10 hits over six innings and was long gone when the game ended four hours and nine minutes later.  Relievers Kyle Kaminska, A.J. Ramos, and Bobby Bramhall combined to pitch seven scoreless innings.  Josh Schmidt allowed two hits and the game-winning run the 14th inning to fall to 1-3 on the season. 

Chris Withrow started the game for the Lookouts, and allowed four runs on four hits over five innings.  Before the night was over, Lookouts manager Carlos Subero had made six calls to the bullpen.  In the end, Blake Johnson pitched two hitless innings to earn the win and improve to 2-3.    Both teams combined to use a dozen pitchers.  For the Lookouts, only Luis Vasquez and Allen Webster were left in the bullpen at the end of the night.  Zach Neal, Wade Korpi, and Evan Reed were the only Suns hurlers not to have their names called. 

Jacksonville hitters struck out a season-high 17 times on Friday.  In five of the last eight games, Suns batters have struck out at least 11 times.   Shawn Bowman went 3-for-4, drove in two of the Suns four runs and scored twice.  Jake Jefferies, Russell Mitchell, Danny Black, and Paul Gran each had one hit. 

The Lookouts tied a season-high with 16 hits with 11 players with at least one hit on the night.  Pedro Baez, Luis Nunez, Blake Smith, Jake Lemmerman, and Chris Withrow each finished with two hits apiece. 

Chattanooga has taken the first three games of the series, and won a season-high six straight games.  For the second time in the series the Suns scored the first run but ended up on the losing end.  Jacksonville is now 17-4 this season when scoring the first run of the game.  The Suns have been outscored 19-9 during their four game losing streak, and overall the Suns have just five wins in 21 games and have fallen into fifth place in the South Division.  The Lookouts increased their season-high winning streak to six games. 

Game four of the series is Saturday night with the first pitch slated for 7:15 p.m. from AT&T field in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  RHP Matthew Neil (0-0, 3.60) will make his second start of the season for the Suns.  Neil made his double-A debut May 20 against Pensacola, allowing two runs on five hits over five innings and did not figure in the decision.  The Lookouts will send RHP Nathon Eovaldi (2-2, 3.18) to the mound for his ninth start of the season.

 

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Lookouts Handle Suns 4-1

Lookouts starting pitcher Matt Magill allowed just two hits and struck out ten batters over seven innings to improve his record to 4-2. Photo Courtesy: Chattanooga Lookouts

 By Steve Kolbe 

Chattanooga Lookouts starting pitcher Matt Magill was nearly untouchable, allowing just two hits over seven innings as the Lookouts topped the Suns 4-1 at AT&T Field on Thursday night.

Magill retired the first nine Suns batters he faced in the game, four by strike out.  The only two hits he allowed were doubles to Jeff Dominguez in the fourth inning and Shawn Bowman in the fifth.  The Lookouts scored their first run of the night in the second inning, when Blake Smith drew a leadoff walk from Suns starter Bryan Evans.  With one out, Brahiam Maldonado doubled off the wall in left field with Smith scoring to put Chattanooga in front 1-0.  The walk to Smith was the first issued by Evans in his last three starts. 
 
In the seventh, Evans again walked Smith to lead off the inning and then hit Travis Denker with a 3-2 pitch.  With two on and no one out, the Suns made the call to the bullpen.  Corey Madden came into the game to face Brahiam Maldonado, who has been one of the best hitters in the series so far for the Lookouts.  Maldonado hit a ball high off the left field wall that was initially ruled a home run.  After a lengthy discussion by the umpiring crew, Maldonado was given a double.  Smith and Denker scored on the play to increase the Lookouts lead to 3-0.  Maldonado has driven in five of the Lookouts 10 runs in the series.  Chattanooga tacked on another run to make it 4-0, when Griff Erickson singled to center field with Maldonado crossing the plate.
 
The Suns lone run of the game came against reliever Allen Webster in the eighth inning.  Jake Jefferies led off with a single, and scored when Donnie Webb drove in his tenth run of the season with a double off the left field wall. 
 
Matt Magill tossed seven innings allowing just two hits to improve his record to 4-2.  He struck out 10 Suns batters and did not issue a walk.  Magill has won four of his last five starts since April 24, allowing a total of five runs.  Bryan Evans pitched six innings allowing three runs on three hits to fall 0-4 on the season.  For the second straight start Evans deserved a better fate.  In his last two starts he has gotten just three hits and one run of offensive support while he’s been on the mound.
 
Jeff Dominguez went 2-for-4, and for the second straight game he finished the night with two doubles.  Shawn Bowman, Jake Jefferies, and Donnie Webb were the only other Suns with a hit.  Like the Suns, the Lookouts had only five hits in the game with Brahiam Maldonado going 2-for-2 with three runs batted in.  Blake Smith walked twice and scored to runs for Chattanooga.
 
The Suns have been outscored 14-5 during their three-game losing streak.  Overall, the Suns have lost 15 of the last 20 games since May 6th to fall to 21-26 on the season.   The Lookouts have won five straight games for the first time this year, and Chattanooga is over .500 (24-23) for the first time since beating the Suns April 13 at the Baseball Grounds.  On that night, the Lookouts improved to 5-4 in the ninth game of the season.  The Lookouts two longest winning streaks this season, four games and five games, have both come at the expense of the Suns.
 
Game three of the series is Friday night with the first pitch slated for  7:15 p.m. at AT&T Field in Chattanooga.  Suns lefty Graham Taylor (2-4, 4.47) will make his tenth start of the season for the Suns.  Right-hander Chris Withrow (1-1, 5.52) will take the mound for the Lookouts.
 

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Suns Lose Lead; Fall To Lookouts 6-3

Lookouts center fielder Nick Buss had two hits and drove in two runs with his fifth triple of the season against the Suns on Wednesday at AT&T Field. Photo Courtesy: Chattanooga Lookouts

By Steve Kolbe 

The Jacksonville Suns built a 3-0 lead over Chattanooga, but the Lookouts scored five times in the sixth inning on the way to a 6-3 win at AT&T Field on Wednesday night.
 
The Suns began the scoring in the second inning against Lookouts starting pitcher Aaron Miller.  Shawn Bowman led off the inning with a walk on four pitches,  Kyle Jensen followed with a single, and Kyle Skipworth also drew a free pass to load the bases with no outs.  Miller then bounced a pitch in the dirt that went all the way to the backstop, with Bowman scoring from third to put the Suns in front 1-0.  The wild pitch was just Miller’s second in 42 innings of work this season.  Jeff Dominguez then sent a sacrifice fly to right field, with Jensen scoring to increase the lead to 2-0.
 
In the top of the third, Jacksonville added another run, when shortstop Danny Black led off the inning with a double to right.  With one out, Jake Smolinski also doubled down the right field line and the Suns had a 3-0 advantage.  Black is 5-for-12 with two runs scored in his first three games with the Suns.
 
In the home half of the third, the pitcher Aaron Miller began the inning when he swung at the first pitch and doubled down the left field line off of Suns starter Jose Alvarez.  Miller is the Lookouts best hitting pitcher and helped his own cause, and is now 4-for-13 this season with a double and a triple.  After Nick Buss grounded out to first with Miller advancing to third, Rafael Ynoa put the Lookouts on the board with a single up the middle to make the score 3-1.
 
The Lookouts sent nine men to the plate in the sixth inning, scoring five runs on four hits.  J.T. Wise doubled to start the inning, and Pedro Baez was hit by a pitch.  With runners on first and second, Brahiam Maldonado came to the plate, and with one swing of the bat, the Lookouts had their first lead of the night 4-3.  The two-run blast to left field was Maldonado’s first home run and first runs batted in this season.
 
With Alvarez still on the mound, Griff Erickson doubled with two outs, and pinch hitter Travis Denker was walked intentionally.  Nick Buss then smashed a base-clearing triple to right-center, and the Lookouts had padded their lead to 6-3.  Buss is now third in the Southern League in triples with five.
 
The Lookouts have won five of the six meetings against the Suns this season.  Jacksonville is now a season-high four games below .500 with a record of 21-25.  After winning nine of the first dozen games on the road, the Suns have now lost six of their last eight road contests.  The Suns lost for just the third time this season after scoring the first run of the game (17-3).
 
Chattanooga has won four straight games, outscoring their opponents 31-18 along the way.  The Lookouts improved to 23-23 on the season.  Chattanooga is perfect on the season with a record of 21-0 when leading after the seventh inning. 
 
Jose Alvarez suffered the loss to fall to 1-2 on the season.  He pitched five and two-thirds of an inning allowing six runs on 10 hits, both season highs.  Aaron Miller pitched six innings, allowing three runs on four hits to improve his record to 3-4.  Two of his three wins this season have come against the Suns.  Miller and two relievers combined to one-hit the Suns in a 1-0 Lookouts win April 12th at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.  Logan Bawcom pitched the ninth inning on Wednesday night to earn his third save of the season for the Lookouts.
 
For Jacksonville, Jake Smolinski finished 2-for-4 and drove in a run and Jeff Dominguez went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.  For Chattanooga, Nick Buss was 2-for-5 and drove in a pair of runs with his fifth triple of the season.  Griff Erickson went 2-for-3 and scored a run.  Nine different Lookouts batters had at least one hit in the game.  The Suns scored three runs on nine hits, the Lookouts plated six runs on 11 hits.  The Suns haven’t out hit an opponent in their last nine games.
 
The Suns will look to bounce back on Thursday with Bryan Evans (0-3, 4.08) starting his ninth game of the season.  Matt Magill (3-2, 3.73) gets the call for the Lookouts.  The first pitch is set for 7:15p.m. from AT&T Field in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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Suns Even Series With Wahoos

Shawn Bowman drove in the game tying run in the eighth inning against the Blue Wahoos with a pinch hit double in the Suns 4-3 win at the Baseball Grounds. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns spotted the Pensacola Blue Wahoos a 3-0 lead on Sunday afternoon, but rallied for a 4-3 win at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.  The last three games in the series have all been decided by one run. 

Matthew Neil had impressive numbers in his eight starts with Jupiter, going 6-0 with a 2.06 ERA.  On Sunday,  the Suns sent the 25-year-old right-hander to the mound  looking to even the series against the Wahoos at two wins apiece.  Neil responded by retiring the first three batters he faced in his double-A debut. 
 
In the top of the second, Josh Fellhauer singled to lead off the inning against Neil, and Joel Guzman drove him in with a double into the gap in right-center field to put the Blue Wahoos in front 1-0.  Guzman is 7-for-17 in the series, including three doubles and a three-run home run.  He has hit safely in all four games.
 
The Wahoos increased the lead in the fifth inning, when Mark Fleury singled with one out and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Pensacola pitcher Daniel Corcino.  Moving the runner into scoring position paid off, when Ryan LaMarre drove in Fleury with a single to right field for a 2-0 Wahoos lead.
 
In the sixth, the Blue Wahoos added a run against Suns reliever  Bobby Bramhall.  Brodie Greene and Josh Fellhauer both singled, and after a force out put runners on first and third, the rarely used suicide squeeze came into play.  Stephen Hunt bunted back to the pitcher Bramhall, with Greene breaking from third base on the pitch, and scoring the Blue Wahoos third run of the day.  
 
Pensacola starter Daniel Corcino was cruising along into the sixth inning.  He allowed just two singles, and at one point retired 11 straight Suns batters, seven by strikeout.  In the sixth, Suns shortstop Danny Black singled to lead off the inning and Donnie Webb followed by hitting a two-run home run into the right field stands to cut the Blue Wahoos lead to 3-2.  It was Webb’s first home run of the season, and the Suns have now hit the long ball in six of their last eight games.
 
The Suns pulled even in the bottom of the seventh against relief pitcher Drew Hayes.  Curt Smith hit his ninth double of the season, and pinch-hitter Shawn Bowman doubled to drive home Smith with the tying run and the Blue Wahoos 3-0 lead had vanished.
 
Late inning heroics have been the norm for the Suns this week with two ninth inning wins, and Sunday afternoon was no exception when it came to late inning thrills.
 
In the bottom of the eight, Kyle Skipworth snapped an 0-for-21 stretch with a one out single off of Clayton Tanner.  After Tanner struck out Russell Mitchell, the stage was set for Kyle Jensen.  Celebrating his 24th birthday, Jensen completed the comeback by gift wrapping the go-ahead run with a double off the left field wall, with Skipworth hustling all the way from first to score putting the Suns in front 4-3.
 
Pensacola threatened in the top of the ninth against Evan Reed, when David Vidal and Mark Fleury hit back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners with one out.  The Blue Wahoos turned to Yordanys Perez, who entered the game as a pinch hitter.  He hit the ball sharply to Suns shortstop Danny Black, who handled it cleanly and started the game-ending double play.  Not to be overlooked was the effort by second baseman Paul Gran, who absorbed a hard slide by Vidal and still made the throw to first to finish the play.
 
It was memorable double-A debut for infielder Danny Black.  He finished 3-for-4 with three singles and scored a run.  Curt Smith went 2-for-4 for his third multi-hit game of the season.  Brodie Greene, Mark Fleury, and Josh Fellhauer each finished the day 2-for-4 for the Blue Wahoos.
 
Matthew Neil’s double-A debut has to be considered a success.  He allowed two runs on five hits over five innings against a Blue Wahoos team that ranks second in the Southern League in batting with a .260 average.  Neil is now 11-3 in his 24 minor league starts.  Evan Reed pitched the final two innings to improve to 3-1, and now has earned both wins for the Suns in this series. 
 
Coming off his worst outing of the season after he allowed six runs over five innings, Daniel Corcino found his touch against the Suns tossing six innings allowing just two runs on four hits.  He struck out a season-high nine batters, fanning at least one in every inning except the sixth.  Corcino, who has the best fastball in the Reds system, threw 105 pitches on the afternoon.  He’s given up more than three earned runs in a game only once in his nine starts this season.  Clayton Tanner pitched one and a-third innings and gave up the winning run to fall to 0-3 on the season.
 
The series finale is 11:05a.m. Monday morning at the Baseball Grounds.  In a match up of right handers, the Suns will send Omar Poveda (3-1, 5.05) to the mound for his sixth start of the season.  The Blue Wahoos counter with Tim Crabbe (1-2, 4.24).

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Blue Wahoos Edge Suns 2-1

Blue Wahoos pitcher Tim Gustafson won his first game since being moved into the starting rotation. He allowed just two hits and one run against the Suns to impove to 2-0 on the season. Photo Courtesy: Pensacola Blue Wahoos

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns fell to the Pensacola Blue Wahoos 2-1 on Friday night at the Baseball Grounds.  The Suns had their three game winning streak against their division rival come to an end.  Jacksonville is now 8-4 against the Blue Wahoos this season, with six of the games between the two teams decided by a single run. 

After waiting out the second rain delay of the series, this one only 25 minutes, Pensacola took the lead in the second inning against Suns starter Bryan Evans with three straight hits.  Mark Fleury started the inning with an infield single back to the pitcher, and David Vidal singled to center behind him to put runners on first and second with one out.  Yordanys Perez swung at the first pitch he saw from Evans, and singled to right field to drive in Fleury and put the Blue Wahoos in front 1-0. 

In the bottom of the second inning the Suns tied the game 1-1 with one swing of the bat, when Shawn Bowman hit his fifth home run of the season off of Blue Wahoos starting pitcher Tim Gustafson.  Bowman has hit two home runs in as many nights, and is tied with Kyle Skipworth and Kyle Jensen for the team lead with five round trippers.  The Suns have hit a home run in three straight games and six of their last seven.  It was the Suns 25 home run of the season, with 16 of them solo shots. 

The Blue Wahoos took a 2-1 lead in the fourth, when former Sun Joel Guzman singled to lead off the inning and then stole his first base of the season.  Bryan Evans then struck out both Mark Fleury and David Vidal, but Yordanys Perez delivered a two-out single hitting a 0-2 pitch into center field with Guzman scoring the game’s final run.   

Bryan Evans gave the Suns a solid outing but dropped to 0-3 on the season.  Evans worked a season-high seven innings allowing six hits and two runs.  His previous high was five and a-third innings.  Evans tied his season high by striking out seven, and didn’t walk a batter for the second straight outing.  All six hits against Evans were singles.  Josh Schmidt and A.J. Ramos each pitched an inning in the game for the Suns. 

Tim Gustafson put together his second-longest outing of the season as he improved his record to 2-0.  He pitched five and two-thirds innings before handing the game over to the Blue Wahoos bullpen.  Gustafson earned his first win since April 8th.  It’s also his first win in five starts since being moved from the bullpen into the starting rotation.  Leadoff batters hit just .196 against Gustafson last season, and the Suns had their leadoff hitter reach base only once in the game against him on Friday. 

After using seven pitchers in game one of the series, manager Jim Riggleman called his bullpen three times on Friday.  Clayton Tanner, Justin Freeman, and Donnie Joseph combined to pitch three and a-third innings allowing just two hits.  Joseph closed out the game to earn his eighth save of the season.  He’s now tied for the league lead in saves with Jacksonville’s Evan Reed and Huntsville’s Robert Wooten. 

Shawn Bowman went 2-for-4 in the game and he was one of just three Suns players with a hit.  Jeff Dominguez and Curt Smith each singled on the night.  Yordanys Perez and Joel Guzman each had two hits for the Blue Wahoos, with Perez driving in both runs for Pensacola. 

The Suns fell to 3-20 when allowing their opponent to score the first run of the game and saw their modest two-game winning streak come to an end.  The Blue Wahoos and Suns are once again tied in the standings with identical 20-22 records.   Jacksonville went 10-5 against division opponents in April with seven of those wins coming at the expense of Pensacola.  In May, the Suns are just 3-9 against teams from the South Division and have been outscored 49-27 in those 12 games.

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Bowman Powers Suns Past Blue Wahoos

After a 44 minute rain delay, the Jacksonville Suns defeated the Pensacola Blue Wahoos 8-5 at the Baseball Grounds on Thursday May 17th. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns used the long ball to defeat the Pensacola Blue Wahoos in the first game of their series 8-5 at the Baseball Grounds on Thursday night. 

After a 44 minute rain delay, the Suns jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning against Pensacola starter J.C. Sulbaran, when Jeff Dominguez singled and scored on a Kyle Skipworth grounder that went under the glove of Blue Wahoos second baseman Brodie Greene.  The Suns have scored at least one run in the first inning 12 times in 41 games this season, and have a record of 10-2 when they cross the plate in the first inning. 

Jacksonville increased the lead to 2-0 in the second, when Kyle Jensen led off with a walk and scored on a one-out double by Chris Gutierrez.  It was the first of two doubles and two runs batted in for Gutierrez, who now has eight doubles this season.

The Blue Wahoos figured out starter Jose Alvarez in the third inning, collecting four hits and scoring two runs to tie the game 2-2.  With one out, Didi Gregorius doubled and Brodie Greene singled to put runners on first and third.  Joel Guzman and Koyie Hill each drove in a run with and RBI single. 

Pensacola added two more runs in the fourth against Alvarez when P.J. Phillips led off the inning with a single, and Andrew Means then doubled to center with Phillips motoring around to increase the Blue Wahoos lead to 3-2.  Means would later score on a sacrifice bunt by Ryan LaMarre, and Pensacola had a 4-2 advantage. 

For the second straight game the Suns would rally from two runs down for a win.  In the bottom of the fourth, Kyle Jensen doubled to lead off the inning and scored on a sacrifice fly by Gutierrez to trim the Blue Wahoos lead to 4-3. 

In the fifth inning, Jacksonville took the lead back when Jeff Dominguez and Jake Smolinski walked to start the inning.  Kyle Skipworth drove in Dominguez with a ground out, and Ryan Patterson plated Smolinski with a double down the right field line and the Suns were ahead 5-4. 

The score stayed that way until the ninth, with Evan Reed trying to preserve the win.  With one out, Didi Gregorius singled and stole second base.  Reed retired Brodie Greene on a fly out to center, but with two outs Joel Guzman jumped on a 2-0 pitch and doubled to left to drive in Gregorius and tie the game 5-5. 

The Blue Wahoos turned the game over to Curtis Partch for the bottom of the ninth.  Jake Smolinski led off with a double, and then Skipworth was walked intentionally.  Shawn Bowman ended the game with a walk-off three-run home run that sailed into the flag court in left field to give the Suns an 8-5 win.  The Suns have now hit a home run in five of the last six games.

The win snapped the Suns five game home losing streak.  Jacksonville was outscored 25-3 in a five game sweep by the Mobile BayBears last week.

Chris Gutierrez finished the game 2-for-3 with two runs batted in.  It was his fifth multi-hit game of the year.  Kyle Skipworth drove in two runs to increase his RBI total to 17.  The Suns finished with 10 hits in the game, reaching double-digits in hits for the first time in 13 games.  Seven of the 10 hits were for extra bases, with six doubles and a home run.

Suns starter Jose Alvarez pitched six innings in his seventh start of the season.  He allowed seven hits and four runs, while striking out five and walking just one.  Blue Wahoos starter J.C. Sulbaran pitched four innings and allowed four hits and five runs.  Evan Reed pitched two innings for the Suns earning the win and is now 2-1 this season.  He allowed three hits, struck out three, and gave up the game tying run in the ninth.  Curtis Partch didn’t record an out in the ninth and fell to 2-3 on the season.

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Suns Blank Blue Wahoos In Matinee

Three Suns pitchers combine for a 4-0 shutout over Pensacola in the series finale as Jacksonville takes three of five from Pensacola. Photo Courtesy: Pensacola Blue Wahoos

 
 
By Steve Kolbe
 
The Jacksonville Suns shut out the Pensacola Blue Wahoos 4-0 on Sunday afternoon, and in the process improved to 14-11 to pull even with Mobile for first place in the South Division.  The Suns ended April the same way they started it, with a shutout win at home.  On Opening Day some 25 days ago, the Suns blanked Huntsville 2-0 behind the pitching of Joey O’Gara.
 
The starting pitcher for the Suns in the series finale against the Blue Wahoos was a mystery earlier in the week with the fifth starter’s spot vacant due to the suspension of Omar Poveda.  Jacksonville gave the ball to Bobby Bramhall on Sunday, and it was the right decision.  Bramhall was brilliant in his first start, pitching four innings and allowing just two singles while striking out three Wahoos batters.  Bramhall had appeared in four games this season all in relief, and Including Sunday he’s allowed just one run in just over 14 innings of work.  Bramhall didn’t figure in the decision, but he set the tone for the day.
 
In the fourth, the Suns broke the ice against Pensacola starter J.C. Sulbaran when Shawn Bowman doubled to lead off the inning.  Taylor Krick followed with a single to put runners on the corners with no one out.  Curt Smith drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to right field, with Bowman tagging from third and crashing into Blue Wahoos catcher Brian Peacock who tried to block the plate on the play.  The throw beat Bowman, but Peacock dropped the ball as he fell to the ground and the Suns led 1-0.  Smith drove in a season-high three runs on the day.  With two outs in the fourth, Chris Gutierrez drove in his sixth run of the season with a single to center, with Krick scoring from second to increase the Suns lead to 2-0.
 
The Suns scored again in the fifth inning to make the score 3-0, when Smith walked with the bases loaded to force in Donnie Webb, who was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning.  The base on balls to Smith would be Sulbaran’s last batter of the day. 
 
In the seventh, Jacksonville loaded the bases for the second time of the afternoon when Jake Smolinski singled, Shawn Bowman doubled, and Taylor Krick was hit up high by a pitch from reliever Mark Serrano.  Once again, Smith plated a run with a sacrifice fly and the Suns were cruising along with a 4-0 advantage. 
 
Curt Smith finished 1-for-1 with a walk and drove in three of the four Jacksonville runs.  He came to the plate with six runners in scoring position during the game, and cashed in a run every time.  Jake Smolinski returned to the lineup after missing 11 games with an injury and reached base all four of his trips to the plate.  He singled three times and scored a run.   Shawn Bowman went 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles and scored a run.  Bowman has four doubles this season after having seven all of last year.
 
Jacksonville has won seven of the first 10 games from their in-state rivals, and improved to 10-5 against division opponents overall.  The Suns record when scoring the game’s first run improved to 13-1, with their only loss coming to Chattanooga April 11th.
 
Three Suns pitchers combined for the shutout.  Pensacola finished with five singles and a double.  Bramhall tossed four innings and allowed two hits.  Kyle Kaminska earned the win to improve to 3-1 on the season.  He pitched three innings allowing four hits and struck out four.  A.J. Ramos continued his early season dominance, pitching the eighth and ninth without surrendering a hit.  This season Ramos has faced 40 batters in 13 innings of work and allowed just one hit.  The losing pitcher was J.C. Sulbaran.  He pitched seven innings and allowed three runs to drop to 1-3 on the season. 
 
With four shutouts this season, the Suns are just three away from their total during the 2011 campaign.  In the four shutouts, Jacksonville pitchers have allowed a total of 19 hits.
 
A travel day on Monday for the Suns, who begin a five game series in Birmingham on Tuesday.  The Suns have won seven of their first 10 road games of the season.  Both teams will start the series with a record of 14-11.  Jacksonville will run into a team riding a hot streak.  This week the Barons completed a sweep of a five game series against Montgomery, outscoring the Biscuits 39-17 along the way.

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Suns Fast Start Sinks Blue Wahoos

Kyle Jensen and company celebrate after defeating Pensacola to give the Suns their 13th win in April. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

 

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns scored three runs in the first inning Saturday night on the way to a 5-2 win over Pensacola at the Baseball Grounds. 

Donnie Webb led off the game by reaching base on an error charged to shortstop Miguel Rojas.  It was the 12th time this season that the first batter of the game for the Suns has reached base.  Ryan Patterson then singled against Blue Wahoos starter Tim Crabbe, and both he and Webb advanced to second and third with no outs.  Shawn Bowman delivered with the runners in scoring position, a double to right field to drive in a pair of runs for a 2-0 Suns lead.  Bowman and Kyle Jensen are tied for the team lead with 13 runs batted in.  Jacksonville tacked on another run in the first when Russell Mitchell singled to drive in Bowman from second.  Mitchell has driven in four runs in his last three games.

Suns starting pitcher Graham Taylor was strong throughout, allowing only four singles through five innings.  He was able to keep the Pensacola bats silent, the Blue Wahoos had scored 17 runs on 26 hits in the last two games.  In the sixth inning, Pensacola broke through against Taylor when Henry Rodriguez beat out an infield single and Cody Puckett hit his first home run of the season to cut the Suns lead to 3-2.  Puckett hit 15 home runs last season with the Carolina Mudcats, which was good for second-most on the team.  He hit his first round-tripper this season in his 21st game of the year. 

Down by just a run and in search of their third straight win, the Blue Wahoos went to their bullpen in the sixth and seventh innings.  Drew Hayes and Wilkin De La Rosa struggled in the seventh allowing two runs, walking three batters, and hitting another.

The Suns sent eight men to the plate in the seventh, and with the bases loaded Kyle Skipworth was hit by a pitch on a full count to force in a run an increase the lead to 4-2.  It was Skipworth’s 12th run batted in this season.  Jose Duarte, Shawn Bowman, and Russell Mitchell each drew a base on balls in the inning, with Mitchell’s walk forcing in a run to make it 5-2. 

Graham Taylor improved his record to 2-1.  He pitched six innings allowing six hits and two runs, struck out five and walked only Ryan LaMarre, who was the first batter of the game.  In his last two starts, Taylor has allowed eight hits and just two runs in 13 innings of work.  Evan Reed earned his league-leading sixth save of the season by pitching two hitless innings and striking out two batters.  Tim Crabbe was the losing pitcher and is now 1-1 on the season.  He allowed seven hits and those three runs in the first inning, but none after that. 

Shawn Bowman finished 2-for-3, drove in two runs, and scored another.  Kyle Jensen went 2-for-4 and has had at least one hit in all four games in the series against the Wahoos.  Russell Mitchell was 1-for-3 with two runs batted in.  The Suns scored in the first inning for the ninth time this season, and are now 12-1 when scoring the game’s first run.  With the win the Suns improved to 13-11, and are now 6-8 at home.  

The rubber game of the series between the Suns and Blue Wahoos is Sunday afternoon at 3:05 pm.  The game will also be televised on CW-17.

 

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Suns Continue Winning Ways In Mobile

BayBears starter Tyler Skaggs struck out a career-best 12 batters in a loss to the Suns at Hank Aaron Stadium. Photo Courtesy: Mobile BayBears

By Steve Kolbe

With a share of first place on the line, the Jacksonville Suns continued their winning ways on the road, powering past Mobile 5-1 at Hank Aaron Stadium.  Jacksonville has used a five game winning streak to improve to 9-7 and tie the BayBears atop the South Division.  Last April, the longest winning streak the Suns put together was two games, when they finished the first month of the season 11-12.  The Suns had two five game winning streaks all year during 2011, May 23-28 and June 16-23.  They’ve matched that mark already. 

The first meeting of the season between the Suns and BayBears began as a pitcher’s duel, with Jacksonville’s Jose Alvarez and Mobile’s Tyler Skaggs stealing the spotlight.  Alvarez breezed along until the fourth inning, when Brent Clevlen hit his first home run of the season to give the Bay Bears a 1-0 lead.  The BayBears had three hits in the game, and all were off the bat of Clevlen.  He finished 3-for-4 with a single, double, and a homer.  

Jacksonville managed just three hits in the first six innings against Skaggs, who was cruising along allowing just a pair of singles by Shawn Bowman and a double by Kyle Skipworth.  Skaggs tied his career high for strikeouts in a game by fanning 12 of the first 22 Suns batters he faced in the game. 

Everything changed for the Suns in the top of the seventh inning.  With one out, Curt Smith reached base with an infield single.  It appeared that Chris Gutierrez was going to pop out to first baseman Yazy Arbelo, but he dropped the ball for an error and gave Gutierrez another swing.  He made it count, ripping a double into right-center and Smith scored all the way from first to tie the game 1-1.  Jose Duarte put Jacksonville in front 2-1 when his double to left drove in Gutierrez.  Gutierrez has driven in four runs and scored five times in his last four games. 

The rough inning for Skaggs continued when pinch-hitter German Duran came to the plate for just the second time this season, and launched a two-run home run over the left field wall.  It was a towering blast that padded the Suns lead to 4-1.  Mobile entered the game with a team ERA of 3.10, second-best in the league behind the Jackson Generals.  The Suns have scored 30 runs during their five game streak. 

In the eight inning, Shawn Bowman hit his third home run of the season to straight-away center to increase the lead to 5-1.  The Suns have hit 16 home runs this season, most in the league and five more than both Jackson and Mobile.  Bowman and Kyle Skipworth are tied for third in the league with three round trippers each. 

The Suns bullpen was strong once again.  Jose Alvarez went four innings, allowing two hits and one run while striking out four and didn’t factor in the decision.  The losing pitcher was Tyler Skaggs, he pitched six-and-a-third innings and allowed seven hits and four runs.  Kyle Kaminska pitched two innings without allowing a hit and earned his second win of the season.  Wade Korpi pitched the seventh, Garrett Parcell the eighth, and A.J. Ramos the ninth.  Overall, Jacksonville relievers tossed five innings and allowed just one hit.  Jacksonville hurlers struck out eight without walking a batter.  

Shawn Bowman finished the night 3-for-4.  Kyle Skipworth was 2-for-4 with two doubles.  Skipworth is batting .340 in his last seven games in the starting lineup.  He’s hit safely in each game, going 10-for-29.  The win was Jacksonville’s first when they allow their opponent to score first, they were 0-6 entering the game. 

Game two of the series is Saturday night at Hank Aaron Stadium.  The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05PM with Bryan Evans making the start for Jacksonville looking for his first win of the year.  Former first-round draft pick Trevor Bauer takes the mound for the BayBears.  He leads the Southern League with a record of 3-0 and a 0.57 ERA.  Bauer was the third overall pick by the Diamondbacks in the 2011 draft.

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Suns Blank Blue Wahoos

Suns blank the Blue Wahoos for their second shutout of the season. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

 By Steve Kolbe

 
The Jacksonville Suns shutout the Blue Wahoos 7-0 in a rain-shortened game on Tuesday to win their second straight in Pensacola.
 
Zack Neal started his second game for Jacksonville and once again turned in a solid performance to earn his first win a of the season, and he did it with rain falling throughout the night.  Neal pitched seven innings and scattered six hits without allowing a run.  He struck out seven and walked only one.  In his two starts this season he has allowed only one run in 13 innings.  Kyle Kaminska sat down the Wahoos in order in the eighth just before the heavy rain started to fall.  The game was called at 10:15PM local time after eight innings.
 
In the first three games of the series the Blue Wahoos have scored only six runs, and they haven’t crossed the plate since the first inning of the second game of the series, a stretch of 20 innings without a run.  In the last 18 innings, Suns pitchers have allowed only nine hits while striking out 18 and walking just six.
 
Shawn Bowman led the way at the plate collecting three of the Jacksonville’s five hits.  Bowman was 3-for-4 and drove in four runs, including hitting a solo home run in the seventh inning.  It was his second home run in as many days, and the tenth this season for the Suns.  Bowman is the only player to hit more than one home run so far.  Chris Gutierrez, Ryan Patterson, and Jaime Ortiz each drove in a run.  Seven different players scored for Jacksonville in the team’s most lopsided with of the season.  The Suns are 6-1 this season when they score the game’s first run.
 
Pensacola pitchers walked seven Jacksonville hitters in the game, including three to start off an inning.  Kyle Jensen, Jake Jefferies, and Chris Gutierrez all earned leadoff walks and all three came around to score later in those innings.  Through 13 games this season Suns batters have been issued 55 bases on balls, and 11 of them have scored.
 
Zach Neal was the winning pitcher, he’s now 1-1.  Blue Wahoos hitters were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.  The losing pitcher was Daniel Corcino, he’s now 0-1.  Corcino is listed as having the best fastball in the Cincinnati Reds organization.  Jacksonville improves to 6-7 with the win, and one game behind Pensacola for second place in the South Division. 
 
Game four of the series is Wednesday at Maritime Park, weather permitting.  Left-hander Graham Taylor takes the hill for the Suns looking to extend the team’s winning streak to a season-high three games.  Righty Tim Crabbe is scheduled to be on the mound for the Blue Wahoos.  Pensacola has lost two straight at home after winning four of their first five games in the new ballpark

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