By Steve Kolbe
By Steve Kolbe
By Steve Kolbe
The top three batters in the Biscuits lineup combined for nine of the 14 hits on the night. Hak-Ju Lee, Ty Morrison, and Omar Luna each finished with three hits apiece. Lee extended his hit streak to 10 games. Morrison had a double, triple, and a home run to finish a single away from the cycle. Morrison accounted for seven of the Biscuits eight runs, scoring four times and driving in three others. Tyler Bortnick singled in the first inning to extend his hit streak to 15 games, one away from tying for the longest streak in the Southern League this season (Chris Gutierrez and Henry Rodriguez). Every player except left fielder Kyeong Kang (0-for-4) reached base at least once in the game for Montgomery.
Graham Taylor (4-7) allowed six runs on 10 hits over five innings and has lost three of his last four decisions. Montgomery had been tough on lefties, with a record of 17-7 against southpaws this season. Taylor fell to 1-4 in eight road starts this season, with his lone win April 23 at Mobile. Friday’s game was the fourth time this season that Taylor has surrendered six or more runs in an outing. Biscuits starter Joe Cruz (6-6) allowed four runs on four hits and earned the win despite walking seven batters in five innings. Cruz improved to 4-1 at home, and has won four straight decisions overall after winning just twice in his first 10 starts of the season.
The series finale is Saturday night from Riverwalk Stadium with the first pitch set for 8:05 p.m. RHP Matthew Neil (1-2, 5.05) gets the nod for the Suns. RHP Nick Barnese (0-0, 4.50) will make his second start of the season for the Biscuits.
By Steve Kolbe
By Steve Kolbe
By Steve Kolbe
The Suns first road game of the second half ended up being a slugfest, with Jacksonville coming up short in a 7-6 loss at Riverwalk Stadium on Tuesday night. The Suns fell to 2-4 this season in Montgomery.
The Suns jumped out to an early lead in the first inning against Biscuits starter Alex Colome. Donnie Webb led off with a double to right-center, and he scored when Chris Gutierrez doubled to put Jacksonville up 1-0. The Suns have scored at least one run in the first inning in 22 games this season.
The Biscuits wasted no time getting on the scoreboard in the home half of the first. Leadoff man Hak-Ju Lee singled and stole second base. The Biscuits next stolen base will be their 100th of the season. Ty Morrison then singled with Lee scoring to tie the game 1-1. Suns starter Omar Poveda would face only one more batter. Omar Luna hammered a line drive back up the middle that hit Poveda in the lower left leg, forcing the Suns pitcher to leave the game. With Suns lefty James Leverton taking over, Kyeong Kang singled to center with two runs scoring to give the Biscuits a 3-1 advantage.
Jacksonville roughed up Colome in the second inning, sending nine batters to the plate and scoring five runs on four hits to take a 6-3 lead. Colome committed two balks in the inning, one of which allowed a run to score. Chris Gutierrez and Paul Gran each drove in a run with a single in the inning, and Kyle Skipworth plated a run with a sacrifice fly.
Montgomery started chipping away at the Suns lead in the third. Omar Luna, Ryan Garko, and Tyler Bortnick all singled to load the bases. Leverton then committed a balk, with Luna scoring to cut the Suns lead to 6-4. There were three balks called in the first three innings of the game.
The Suns had a chance to break the game open in the fifth inning when Jake Jefferies doubled, Jeff Dominguez singled, and Aaron Dudley walked to load the bases with no outs. But the Suns came up empty when Biscuits reliever Alex Koronis retired the next three batters he faced in what would be the turning point of the game.
In the home half of the sixth inning, the Biscuits rallied against Suns left hander Bobby Bramhall. With one out and two on, Mark Thomas came through when he doubled off the wall in left field, with Michael Sheridan scoring to bring the Biscuits within one at 6-5. Hak-Ju Lee then singled with Brett Nommensen rumbling home to even the score at 6-6.
In the seventh, the Biscuits completed the comeback against Suns reliever Jordan Conley. Kyeong Kang led off the inning with a double down the left field line. After Tyler Bornick was hit by a pitch, and Michael Sheridan dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third, the Suns elected to walk Brett Nommensen to load the bases. Mark Thomas then drove in the go-ahead run with a ground ball to short, with the Suns unable to turn an inning-ending double play, and Kang touched the plate to put the Biscuits in front 7-6.
The two teams combined for 13 runs on 28 hits. Jake Jefferies finished 3-for-5 with a double and scored a run. Jeff Dominguez and Aaron Dudley each had two hits, and Chris Gutierrez drove in two of the Suns six runs. The Suns collected five doubles in the game, two shy of their season high.
Montgomery finished with a season-high 14 hits in the game. Ryan Garko and Kyeon Kang led the Biscuits with three hits each. Kang has now reached base safely in 12 straight games.
Jordan Conley (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing one run on three hits in two and two-thirds innings of work. Neil Schenk (3-0) pitched the seventh inning for the win. Adam Liberatore tossed the final two innings to earn his seventh save of the season. The Suns threatened in the ninth with Jeff Dominguez and Curt Smith hitting singles to put runners on the corners with two outs. Liberatore buckled down and struck out Donnie Webb to end the game.
Game two of the series is Wednesday with the first pitch scheduled for 8:05 p.m. EST. LHP Jose Alvarez (2-4, 4.15) will start his 14th game of the season. After allowing just two singles in eight innings in a 2-0 win over Tennessee, Alvarez was named the Southern League’s Pitcher of the Week. The Biscuits will send LHP Kyle Lobstein (3-3, 4.7) to the mound for his 15th start of the season.
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.