Tag Archives: Tyler Bortnick

Suns Down Biscuits


Suns left fielder Jake Smolinski(above)went 3-for-4 with two RBI’s in 4-2 win over the Montgomery Biscuits. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

The Suns avoided a sweep with a 4-2 win over the Montgomery Biscuits on Friday night at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.  The win snapped the Suns four-game home losing streak.
The Suns scored four unearned runs in the second inning against Biscuits starter Kyle Lobstein.  After Curt Smith and Kyle Jensen singled, second baseman Tyler Bortnick misplayed a ground ball by Jeff Dominguez with Smith scoring all the way from second base on the error to put the Suns ahead 1-0.  Jose Duarte followed with a double down into the right field corner, with Jensen scoring on the play to increase the lead to 2-0.  Duarte has two RBI’s in his last four games in the starting lineup.  Jake Smolinski added to the lead when he singled up the middle for two RBI’s to give the Suns a 4-0 advantage.
The Biscuits scored a run in the third when Ty Morrison grounded out with the bases loaded to make the score 4-1.  Montgomery added another run on a solo home run from catcher Mayo Acosta in the seventh inning.
Jake Smolinski went 3-for-4 with two RBI’s to lead the Suns at the plate.  Hak-Ju Lee was the only Biscuits player with more than one hit.  With his two singles, Lee has now reached base safely in 27 straight games.
The Suns had 19 hits in the three game series, 16 singles and three doubles. 
Jacksonville manager Andy Barkett was ejected in the first inning for after Biscuits center fielder Ty Morrison appeared to trap a ball hit by Chris Gutierrez, who was initially called safe at second base.  After a discussion between the three umpires, the call was reversed and they ruled Gutierrez out, with Barkett erupting.  After he was ejected, Barkett went to home plate and covered it with dirt.  It’s the fourth time this season that Barkett has been thrown out.
James Leverton (1-0) allowed one run on four hits in five and a-third innings for his first win with the Suns.  A.J. Ramos pitched the final two innings to earn his tenth save of the season.  Ramos has a save in each of the Suns last four victories.  Kyle Lobstein (4-5) allowed eight hits and no earned runs in the loss.
The Suns begin a four game set in Pensacola on Saturday night with the first pitch slated for 7:30 p.m.  It’s the final meeting of the season between the two teams, with the Suns needing one win to clinch the season series.  The Suns are 13-10 against the Blue Wahoos.

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Biscuits Stay Hot With Win Over Suns

Ty Morrison finished a single shy of the cycle, drove in three runs and scored four others in the Biscuits 8-6 win over the Jacksonville Suns on June 29, 2012 at Riverwalk Stadium. Photo Courtesy: Montgomery Biscuits

By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns scored three runs in the first inning, but the Montgomery Biscuits tied their season high with 14 hits on the way to an 8-6 win at Riverwalk Stadium on Friday night.  The Biscuits have reached double-digit hits in all four games of the series, and have out hit the Suns by a total 49-35.
The Suns started quickly when Biscuits starter Joe Cruz struggled with his control, allowing the first four batters to reach base in the opening inning.  Donnie Webb walked on four pitches, Chris Guierrez singled, and Jake Smolinski walked to load the bases before Cruz recorded an out.  Kyle Jensen drew a walk on four straight pitches, forcing in Webb to put the Suns up 1-0.  Jensen increased his team-leading RBI total to 38, with 10 of them coming with the bases loaded.  Kyle Skipworth knocked in Gutierrez from third with a ground out to the right side to make the score 2-0.  After Paul Gran popped out, Jake Jefferies hit a ground ball to first baseman Michael Sheridan that went under his glove and into right field, with Smolinski scoring on the error to build the Suns lead to 3-0.  The Suns have scored first in all four games of the series but have just one win.
Montgomery countered in the bottom of the first against Suns starter Graham Taylor.  Leadoff man Hak-Ju Lee singled to center on a two strike pitch and Ty Morrison doubled down the third base line, also on a two strike pitch, to put runners on second and third with no outs.  Ryan Garko drove in Lee from third with a sacrifice fly, and Tyler Bortnick plated Morrison with a single up the middle and the Suns lead was cut to 3-2.  Hak-Ju Lee has had a lead off hit in all four games in the series for the Biscuits.
Cruz entered the game with the second-most walks in the league, and struggled to find the plate again in the second when he walked Jeff Dominguez and Donnie Web.  Cruz then threw a wild pitch, and catcher Mark Thomas added to the trouble when his throw to third base went into left field, with Dominguez scoring to increase the Suns advantage to 4-2.  In the first two innings, Jacksonville scored four runs on just one hit, five walks, a wild pitch, and an error.
The Biscuits began their comeback in the third inning when Ty Morrison led off with a walk and Omar Luna doubled down the third base line, with Morrison motoring all the way around from first to cut the lead to 4-3. 
In the fourth inning, Montgomery took the lead for good by scoring three runs on four hits against Taylor, all with two outs.  Brett Nommensen singled and went to second on a ground out.  Hak-Ju Lee then drove in Nommensen with a single to right field to tie the game 4-4.  Ty Morrison continued his big night when he hit a two-run home run over the right field fence to give Montgomery a 6-4 edge.  It was Morrison’s second round tripper of the season, and the Biscuits third home run in the last three games.
With Suns reliever Alan Oaks on the mound in the sixth the Biscuits scored two important runs, again with two outs.  Lee singled and scored when Morrison tripled into the gap in left-center and it was 7-4 Biscuits.  Omar Luna came through with a two-out single, with Morrison coasting across the plate to make the score 8-4.  Montgomery has rallied to tie or take the lead after falling behind in all four games in this series.
With Biscuits closer Adam Liberatore on the hill in the ninth, Paul Gran singled and Curt Smith hit a two-run home run to make it 8-6, but that’s as close as the Suns would get.  Smith has hit three home runs in his last five games.  The Suns as a team have hit 14 round trippers in the last 13 games.
Montgomery has won five of the last six games, while the Suns have dropped seven of their last 11 contests.  Friday night’s not alright, with Jacksonville just 3-10 in games played on Friday.
Curt Smith finished 3-for-5 with two RBI and Jake Smolinski was 2-for-4.  The Suns finished with seven hits, six of them singles, and until the ninth didn’t have more than one hit in any of the first eight innings of the game.  The Suns tied their season high by walking 10 times, with Donnie Webb and Kyle Jensen each issued three free passes. 

The top three batters in the Biscuits lineup combined for nine of the 14 hits on the night.  Hak-Ju Lee, Ty Morrison, and Omar Luna each finished with three hits apiece.   Lee extended his hit streak to 10 games.  Morrison had a double, triple, and a home run to finish a single away from the cycle.  Morrison accounted for seven of the Biscuits eight runs, scoring four times and driving in three others.  Tyler Bortnick singled in the first inning to extend his hit streak to 15 games, one away from tying for the longest streak in the Southern League this season (Chris Gutierrez and Henry Rodriguez).  Every player except left fielder Kyeong Kang    (0-for-4) reached base at least once in the game for Montgomery. 

Graham Taylor (4-7) allowed six runs on 10 hits over five innings and has lost three of his last four decisions.  Montgomery had been tough on lefties, with a record of 17-7 against southpaws this season.  Taylor fell to 1-4 in eight road starts this season, with his lone win April 23 at Mobile.  Friday’s game was the fourth time this season that Taylor has surrendered six or more runs in an outing.  Biscuits starter Joe Cruz (6-6) allowed four runs on four hits and earned the win despite walking seven batters in five innings.  Cruz improved to 4-1 at home, and has won four straight decisions overall after winning just twice in his first 10 starts of the season.

The series finale is Saturday night from Riverwalk Stadium with the first pitch set for 8:05 p.m.  RHP Matthew Neil (1-2, 5.05) gets the nod for the Suns.  RHP Nick Barnese (0-0, 4.50) will make his second start of the season for the Biscuits. 

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Biscuits Take Over First Place In South

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

 By Steve Kolbe

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

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Suns Power Past The Biscuits In 10 Innings


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

 By Steve Kolbe

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

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Suns Fall To Biscuits In Slugfest


Biscuits shortstop Hak-Ju Lee(above)finished 2-for-5, drove in a run, and also scored in Montgomery’s 7-6 win over the Suns at Riverwalk Stadium June 26, 2012. Photo Courtesy: Montgomery Biscuits

By Steve Kolbe

The Suns first road game of the second half ended up being a slugfest, with Jacksonville coming up short in a 7-6 loss at Riverwalk Stadium on Tuesday night.  The Suns fell to 2-4 this season in Montgomery.

 The Suns jumped out to an early lead in the first inning against Biscuits starter Alex Colome. Donnie Webb led off with a double to right-center, and he scored when Chris Gutierrez doubled to put Jacksonville up 1-0.  The Suns have scored at least one run in the first inning in 22 games this season. 

The Biscuits wasted no time getting on the scoreboard in the home half of the first.  Leadoff man Hak-Ju Lee singled and stole second base.  The Biscuits next stolen base will be their 100th of the season.  Ty Morrison then singled with Lee scoring to tie the game 1-1.  Suns starter Omar Poveda would face only one more batter.  Omar Luna hammered a line drive back up the middle that hit Poveda in the lower left leg, forcing the Suns pitcher to leave the game.   With Suns lefty James Leverton taking over, Kyeong Kang singled to center with two runs scoring to give the Biscuits a 3-1 advantage. 

Jacksonville roughed up Colome in the second inning, sending nine batters to the plate and scoring five runs on four hits to take a 6-3 lead.  Colome committed two balks in the inning, one of which allowed a run to score.  Chris Gutierrez and Paul Gran each drove in a run with a single in the inning, and Kyle Skipworth plated a run with a sacrifice fly. 

Montgomery started chipping away at the Suns lead in the third.  Omar Luna, Ryan Garko, and Tyler Bortnick all singled to load the bases.  Leverton then committed a balk, with Luna scoring to cut the Suns lead to 6-4.  There were three balks called in the first three innings of the game. 

The Suns had a chance to break the game open in the fifth inning when Jake Jefferies doubled, Jeff Dominguez singled, and Aaron Dudley walked to load the bases with no outs.  But the Suns came up empty when Biscuits reliever Alex Koronis retired the next three batters he faced in what would be the turning point of the game. 

In the home half of the sixth inning, the Biscuits rallied against Suns left hander Bobby Bramhall.  With one out and two on, Mark Thomas came through when he doubled off the wall in left field, with Michael Sheridan scoring to bring the Biscuits within one at 6-5.  Hak-Ju Lee then singled with Brett Nommensen rumbling home to even the score at 6-6. 

In the seventh, the Biscuits completed the comeback against Suns reliever Jordan Conley.  Kyeong Kang led off the inning with a double down the left field line.  After Tyler Bornick was hit by a pitch, and Michael Sheridan dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third, the Suns elected to walk Brett Nommensen to load the bases.  Mark Thomas then drove in the go-ahead run with a ground ball to short, with the Suns unable to turn an inning-ending double play, and Kang touched the plate to put the Biscuits in front 7-6. 

The two teams combined for 13 runs on 28 hits.  Jake Jefferies finished 3-for-5 with a double and scored a run.  Jeff Dominguez and Aaron Dudley each had two hits, and Chris Gutierrez drove in two of the Suns six runs.  The Suns collected five doubles in the game, two shy of their season high.  

Montgomery finished with a season-high 14 hits in the game.  Ryan Garko and Kyeon Kang led the Biscuits with three hits each.  Kang has now reached base safely in 12 straight games.  

Jordan Conley (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing one run on three hits in two and two-thirds innings of work. Neil Schenk (3-0) pitched the seventh inning for the win.  Adam Liberatore tossed the final two innings to earn his seventh save of the season.  The Suns threatened in the ninth with Jeff Dominguez and Curt Smith hitting singles to put runners on the corners with two outs.  Liberatore buckled down and struck out Donnie Webb to end the game.

Game two of the series is Wednesday with the first pitch scheduled for 8:05 p.m. EST.  LHP Jose Alvarez (2-4, 4.15) will start his 14th game of the season.  After allowing just two singles in eight innings in a 2-0 win over Tennessee, Alvarez was named the Southern League’s Pitcher of the Week.  The Biscuits will send LHP Kyle Lobstein (3-3, 4.7) to the mound for his 15th start of the season.

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Suns Rally In Ninth For 5-4 Win

The Suns rallied from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Biscuits 5-4 in the series finale at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery, Alabama. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

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.

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