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Suns throw away chance to split series with Crocs

April 26, 1998|By BOB PARASILITI

The Hagerstown Suns played one of those games on Sunday that they should have mailed in.

And even at that, it would have been air mailed.

--cont. from front page--

That's because the Suns literally just threw the ball around the field with very little purpose. Hagerstown committed three costly errors in innings that accounted for seven Cape Fear runs in an uncharacteristically sloppy 8-3 loss at Municipal Stadium.

"Today was ugly," Hagerstown manager Marty Pevey said. "You can't go throwing the ball around like that. We're better than that. I want the guys to do well, but there are things that we have to work on."

Everything happened at a most inopportune time for the Suns, who have lost six of their last nine games. Hagerstown (14-10) dropped three of four with the Crocs (20-4) in the battle of the top two teams in the South Atlantic League's Northern Division. The Suns fell from four to six games behind the Crocs in the standings.

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Most of the Suns' wounds were self-inflicted, starting with the lackluster outing by starter Isabel Giron (1-2).

The Suns fell behind immediately as Cape Fear pitcher Kenny James hit Giron's fifth pitch of the game over the right field fence for a leadoff home run.

It went downhill from there.

"I don't think he's hiding the ball well right now," Pevey said. "He's rushing his body to the plate and giving the hitters a good look at the ball."

Giron continued to struggle through his four innings and wasn't helped by the Suns' defensive lapses.

Those began to crop up in the third when the Crocs took a 2-0 lead as Josh Reding singled, took second on James' sacrifice bunt and scored when shortstop Cesar Izturis booted Milton Bradley's grounder.

Cape Fear added three runs in the fourth when Willie Oropez singled and scored on Scott Zech's one-out triple that Lorenzo Bagley tried to catch with a diving stab. Reding followed with a grounder to first, but Zech beat Greg Morrison's throw home.

Giron caught Reding leaning on a pickoff move, but Morrison fired his throw to second into left field, sending Reding to third. He scored on James' single to right center.

The Suns had their chance to get back into the game in the fourth against Jason Turman (4-1). Jesse Zepeda led off with a single and scored on Mike Young's double. Young later scored on Randy Albaral's two-out single. Hagerstown sent seven batters to the plate in the inning but managed only the two runs.

"He gave us the chance to blow the game open," Pevey said. "Every game, you get that one good chance to make things happen and that inning was it. We didn't take advantage of it."

Cape Fear maintained the 5-2 lead until the Crocs came up with three runs off reliever Randy Eversgerd in the eighth, aided by a Bobby Cripps' throwing error on Luis Javier Rivera's steal attempt.

The Suns got one run back in the ninth when Albaral hustled into a triple against Tobin Lanzetta and scored on pinch hitter Mike Rodriguez's grounder to third.

"We have to stop pressing," Pevey said. "It would have been nice to split with these guys, but now we have to hit the road and regroup."

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