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Home is where the victories are

May 27, 1998|By CURT HORNBECKER / Staff Correspondent

Dorothy was right when she said, "There's no place like home," in The Wizard of Oz.

At least the Hagerstown Suns think so.

After finishing a 12-day road trip with four straight losses, Hagerstown rebounded behind an outstanding pitching effort from John Sneed and Lorenzo Bagley's three-run homer for a 6-2 win over Hickory in a South Atlantic League game Tuesday night at Municipal Stadium.

Crawdads starter Hansel Izquierdo (2-3) allowed just one base runner through the first three innings before Jesse Zepeda looped a single to left to open the fourth. Vernon Wells followed with a walk, and after Bobby Cripps fanned, Bagley belted his third homer of the season over the centerfield wall for a 3-0 lead, providing the Suns' offense with a wake-up call.

"(Izquierdo) kept us off balance for the first three innings," said Bagley. "His arm motion threw us off a little bit. But after a shot like that, everybody wants to follow suit."

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While Bagley's blast gave Sneed (5-1) a little breathing room, the Suns' righthander - who retired the first 13 Crawdads he faced - allowed Hickory (17-35) to close the gap with a pair of runs in the fifth. Josh Fauske walked with one out to spoil the perfect game, and after Brian Downs flied to center, Chuck Klee doubled to right to ruin the no-hitter and the shutout. Rashad Albert followed with a single and stole second to put runners on second and third before a passed ball allowed Klee to score. Suns' leftfielder Tony Peters ended the rally by reaching over the fence in foul territory to snare Darontaye Hollins' pop fly.

"I felt good right off the bat," said Sneed. "My fastball felt great, the defense made some big plays, and (Bagley) jump-started the offense. He put us ahead, and that took some of the pressure off. It's just good to be home after a long road trip."

Suns manager Marty Pevey agreed with his starter. After winning five of their first nine games on the road, Hagerstown (28-24) dropped its last four games for its longest losing streak of the year.

"It's great to be home," said Pevey.

"Even if you're on vacation, 12 days is a long time. I think the guys started to get on each other's nerves a little bit, but that's understandable."

While Sneed settled down to retire six of the last seven hitters he faced, the Suns kept the pressure on.

Mike Rodriguez scored on an error in the fifth inning, and a solo homer by Greg Morrison in the six stretched the lead to 5-2.

Matt Weimer relived Sneed in the eighth to notch his fourth save of the year, and the Suns added an insurance run in the eighth on a single by Cripps, a walk to Bagley, and a Peters RBI single.

The loss snapped Hickory's three-game win streak.

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