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Wells lets out clutch as Suns swat Sand Gnats

June 04, 1998|By CURT HORNBECKER / Staff Correspondent

The absence of Emar Fleming on the mound seemed to breathe life into the bats of the Hagerstown Suns.

--cont from sports--

And the result put a smile on their faces.

Hagerstown made up for the lace of clutch hits against the Savannah starter by rocking reliever Ryan Smith for five runs in the last two innings to claim a 6-1 South Atlantic League victory at Municipal Stadium, marking the Suns' seventh win in the last eight games.

After going 0-for-15 with runners in scoring position through six innings, Hagerstown finally broke through in the seventh when Vernon Wells bombed a double off the center-field wall to score Mike Young and snap a 1-1 deadlock.

"I normally hit the ball well with runners in scoring position," said the Suns centerfielder. "I squared to bunt on the pitch before, and figured (Smith) would be somewhere around the plate, and was able to hit the ball hard."

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Two outs later, Greg Morrison broke the game open with a two-run homer, his eighth of the season, and third in the last four games.

"The guys handled themselves real well," said Suns manager Marty Pevey. "We had a runner on second with nobody out three times in a row, and we have to do the job at that point. We have to be able to get that guy to third. But at the same time, you have to tip your hat to (Fleming). He did an outstanding job with runners in scoring position."

Savannah (27-33) scored an unearned run in the first before Hagerstown starter Isabel Giron (5-5) settled down to pitch five-hit ball through eight innings, retiring the final 13 hitters he faced. Suns pitchers have allowed less than four runs in each of their last eight games.

The Suns (34-25) tied it in the second when Lorenzo Bagley led off with a walk, moved the second on a wild pitch, took third on a passed ball and scored on a balk.

Wells, who finished with three RBI, tripled with runners on first and third in the eighth for the final two Hagerstown runs.

Jaron Seabury pitch a scoreless ninth inning to seal the win.

With Cape Fear's loss to Columbia Wednesday, Hagerstown is six games out of first place in the Northern Division with 12 games remaining.

"That won't have any bearing on how I play," said Pevey. "We'll play the same, exact way. We have to get through this series."

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