Suns' slump keeps on going

July 02, 1998|By BOB PARASILITI

Marty Pevey sat in his office with a belly full of fire on Wednesday.

Competition is one thing, but there was only one thing that could quench this burning sensation.

"See this jar ... It's killing me," the Hagerstown manager said as he removed the top of a bottle of cherry flavored Rolaids. Am I eating them like M&Ms? ... I don't even want to talk about it."

--cont from sports--

There was fire down below for Pevey on Wednesday. The Suns became down right stagnant offensively and ran themselves out of the few chances they had as the Greensboro Bats recorded wins of 2-1 and 2-0 in eight innings for a doubleheader sweep in a battle of the top two pitching staffs in the South Atlantic League.

"Good pitching will beat good hitting every time," Pevey conceded while munching on his tablets. "Those were both well pitched games, but we ran ourselves out of innings twice. Those are mental mistakes. I can't stand mental mistakes."


The most distressing part of the losses came in the second inning of the opener and the seventh inning of the nightcap.

In the first game, Lorenzo Bagley drew a leadoff walk, but was thrown out while trying to take third on Greg Morrison's single to center.

In game two, pinch runner Luis Morillo was thrown out at third on a single to left by Morrison for the final out to send the scoreless game into extra innings.

"That's just bad base running," Pevey said. "Forget the idea of key plays in the game, that breaks a cardinal rule of baseball - don't make the first out or the last out of an inning at third base. In both games, we snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory."

The Bats kept the Suns on the slide, sending Hagerstown to its 10th loss in the last 11 games. Four Greensboro pitchers combined to allow one run on five hits in the 15 innings.

Suns starters Clayton Andrews (6-5) and Matt McClellan were equal to the task, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits while striking out 19 in their combined 12 2/3 innings.

Greensboro (11-3) manufactured a run in the seventh inning to beat Andrews in the opener as Scott Seabol led off with a double, took third on Scott Kidd's sacrifice bunt before scoring on John Rodriguez's sacrifice fly.

In the nightcap, Erick Almonte launched closer Jaron Seabury's first pitch over the center field wall for a two-out, two-run homer in the eighth to snare the victory.

It was the first home doubleheader loss for the Suns (4-10), who swept four twinbills in one week's time to end the first half. It ended the Suns' air of invincibility at Municipal Stadium, where they are 1-6 in the second half. Hagerstown had a 29-6 home record in the first half.

Pevey was going to start working on a remedy today, calling for mandatory extra batting practice early this afternoon.

"Games like this hurts this team right now," Pevey said. "It hurts everyone of those players as much as hit hurts me. I'm not going to allow them to fail, even if I have to learn how to pitch left-handed to get them out of it."

Greensboro took a 1-0 lead in the opener as an error by second baseman Mike Young prolonged an inning, allowing Seabol the chance to drive in Orlando Carey home on a groundout.

The Suns manufactured their only run against Craig Lewis (5-3) as Vernon Wells singled, stole second, took third on Bobby Cripps' sacrifice bunt before Bagley ripped a sacrifice fly.

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