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Suns leap back into Northern race

July 14, 1998

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer

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Suns leap into Northern raceBy BOB PARASILITI / Staff Writer

The next time the Delmarva Shorebirds take a road trip, they would be advised to pack some spot remover.

That's because the Shorebirds couldn't find anything powerful enough to rub out Hagerstown spot starting pitcher Brian Bowles.

Bowles used Monday's cameo appearance in the starting rotation to twirl eight innings of two-hit baseball to lift Hagerstown to an 8-0 victory in what was a convincing three-hit shutout before 4,094 fans at Municipal Stadium.

--cont from sports--

It was the longest outing of the season for Bowles, who was making only his third start of the season. The right-hander, who was penciled in to give the Suns' regular starters an extra day of rest after last Thursday's doubleheader, was the peskiest of spots, leaving a ring of zeroes around Delmarva's scoreboard.

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"I was just looking to throw five or six strong innings, but I kept my pitches down and it kept me in there a little longer," Bowles said. "I wanted to go as long as I could and then leave it up to (manager Marty Pevey)."

There wasn't much for Pevey to decide. Bowles (2-2) had a no-hitter through four innings until designated hitter Chris Paxton singled up the middle to open the fifth. Luis Matos beat out a single to open the seventh for Delmarva's only other hit in Bowles' 82-pitch performance that included 52 strikes.

"He did one heck of a job," Pevey said. "I wanted to send him out there to get the shutout in the ninth, but Tim Huff needed to get in there for some work. Initially, we hoped to get him through the sixth, but he kept throwing 10- and 12-pitch innings. We were going to let him out there as long as we could as long as he didn't get hurt."

Bowles completed an incredible four-game series by Suns pitching against Delmarva. Hagerstown's staff allowed four earned runs in 33 innings - a 1.09 ERA. Hagerstown (9-16, 53-42 overall) has won five of its last six games and now trails first-place Delmarva (13-12, 55-41 overall) by four games in the South Atlantic League's Northern Division second-half standings.

Ironically, the part-timer saved the best for last, even though he didn't feel like he would be in the game very long.

"I didn't have very good stuff," said Bowles, who finished with two walks and one strikeout. "I didn't have my fastball and my curve wasn't breaking that well in the bullpen. I just moved the ball in and out and tried to keep them off balance. It was just pitching."

Again, the Suns gave Bowles all the help he would need with a four-run second inning against Brandon Huntsman (6-5), who left the game during the rally with an injury.

Mike Strange ripped a one-out double to right and scored when Cesar Izturis' infield roller was thrown away by Huntsman. Mike Young added a bases-loaded, two-run single and Tony Peters stole home on a botched pickoff of Young at first.

Hagerstown added three in the third on a bases-loaded walk to Luis Morillo and two-run single by Peters. Bobby Cripps added his 22nd homer of the year in the eighth, a solo shot that close the scoring.

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