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Hagerstown KOs K artist with home run, victory

April 18, 1999|By BOB PARASILITI

Sometimes patience isn't always waiting for the right situation. It's outlasting the wrong one.

Statistically speaking, Greensboro pitcher Randy Keisler wasn't a guy the Hagerstown Suns wanted to meet in a dark alley, let alone a sunlit baseball diamond. His strikeout ratio was so good, he probably put both Ks in knockout.

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But its a good thing for Hagerstown Taylor Smith and Tyler Thompson know how to bide their time. Smith outdueled Keisler for six innings Sunday, opening the door for Thompson to greet Keisler's replacement with a two-run home run to lift the Suns to a 5-2 victory over the Bats at Municipal Stadium.

"(Keisler) had some good numbers and with good reason," Suns manager Rolando Pino said. "A guy like that, you have to be patient. He only had four walks, but you know he will be around the plate. But our pitcher matched him up and threw a heck of a game."

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The Suns (6-5) needed it. The win broke a streak of four losses in the last five games and gave them their first home victory of the season. It was the first time Hagerstown had defeated Greensboro in two years.

Keisler entered the game with a 0.87 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings. The left hander did little to tarnish the reputation, striking out 10 more in 5 2/3 innings. But while Keisler was unhittable at times, he wasn't invincible.

The Suns picked their spots and made the four hits off of Keisler count. Jose Umbria gave the Suns a 1-0 lead in the second by doubling home Thompson, who had walked.

"Getting that early lead was the key," Pino said. "It's always good to get that. You have to go after that and make things happen because you never know when you will be able to score."

Smith (1-0) nursed the lead by being more efficient with his pitches. Instead of strikeouts, he got the Bats (4-7) to put the ball in play.

"Today was tough pitching weather," Smith said. "With the wind, you can't get pitches up. I had a good fastball, although I got a couple of them up, and had a good curve and good change. I had no idea about his numbers until today. I just wanted to throw strikes."

Smith contained Greensboro until the fifth when Allen Greene led off with a home run to tie the game and Scott Seabol doubled home Billy Brown, who reached on an error.

The Suns worked Keisler to near the end of his pitch limit by the sixth inning. Orlando Hudson led off with a single and tied the game by scoring on Juan Nieves' triple to right center field.

After striking out Matt Logan for the second out, Keisler was lifted for Robb Vogtli to face Thompson. Thompson, who has been struggling at the plate, by blasting a fastball over the center field wall to give the Suns the 4-2 lead.

"The first guy was a good pitcher and he's going to get a lot of strikeouts," Thompson said. "He had a moving fastball and a good curve. The second guy was right handed and he threw the ball a little straighter."

Hagerstown picked up another run in the seventh as Justin Davies singled, stole second and took third when Jorge Nunez bunted and reached when first baseman Andrea Castri dropped the throw. Davies scored when Felipe Lopez grounded into a double play.

Orlando Woodards pitched two innings, setting up the ninth for Jared Kingery to earn his fourth save.

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