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Suns pitching collapses

April 24, 1999|By BOB PARASILITI

If the Hagerstown Suns pitching staff were a television set, they would need a little fine tuning.

That way you could say they experienced a loss of the vertical hold.

Suns starter Joe Casey had four strong innings followed by one that he probably would have like to have been interrupted for a word from a sponsor. Delmarva used his wildness to erase a 2-0 deficit with a three-run fifth inning Saturday en route to a 6-2 win at Municipal Stadium.

The middle two innings all but knocked the Suns (10-7) off the air as Casey and Matt Gourlay were roughed up for five runs just because trying to find the strike zone was like trying to hit a rabbit with hiccups.

"Casey just lost his control," Suns manager Rolando Pino said. "First he was up in the strike zone, then he got behind in the count and then he gave up walks. He was pitching well and then got a couple balls up and lost the strike zone. Gourlay did the same thing."

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The Suns lost a three-game winning streak despite scoring single runs in the third and fourth innings off Delmarva starter Rafael Tapia.

Hagerstown took a 1-0 lead in the third when Juan Nieves led off with a walk, stole second, took third on Justin Davies' groundout and scored on Felipe Lopez's two-out single to left.

Jay Gibbons hit Tapia's first pitch in the fourth over the right field fence for his fifth home run.

Then, it all went out of focus.

After allowing just one hit through the first four innings, Casey (0-2) lost control in the fifth. Former Hagerstown Junior College star Mack Haman led off with a double. Later, Maikell Diaz hit a two-run double to right and Craig Daedlow followed with an RBI single for the 3-2 lead.

Gourlay fell into trouble the minute he walked out of the bullpen, loading the bases before serving up an RBI single to Ashanti Davison. Gourlay was lifted for Mike Stafford, but was charged with a second run on a Regino Nolasco's RBI groundout.

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