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Suns ground into victory

June 17, 1999

Hagerstown wins behind Casey, two-RBI groundout

Suns over AshevilleBy CURT HORNBECKER / Staff Correspondent

photo: MARLA BROSE / staff photographer




Joe Casey's father's name may not be Ben, but the Hagerstown Suns pitcher displayed all of the TV doctor's surgical skills on Thursday night.

The Suns righthander limited Asheville to just four hits in 6 2/3 innings, and - combined with some aggressive baserunning - propelled Hagerstown to a 6-4 South Atlantic League win before 488 chilled fans at Municipal Stadium.

"I knew (the Tourists) were the best hitting team in the league, and the last time we played them they were hitting the fastball," said Casey (5-4). "But that's my best pitch, and I wasn't going away from it. I just had to challenge them to hit it."

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But it was the aggressive baserunning that provided the Suns with the winning run. With Hagerstown trailing 3-2, Jose Umbria opened the fifth with a walk and moved the second on a Justin Davies single to left. Jorge Nunez chopped a ground ball to third, but a wild throw by Sam Smith allowed Umbria to score the tying run, with Davies moving to third and Nunez to second.

With one out, Jay Gibbons - the league's RBI leader with 68 - grounded to first baseman Kevin Duck, who tossed to Asheville pitcher Enemecio Pacheco (3-8). Davies scored easily from third on the play, but Nunez steamed around third to score on a close play at the plate for the fifth Hagerstown run.

"Give Nunez credit," said Suns manager Rolando Pino. "This is like the fourth time we've done that this year. (Pacheco) put his head down and he took advantage of it."

Casey allowed three runs, but two were unearned, with Nunez committing a second inning error which gave the Tourists (29-39) a 2-0 advantage.

A one-out Felipe Lopez double in the third tied it at two, scoring Davies and Nunez, before Asheville regained the lead in the fifth on a double by Duck and a pair of ground balls.

The Suns (45-23) made it 6-3 in the seventh when, with Lopez on second and Gibbons at first, Asheville catcher Jeff Winchester threw the ball into center field on a double steal, allowing Lopez to score.

Orlando Woodards allowed the fourth Asheville run in the eighth before Mike Stafford fanned two of the three hitters he faced in the ninth for his second save.

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