Hagerstown wins despite six errors vs. Cape Fear

June 30, 1999

Suns over CrocsBy BOB PARASILITI / Staff Writer

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer

In another life, Taylor Smith might have been Nero.

He proved that on Tuesday by pitching instead of fiddling around while everything seemed to be burning around him. In this scene, Smith made some beautiful music instead of going up in flames.

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Smith controlled Cape Fear on five hits through eight innings and survived one mistake to come away with a masterful 5-2 victory despite six errors by the Suns.

Smith (5-4) held off the Crocs on just 90 pitches - 10 below his limit. His only mistake was a fourth-inning leadoff homer by Aljereau Benjamin in a game that had more falls, slips and gaffes than American Favorite Home Videos.


But Smith didn't notice.

"We made a lot of errors ... a lot of them were mental," Smith said. "But I didn't let them get to me. The defense still made a lot of good plays to help me. The only thing that might have been different was without the errors, we would have been out of here quicker."

Smith kept the pace up by challenging the Crocs (4-2, 42-35) to hit the ball. Cape Fear obliged willingly, allowing the Suns (3-3, 51-26) to move within a game of the Northern Division's second-half lead.

"(Smith) got ahead of the hitters and when he does that, he's effective," Suns manager Rolando Pino said. "Our defense didn't help him at times, but he kept battling to get out of there and we got a couple of double plays to help him."

And just enough runs.

Hagerstown tied the game in the bottom of the fourth as Tyler Thompson doubled and scored on a pair of infield singles by Matt Logan and Ryan Fleming.

The Suns put an end to Jeremy Salyer's chances of accepting Hagerstown's butterfingered hospitality. Felipe Lopez hit Salyer's first pitch for a one-out home run over the wall in dead center field. Thompson followed the lead an out later with a towering fly into the right field bullpen to give the Suns a 3-1 lead.

"I'm really focused right now," Smith said. "I'm making good pitches and they are making great plays behind me."

The Suns made sure the mistakes wouldn't be damaging by adding two runs in the eighth off Bradley Waldron. Joe Dusan led off with a double and scored on Fleming's bloop down the left field line for his second RBI of the game. Fleming eventually scored on Mike Kremblas' single.

The Crocs put up some token resistance in the ninth against Eric Place. Brad Piercy drew a leadoff four-pitch walk and took third on Place's errant pickoff throw before scoring on Kevin Hook's grounder.

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