Dusan finds spot, Suns' victory

July 30, 1999|By BOB PARASILITI

Joe Dusan has been spending a lot of his time looking for a routine to follow.

If Thursday night was any indication, his search could be over.

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The Hagerstown first baseman went 4-for-6, including a game-tying two-run single in the eighth and his game-winning double off the center field wall, to give the Suns a 12-11 victory over the Columbus RedStixx in 14 innings at Municipal Stadium.

Dusan, who entered the game hitting .203, has provided on-again, off-again offense for the Suns (66-38, 18-15) since joining the team at the all-star break. He had three hits Tuesday, but followed it with an 0-for-4 night Wednesday.

Thursday, the switch was back.

"I'm seeing the ball well right now," Dusan said. "I'm just trying to string some good at-bats together day in and day out. The rest will take care of itself."


The proof came against Rob Matsko (7-3) in the 14th. Orlando Hudson led off the inning with a single to right center. With one out, Dusan battled to a 2-2 count.

Hudson took off from first on the pitch as Dusan drove the ball off the right center field wall, scoring the run easily. Matsko was so frustrated with his pitch, he got the ball back from the outfield and threw it over the wall.

"I'm just trying to get a two-strike routine down," Dusan said. "I'm starting to look for off-speed pitches and pitches away to hit to the opposite field."

It was made to order, but Dusan almost never got the chance.

The Suns squandered a 6-2 lead when Columbus (54-50, 10-23) scored four runs in the fifth by hitting for the cycle against starter Ryan Spille and Marcos Sandoval. The RedStixx comeback was capped by Luis Gonzalez's two-run homer.

Columbus took an 8-6 lead in the eighth on Ben Fowler's two-run double off Orlando Woodards.

The Suns came back from the dead in the bottom of the inning on Dusan's bad-hop single down the right field line to retie the game.

The RedStixx got to Brian Bowles for three runs in the 11th, capped by Tyler Minges' two-run homer. The Suns answered in the bottom of the inning with a dramatic three-run homer by Jesse Zepeda.

Eric Place (6-2) got the win with two innings of relief.

Suns' playoff schedule set

The Hagerstown Suns will host Game 1 of the first round of the South Atlantic League playoffs when the postseason begins in early September.

Thanks to their first-half Northern Division title, the Suns will host Game 1 of the best-of-3 series Tuesday, Sept. 7 at 7:05 p.m. Game 2, and Game 3 if necessary, will be held on the road. If the Suns win in the first round, they will also host the first game of the semifinals on Friday, Sept. 10 at 7:05.

Tickets will go on sale for the first series in mid-August.

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