Forgetting how to score

August 01, 1999|By BOB PARASILITI

There are two kinds of hits in baseball - loud ones and productive ones.

Lately, the Hagerstown Suns are making a lot of noise with nothing rolling off the assembly line.

Once again, second and third base resembled a burial ground, places where Suns baserunners went to die, as Hagerstown failed to get the key hit - any hit - to drive in runs Saturday in a 5-4 loss to Macon at Municipal Stadium.

"We had our chances, but we keep struggling with runners in scoring position with less than two outs," Suns manager Rolando Pino said. "We couldn't even put the ball in play to try and make anything happen."

The trend is becoming costly for the Suns (67-39, 19-16), who suddenly can't buy a clutch hit with a cents-off coupon. Hagerstown runners are getting to the point where they need to find their way back to home plate.


The Suns left five runners stranded and cast adrift in scoring position - all in the middle three innings - to allow a tribe of Braves' pitchers to nail down the win.

"We didn't run the bases well early and our defense didn't help us out early either," Pino said. "(Starting pitcher Pat Lynch) threw a nice game except for his error and (reliever Brian Bowles) did real well. We lost the game because we couldn't put the ball in play with those runners in scoring position."

Lynch (7-5) was touched for all five runs in his five innings of work, but three were unearned. The first was a product of an error by shortstop Felipe Lopez in the second inning, setting up an RBI single by A.J. Zapp. Tyler Thompson erased the lead in the bottom of the inning with his 16th home run, a leadoff shot off Damian Moss.

Ryan Langerhans' RBI single in the third gave Macon a 2-1 advantage, which was bolstered with three runs in the fifth. The Braves got two runs when Lynch threw Pat Manning's sacrifice bunt down the first-base line, leading to the 5-1 advantage.

Hagerstown wasted a scoring chance in the fourth when Orlando Hudson was picked off third as part of a rundown on a double steal.

The Suns picked up three runs in the fifth on an RBI single by Mike Kremblas and a two-run single by Ryan Fleming, but couldn't bring Fleming home from second with the tying run and only one out.

Then Hagerstown went down flailing with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth.

It was the last gasp as Macon's bullpen retired the last 11 Suns in order to preserve the win for reliever Brad Voyles (2-2), the third of five Macon pitchers.

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