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Suns lose 4th straight

August 10, 1999|By CURT HORNBECKER / Staff Correspondent

Under normal circumstances, getting seven two-out base hits would seem to be plenty to win most ball games.

But not for the Hagerstown Suns Tuesday night, as four Charleston (W.Va.) pitchers scattered 10 base hits in a 5-3 South Atlantic League win at Municipal Stadium.

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Meanwhile, Hagerstown starter Scott Cassidy (11-5) surrendered seven of Charleston's 12 hits in the fifth inning, as the Cats scored four times to take control.

"Cassidy battled out there tonight," said Suns manager Rolando Pino. "They got a couple (hits) off the end of the bat and some eye-seeing base hits. We just didn't put enough runs on the board. We had a couple chances, but we couldn't get the big hit."

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With the loss - combined with Delmarva's 6-1 win over Cape Fear - Hagerstown falls into a three-way tie for first place in the Northern Division. Charleston (20-23, 49-65) closed to within 1 1/2 games.

"As bad as we've been playing," said Pino, "we're still tied for first place. I think that's amazing. We haven't been playing well at all in the second half."

With a runner on second in the fifth, Cassidy needed to retire Henry Calderon, playing in his first game after seven days on the disabled list. But the Cats' shortstop slapped a single to center to tie the score at 1-1 and begin a parade of five straight hits. Jose Tavares followed with a double to put runners on second and third before a Willy Ruiz double made it 3-1. After stealing second, Ruiz scored on David Goodwin's single.

Hagerstown took a 1-0 lead in the first when Tyler Thompson reached on a two-out error, and Orlando Hudson and Matt Logan followed with singles.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Suns closed the gap to 4-3 as Justin Davies drew a one-out walk and stole second before Felipe Lopez plated him with a two-out single. Lopez scored on Thompson's double.

The Suns had at least one hit in every inning but the eighth, but in six of the innings they got just one hit, and in three of those innings the hit came with two outs.

Also, the Suns continued to be plagued by the strikeout. In the last four games, Hagerstown has fanned 50 times. Charleston starter Carlos Pichardo struck out five in 4 2/3 innings after fanning six in his previous 22 innings.

"We still have to do a better job (hitting with two strikes)," said Pino. "Tonight we had some good ABs with two strikes, but then there were some poor ABs with two strikes, too. I think we're just giving up on pitches too early. We need to battle out of this, and I think we will."

The Suns are also suffering through a slight power drought, hitting three home runs in their last eight games.

The Suns are 70-45 and 22-22.

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