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Suns find an efficiency place for win

August 14, 1999|By BOB PARASILITI

The Hagerstown Suns found success just by changing a noun into a verb.

On Saturday, the Suns executed, instead of playing like they should be.

Hagerstown did all the little things it needed to win for the second time in eight games as Jorge Nunez, Jesse Zepeda and Felipe Lopez gave the Suns' offense the jolt it needed for a 4-0 victory over Piedmont before 4,050 fans at Municipal Stadium.

Nunez zapped the Boll Weevils for three hits - scoring on each - while Zepeda did the technical work that allowed Lopez flip the switch for two RBIs in the most efficient performance by the Suns in a week.

"Nunez set the tone for us like he has all season by just getting on base," Suns manager Rolando Pino said. "Jesse did a heck of a job getting him over and got a hit and Lopez got a couple of good hits. What Jesse did won't show up in a boxscore, but it was big. They all did their job."

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The top three hitters in the Suns' order went 6-for-11 with three RBIs and all four runs in a game where Hagerstown made the right offensive moves on eight of 12 occasions, key fundamentals it has lost since the start of the second half.

"We haven't been doing things right and we have been losing because of it," Zepeda said. "When we execute right, we have the talent to win every game."

The win moved Hagerstown (72-47, 24-24) back into a tie for second, a game behind Cape Fear, in the South Atlantic League Northern Division's second-half race.

Nunez sent a charge through Piedmont right from the start. The second baseman led off against Derrick Turnbow (10-7) with a single before stealing second and taking third on a throwing error.

Zepeda followed with a grounder to second - the proper strategy to get home the run. It was the first of three times that Zepeda put the ball in play to the right side of the infield to advance Nunez. The last time, he accomplished the task with a walk.

"We haven't been executing, but I pride myself on trying to get the job done," Zepeda said. "I just tried to make sure I got the ball in play."

Lost in the workmanlike moves of the offense was the combined shutout of Ryan Spille (5-1), Marcos Sandoval and Brian Bowles.

Spille went five innings of two-hit pitching while striking out five. Sandoval went the next three, allowing one hit but getting out of a key bases-loaded situation in the seventh with an inning-ending 1-2-3 double play. Bowles struck out the side in the ninth.

"The pitching was tremendous," Pino said. "Spille did a heck of a job keeping us in the game and Sandoval did a great job, especially getting out the that jam."

Hagerstown took a 3-0 lead in the sixth when Nunez doubled and Zepeda singled, setting the table for RBI hits by Lopez and Matt Logan. The Suns got their final run in the seventh when Nunez singled, Zepeda walked and Lopez singled home the insurance run.

"We needed this win," Pino said. "It was a big one for us. We just needed to get one on the board."

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