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Casidy leads Suns to shutout win

August 15, 1999|By BOB PARASILITI

Scott Cassidy is used to being patient with the Hagerstown Suns' offense. He knows it has a habit of arriving fashionably late.

But on Sunday, there was little in fashion about the Suns' entrance. In fact, it all but clashed with Cassidy's pitching scheme.

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Still, Cassidy waited and was glad he did. The Suns overcame three base-running blunders with three runs in the seventh inning to lift the starting pitcher to a 5-0 victory over the Piedmont Boll Weevils at Municipal Stadium.

Hagerstown (73-47, 25-24) had two runners thrown out at the plate and a third at third base to test Cassidy's control, let alone his patience. But Jorge Nunez's fourth-inning single - his second of four hits - provided a lead until the late-inning arrival of the offense came to the rescue.

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"We made some mistakes on the bases, but the guys were making the plays behind me defensively," Cassidy said. "I knew it was a matter of time before they scored. In the first inning we had two hard hits and we've been scoring in the last innings all year. It was just a matter of time."

The Suns broke the game open with a two-out rally in the seventh started with Orlando Hudson's fourth single, which was booted by left fielder Carlos Acevedo to advance Hudson to second. Ryan Fleming walked to chase reliever Jeremy Wedel and bring on Boll Weevils' league-leading closer Cary Hiles.

Hiles bounced a wild pitch to advance the runners, which was compounded when catcher Jerry Valdez fired the ball into center field to allow a run. Joe Dusan followed with a two-run home run to center field for the 4-0 lead.

It was just reward to Cassidy (12-5), who kept the Suns in the lead just a half-inning earlier to preserve Hagerstown's second straight shutout.

Nunez's errant throw on a double play grounder put Cassidy in a tight spot. Cassidy walked Shayne Carnes on five pitches to load the bases and threaten the lead, forcing manager Rolando Pino to visit the mound.

"I just went out to get him back in focus," Pino said. "I thought he let that error get to him because he doesn't usually walk batters so easily.

"The error seemed to shake him, so I wanted to catch his breath."

Cassidy muscled up to punch out Jerry Connell for one of his seven strikeouts over seven innings and got Valdez to ground to third to end the inning and the threat.

"I knew I had to wait until the scored," Cassidy said. "There was no doubt that I was going to go seven innings."

It's a good thing he did.

Eric Place retired six of the seven batters he faced to end the game.

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