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Suns lose to Bombers

August 29, 1999|By BOB PARASILITI

The way the Hagerstown Suns played on Saturday was enough to drive manger Rolando Pino to drink. It wouldn't have helped though. Sunday's play was like was like bracing for the next day's hangover.

It didn't take long. The Suns staggered through the seventh inning like an intoxicated seaman, as two leadoff errors allowed the Capital City Bombers to score four unearned runs to turn a crisply played 1-0 game into a 6-1 disaster.

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"We played good defense for eight innings," Pino said. "But there are nine innings in a game."

Pitcher Taylor Smith (7-10) was the latest victim of the bolo punch thrown by Hagerstown's defense. He was sailing through the first six innings with a two-hitter until Jorge Nunez misplayed Mike Ribaudo's grounder to short and third baseman Orlando Hudson suffered a case of the dropsies on Corey Erickson's tailor-made double play grounder. Robert Stratton followed with an infield single to the left of the mound to put Smith in dire straits.

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"We didn't get the play at short and then we can't field the ball to get a double play on a grounder to third ... then the flood gates opened," Pino said. "Smitty pitched a (heck) of a game. He had control of all of his pitches. It's a shame he had to take the loss."

Smith put up a fight, getting Chance Mulvehall to hit a dribbler in front of the plate for a forceout, but couldn't totally escape harm's way. Andrew Thompson doubled to right for two runs and Gilbert Velazquez lofted a sacrifice fly to center for a 3-1 lead. The Bombers ended the run of unearned runs with Bobby Hill's single to right.

It was the second straight game that Hagerstown's defense let down a pitcher. On Saturday, a first blast of the comedy of errors took Brian Bowles and the Suns out of a close game in an 8-3 loss.

The loss reduced the Suns' lead in the South Atlantic League Northern Division's second-half race to (a half-game) over (Delmarva, Cape Fear), heading into the final week of the season. Hagerstown (80-53, 32-30) plays the last eight games of the season against divisional foes.

Capital City (79-54, 35-27) capped its scoring on Erickson's two-run double in the eighth.

Hagerstown's only run came in the third off starter Andy Cook when Justin Davies walked and stole second before scoring on Jesse Zepeda's one-out single to right.

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