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Alley Cats Gobble up Suns

April 21, 2000|By CURT HORNBECKER / Staff Correspondent

Winning ball games has not been a walk in the park for Charleston this season.

But the Alley Cats took advantage of walks at Municipal Stadium Friday night, snapping a four-game losing streak with an 8-2 win over Hagerstown in a South Atlantic League game before 482 chilly fans.

Charleston did what the Suns were unable to do. Both teams were issued eight free passes, but three of the Cats' walks came around to score.

According to Suns manager Rolando Pino, it was a matter of percentages.

"Walks will kill you every time," said Pino. "Well, 95 percent of the time they'll kill you."

One reason Hagerstown (8-6) was unable to take advantage of its free passes was the effectiveness of Charleston's 18-year-old starter, Jimmy Gobble (2-1), who fanned eight hitters in six innings of work.

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"He had a good fastball, and a pretty good breaking ball," said Pino of the Alley Cats' starting pitcher. "He's just young, but he had good control, and it looked like he knew what he was doing out there."

Jacob Baker capped a three-run sixth inning for Charleston (3-11) with a two-run homer off Suns starter Travis Hubbel (2-1), after grounding into two double plays earlier in the game to thwart a pair of potential rallies.

The Cats put it away in the seventh, scoring five times off Hagerstown reliever Dana Reece, who gave up five hits and walked two, nearly doubling his 5.14 ERA entering the game. The key blow came from Donnie Ross, who singled in a pair of runs.

Meanwhile, the Suns were unable to get anything going offensively. With two on and none out in the second, Gobble fanned three straight; in the eighth, Jay Gehrke walked the first two batters he faced, but escaped unscathed by striking out two of the next three hitters.

"We couldn't do anything offensively,'' said Pino. "You get one of those days every now and then, but, hopefully we won't get another one for a while."

Robert Crosby smashed his second home run in as many games to open the seventh for the Suns' first run, and Josh Holliday walked before scoring on a Jaime Goudie double to complete Hagerstown's scoring. Chris Weekly then walked to put runners on first and second with none out, but Auntwan Riggins fanned and Brandon Jackson lined into a double play to end the threat.

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