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Cosby, Suns' defense burst Crocs' bubble

June 01, 2000|By BOB PARASILITI

The ambition to do well has been the prevention that kept Robert Cosby from doing well.

The Hagerstown Suns' third baseman had been put on the spot, forced to hit with runners in scoring position 51 times before Wednesday afternoon. His success rate was just over 20 percent, resulting in just 13 RBI.

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Until Wednesday.

Cosby released the personal pressure valve which has kept him bottled up all season with key hits in his first two plate appearances to drive in four runs and push the Suns to an 11-3 chuckler over the Cape Fear Crocs in a Businessman's afternoon special at Municipal Stadium.

"Today I just felt good," said Cosby, who finished with three hits. "I decided to take a pitch and take it easy. I've been putting too much pressure on myself."

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Clutch hits are at a premium for the Suns, who haven't been the most prolific home run-hitting team. Hagerstown had just 24 homers through its first 52 games, putting more emphasis on getting hits to keep rallies from dying.

The Suns (26-27) nickled and dimed Crocs starter Ed Kelpacki in the first. Chris Weekly hit a two-out, run-scoring double to right center to put runners on second and third for Cosby.

The third baseman laced an 0-2 pitch to left to score both runners while busting out of a 3-for-20 slump as the Suns grabbed a 3-0 lead.

Hagerstown broke the game wide open with a five-run third, using Cosby's two-run double down the left-field line to highlight the six-hit rally. Cosby is now 13-for-53 (.245) with runners in scoring position, accounting for 17 RBI.

"Cosby did a good job today," Suns manager Rolando Pino said. "Whenever he stays back on the ball, he always hits it hard. Like all young players, he wants to do good and he tries hard to do good, so he puts extra pressure on himself. Today, he stayed back on the ball."

Weekly drove in his second run in the third and Aaron Fera got his first of three RBI by driving home Cosby to chase Kelpacki with an 8-0 lead. Jaime Goudie led off the fourth with a solo home run to make it 9-0.

It was more than enough support for Hagerstown starter Travis Hubble, who fired six innings of three-hit baseball before faltering in the seventh. Hubble had a perfect game through four innings before walking Richard Lane to lead off the fifth, and lost the no-hitter when Josh McKinley lined a single off of Lane.

Hubble (5-3) allowed two unearned runs on four hits.

Fera capped the Suns' scoring with a two-run homer to left in the seventh for an 11-2 lead.

"Most of the year, our (starting) pitching has been solid," Pino said. "We needed one like this one to take the pressure off the pitchers. You can only rely on pitching for so long ... we needed to score more runs.

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