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Tourits trim Suns, 2-1

July 17, 2000

Tourits trim Suns, 2-1



By BOB PARASILITI / Staff Writer


The Hagerstown Suns have made a habit of turning momentum into a stationary concept.

Lately, every time the Suns try to take a running start to get something going, they run flush into a brick wall.

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It happened again on Monday as Hagerstown ran itself out of two possible big innings and limped to a 2-1 loss to Asheville, a four-game sweep of the series and a five-game losing streak before a Businessperson's Special crowd at Municipal Stadium.

Hagerstown's offense was incredibly passive against Asheville (18-7, 52-42), scoring just four runs on 21 hits, including 17 singles in the series. The Suns struck out 34 times in 33 innings.

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So acting Suns manager Ken Landreaux figured if Hagerstown couldn't make a hit with its bats, the time came to distract the Asheville defense.

"You got to try something to get something happening," Landreaux said in his third day of running the team in the absence of manger Rolando Pino, who is serving a five-game suspension. "You have to go up there and keep chopping."

The Suns chopped, but the tree fell on them.

"Definitely, everything we did came back to haunt us," Landreaux said.

Asheville jumped out to a 1-0 lead with Justin Leonard's third-inning solo homer off starter Aaron Dean over the left-center field wall.

That sent the Suns, who were hitless through the first three innings, into scramble mode.

The first attempt when Shawn Pearson led off the fourth with a walk and tried for a hit-and-run play with Brandon Jackson against Asheville starter Julio dePaula.

Pearson took and hit second base on Jackson's flyout to right, but got back in time to avoid a double play. But the Tourists appealed and he was called out by base umpire Andy Roberts for not retagging second on his retreat.

The Suns tied the game in the fifth when Shawn Fagan, who was promoted to the Suns on Monday morning, slapped a homer to right.

Augusta regained the lead in the seventh when Tito Sanchez hit a two-out single up the middle against Justin Stine (1-4) before Miguel Vilorio's RBI double to center.

The Suns tried to manufacture aggressiveness again in the bottom of the seventh only to fail again. With Jaime Goudie on third and Kurt Keene on first with two outs, Landreaux called for a double steal. Keene was tagged out in a rundown while Goudie stayed anchored at third.

The last try came in the eighth after Pearson and Jackson drew one-out walks against reliever Rick Cercy. Reed Johnson, Hagerstown's most dependable hitter, fought off a 2-2 pitch and popped to second with the runners in motion, starting an easy double play.

"Johnson has a good eye and just got his bat under it," Landreaux said. "Those are just the breaks of the game. It just hurts even more when you're not hitting."

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