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Houston, hello

August 10, 2000|By BOB PARASILITI

Houston, hello

Pitcher throws 6 1/3 no-hit innings as Suns win again



At times, Ryan Houston looked like he could beat Hickory with one arm tied behind his back.

In fact, he felt like that was exactly what he was doing.

Houston made his Municipal Stadium debut by pitching 6 1/3 innings of no-hit baseball Thursday to lead the Hagerstown Suns to a 4-3 victory over the Crawdads.

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Houston, who joined the Suns last week, handcuffed the South Atlantic League's top hitting team on one third-inning walk until J.R. House singled to left with one out in the seventh.

"Tonight, I couldn't have had a better night," Houston said. "My arm was so loose. It felt like I didn't have an arm because everything was so smooth and my mechanics were so good. When I got done, I didn't feel like I had thrown at all."

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Houston (2-0) put himself on the map with good location and fast work to keep the Suns' defense in the game. He set the Crawdads, who entered the game hitting .274, down in order in five of the first six innings. He lowered his ERA from 1.50 to 0.77.

"That was an outstanding job by Houston," Suns manager Rolando Pino said. "We let him go a couple pitches past his count but then we had to take him out. I can't say anything else. He just moved his pitches in and out and mixed them up. He did an outstanding job against a very good hitting team."

The Suns (21-25, 55-61) bounced back to win for the seventh time in the last eight games by capitalizing on Houston's outing with two early runs off clutch hits. They added two sorely needed insurance runs in the eighth before holding on in the ninth.

Hagerstown nicked Hickory starter Jeff Bennett (10-10) for a run in the third. Chivas Clark led off with a walk and moved to third on an errant pickoff throw by catcher Ronny Paulino. He scored when Kevin Cash, who was activated from the disabled list before the game, grounded to second.

The Suns took a 2-0 lead in the fifth when Shawn Pearson drew a two-out walk and scored on Jaime Goudie's triple down the right-field line.

"We got some good two-out clutch hits," Pino said. "Cash in the third doing his job with two strikes. Then Goudie and (Kurt Keene). Shannon Carter even hung in there. He didn't hit the ball hard, but it counted."

The runs were just enough to make Houston comfortable.

"I hit my spots and threw some changes in between," Houston said. "My slider was working really well. They have some great hitters there."

Josh Stevens relieved Houston in the seventh and give up three straight singles - the last to Paulino - to allow Hickory to break the shutout. Jerrod Payne eventually came on with the bases loaded and one out to get Jose Castillo to hit into an inning ending double play to preserve the lead.

Keene and Carter singled home the insurance runs in the eighth before Tony Alvarez and Jay Langston drove in runs in the ninth to make the game interesting.

Suns shortstop Brandon Jackson went 0-for-3 and was hit by a pitch to end his 19-game hitting streak.

Today

Hickory Crawdads

Justin Reid (7-6, 3.52)

at Hagerstown Suns

Peter Bauer (0-2, 5.14)

Promotion: Final night of Coats for Kids; J.J.'s 13th birthday party

Time: 7

Radio: WHAG 1410

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