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Gracesqui graceful under pressure

August 25, 2000

Gracesqui graceful under pressure



By BOB PARASILITI / Staff Writer


Franklin Gracesqui proved two things to help make his pitching debut with the Hagerstown Suns go a long way.

He showed that his pitches were as difficult to hit as his last name is to pronounce.

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Gracesqui (pronounced Gray-ses-cue) pitched three innings of scoreless one-hit relief in his first appearance with the Suns to help Hagerstown to a 7-3 victory over the Macon Braves at Municipal Stadium.

As it turned out, the 21-year-old left-hander's had perfect control of his throws and syllables.

"I was nervous a lot, but I wasn't really nervous," Gracesqui said. "But I felt good out there today. My fastball was good. My goal was to go in there and throw strikes on my first pitch with a four-run lead and then let the hitters try to do what they wanted from there."

The Suns (25-32, 58-68) scored seven runs in the first three innings to back starter Peter Bauer (1-4), who got his first professional victory despite not showing his best game. After allowing three single runs through five innings, the ball was turned over to Gracesqui, who joined the Suns on Tuesday after reliever Hugo Castellanos was promoted to Dunedin.

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"Bauer didn't have his good stuff tonight, but he battled," Suns manager Rolando Pino said. "He made the pitches to get out of problems. Then Gracesqui did a good job and (Josh) Stevens did good in finishing it off. The key for Gracesqui is he threw strikes. I haven't seen him since the spring, but then he was having trouble with his control."

Bauer allowed three runs on six hits and struck out three before Gracesqui allowed the one hit. He walked two and struck out two.

Macon (30-28, 65-64) took a 1-0 lead in the second on Justo Rivas' homer to left. But Hagerstown countered in the bottom of the inning with Chivas Clark's run-scoring single, Jose Santos' sacrifice fly and Jimmy Alvarez's RBI double for a 3-1 lead.

Keoni De Remme doubled home a run in the third to cut the deficit to one run before Hagerstown countered with four of their own for a five-run lead.

After Shawn Fagan singled home Shannon Carter, who led off with a double, Kevin Cash collected his second hit to put runners on first and second. Kurt Keene followed with a single to center that Damien Jones misplayed, allowing both runners to score. Keene scored from third on Santos' fielder's choice grounder.

"We got some timely hits," Pino said. "We started the last road trip with five losses and the team could have folded. But they are still out there hustling."

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