Enough is enough in Suns opener

April 13, 2001

Enough is enough in Suns opener



Greensboro Bats

Matt Smith (0-0, 1.50)

at Hagerstown Suns

Felix Diaz (0-1, 19.29)

Promotion: 2001 magnet schedules

Time: 7

Radio: WHAG 1410

Jeff Clark wasn't trying to be mystifying. He was just trying to compete.

But whatever the Hagerstown Suns starting pitcher was, it was just enough to drive the Greensboro Bats' bats bats.


Clark did just enough to keep Greensboro off balance for six innings while his Hagerstown teammates hit just enough to get ahead and stay there on Thursday in a 4-1 victory over Greensboro in the Suns' first game as a San Francisco Giants affiliate at Municipal Stadium.

A cozy opening-day crowd of 2,505 saw Clark use various versions of his fastball to force Greensboro beat itself. The Bats put the ball in play - and finished with 10 hits - but put themselves out of rallies with popups and groundouts.

"I was just trying to get ahead of them ... they are free swingers," said Clark, who scattered seven hits without issuing a walk. "All I was throwing was my fastball. I wasn't throwing too much offspeed stuff. You have to get the fastball over to be able to compete."

The Suns (4-3) gave Greensboro all the competition it wanted while treating fans to a crisply played game. Hagerstown's defense made all the plays to keep its four pitchers in the game with a shutout until the ninth inning. Right fielder Mark Walker insured the shutout until two outs in the ninth with two throws to the plate to prevent runs from scoring.

"I'm happy," Suns manager Bill Hayes said. "We battled hard and made good adjustments at the plate. We've done that for the last three or four days. Clark did a nice job with a team that he didn't know much about. He took some off of his fastball and (catcher Trey) Lunsford called a good game."

The Suns scored their first run at home as a Giants' affiliate in the second against starter Mike Knowles (0-1). Designated hitter Dan Trumble walked and stole second before advancing to third on Walker's single. Trumble scored on Lunsford's grounder to second.

Hagerstown blew the game open with three runs in the third, aided when Greensboro shortstop Deivi Mendez misplayed Bryan Gann's double-play grounder up the middle.

With runners on first and second and one out, Deivi Santos laced a double down the right field line Bryan Carter launched a sacrifice fly to left. Walker finished the rally with his RBI single to center to score Santos for the 4-0 lead and all the offense Clark and three relievers would need.

Greensboro made it interesting on the ninth, loading the bases against Will Malerich and closer Jackson Markert. Carlos Bernabel avoided a game-ending double play, using the forceout to short to knock in the Bats' only run.

"We just kept battling to get outs," Hayes said. "Markert did a good job. We had the lead but it was a tough situation in the end. It was good for the team and good for Markert to be in that situation. It was a good character builder to win like that."

The Suns finished with just six hits. Walker had two and only Santos' double was the only extra-base hit.

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