Strankman turns up heat on Suns comeback

April 18, 2001

Strankman turns up heat on Suns comeback



Delmarva Shorebirds

Elvis Montilla (0-1, 4.50)

at Hagerstown Suns

Kyle Gross (0-1, 0.00)

Promotion: Reduced-price

beverages at the stadium

Time: 7

Radio: WHAG 1410

Elliot Strankman had a feeling and went with it.


Having any feeling on Wednesday night at Municipal Stadium was a miracle in itself with the 40 degree temperatures before the wind chill. But Strankman warmed up when he saw a 3-1 fastball.

Hagerstown's third baseman ripped a two-run double down the left field line to tie the game at 6-6 in the eighth and set up the Suns' come-from-behind 7-6 win over Delmarva.

"I just had a feeling and I went for it," said Strankman. "I got a good pitch on a good count and I turned on it. I've been feeling good the last few games at the plate."

Strankman's liner off reliever Matt Schwager scored Alex Fajardo and Mark Walker to tie the score. Hagerstown pulled out the win by loading the bases in the ninth for Bryan Carter's one-out roller down the first base line that Rick Elder fielded, allowing Jason Ellison to score.

It ended a game where the Suns (7-6) built a 4-0 lead behind a quality start by Felix Diaz, but slowly allowed it slip away as Wes Faust and Jackson Markert were touched up for six runs to allow the Shorebirds to gain the lead. The mercury was dropping as quickly as the Suns chances.

Hagerstown had just one hit after the fourth inning heading into the eighth. After Fajardo walked and Walker reached on a one-out infield single, the heat was on Strankman on a night when hit physically hurt to hit.

"I grew up in Idaho," he said. "I'm sort of used to (the cold). You just got to keep moving and keep in the game. You never know when something is going to happen."

It happened to be the Suns' second straight win over Delmarva (8-5).

"That's a product and culmination of our guys getting on base and a big hit by Strankman," Suns manager Bill Hayes said. "He showed a lot of athletic ability out there in the field. The momentum had definitely swung in their favor, but we made some plays defensively. When Strankman got that hit, Walker made good turns on the bases coming from first. It was a no brainer for me to send him home."

Diaz had his most impressive start of the season, throwing a four-hit shutout over five innings with six strikeouts. Faust was nicked for three runs in an inning and Jeremy Cunningham was charged with the tying run. Markert (1-0) allowed two unearned runs off his own throwing error in the eighth.

on Mike Riordan's grounder to second and John Kessick's RBI infield single.

"Markert did a good job coming back," Hayes said. "It's tough to play when it's like this, but its that way for both teams. We showed a lot of character to come back and win."

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