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Suns have short wait, long night

May 10, 2001

Suns have short wait, long night



By BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com



Today

Hickory Crawdads


Landon Jacobsen (1-3, 2.78)

at Hagerstown Suns


Felix Diaz (1-3, 4.07)

Promotion: Reduced-price beverages throughout the park

Time: 7

Radio: WHAG 1410



It didn't take Hagerstown manager Bill Hayes long to realize the Suns were in trouble.

"You know that things aren't going your way when the only way you score is on a fly ball that goes about 150 feet and is foul for your only run," he said.

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And the Suns did that in the first inning. After that, Hagerstown couldn't find the Cliffs Notes to solve the mystery of Hickory starter Mike Johnston, who shut down the Suns with the help of three relievers for a 3-1 victory on Wednesday at Municipal Stadium.

Hagerstown (17-16) lost its season-long four-game winning streak when it failed to get to Johnston (2-3) with the bases loaded and one out in the first. Nick Wilfong fisted a foul ball down the left field line that third baseman Yurendell DeCaster caught with his back to the plate. On the play, Bryan Gann tagged at third and scored for the 1-0 lead.

Derek Bell and Deivi Santos also advanced on the play, but were left stranded at second and third when Trey Lunsford popped out to end the inning.

From there, Johnston controlled the Suns for five more innings, allowing just one more hit before leaving. He allowed one unearned run on three hits while walking two and striking out six.

"You have to tip your cap to him," Hayes said. "That lefty did a good job against us. He had a good fastball and pitched inside well. We got pitches to hit, but I don't think we were ready to hit them when we got them."

Suns starter Jeff Clark was equally stingy, but allowed Hickory's Jeremy Cotten and DeCaster to lead off the fourth with home runs to give the Crawdads a 2-1 lead. Besides the two mistake pitches, Clark (4-2) pitched well.

The Crawdads other run came in the fifth when Jose Hernandez and Manny Ravelo led off the inning with singles before Hernandez came around to score on consecutive fielder's choice grounders by Chris Bass and Josh Bonifay.

Clark allowed three runs on seven hits in six innings before giving way to Elgin Graham and Joe Smith, who shut down the Crawdads. But the Suns offense had chances to score with one out and runners on first and second in the seventh, and in the ninth after Bryan Carter led off with a double against reliever Mike Connolly.

Jason Acala came on to strike out the side, with the exception of a walk to Jason Ellison, to earn his second save. Johnston's only other win came against the Suns in Hickory on April 7.

"Most of the time, we would get things started with two outs," Hayes said. "We had five hits, but at least one was because they lost the ball in the twilight."

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