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Suns win second straight vs. Bombers

April 29, 2002|BY BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

Hagerstown Suns manager Mike Ramsey said pitcher Benji Miller "weathered a storm" on Sunday.

That might be an understatement.

Miller withstood a potential firestorm from Capital City and every weather pattern the local meteorological society could throw at him in one inning Sunday just to preserve a come-from-behind 8-6 victory.

"I'll take it anyway I can," Miller said. "It was drizzling when I was warming up and the rain was coming. I didn't want to pitch in it."

Miller wanted to make quick work of the inning when he took the mound in the ninth with a two-run lead and a gusting wind blowing to left field which aided two home runs. Capital City (14-7) elected to use the elements against Miller.

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No. 9 hitter Wayne Lydon rolled a drag bunt to the right side of the infield as Miller slipped off the dampened mound. Leadoff hitter Angel Pagan laid down a second bunt to the left of the mound that Miller pounced on but his feet slid in the wet grass for another infield single.

"I just slipped in the wet grass," Miller said. "I knew the first guy was going to bunt and slipped. The second guy was a surprise because they needed two runs, but I picked it up and my foot went out from under me."

Jeff Duncan came to the plate with runners on first and second. It was the same Jeff Duncan who hit two home runs and drove in three runs in the game. But this time, Duncan also shortened for the bunt. Miller obliged and threw out Lydon at third.

With one out, Miller was heading into the "storm," with No. 3 hitter David Wright and designated hitter Justin Huber, who had a three-run homer in the series opener, coming to the plate. Miller gunned down Wright with a strikeout for the second out.

"We were playing with fire," Ramsey said. "We're thinking we're facing their nine and one hitters and then suddenly we are looking at two of their better hitters in the lineup. That strikeout was the biggest out for us."

As Huber came to the plate, the weather changed again with impending rain, a tornado warning and gale-force winds blowing to left. Miller took the wind away from Huber and forced him into a foul popup that third baseman Julio Cordido caught to end the game.

The win was Hagerstown's second straight following a three-game losing streak. It came in a fashion the Suns (12-12) are accustomed.

Starter Ryan Hannaman seemed to tighten up during the pre-game ceremonies and was tagged early for three runs in first, including Duncan's two-run blast that rode the wind over the center field fence.

Branden Florence got one of the runs with an RBI single in the first before Duncan homer to right in the third for a 4-1 lead.

Hagerstown made its first comeback in the fifth on a clutch two-run double by Tyler Von Schell followed by Mark Walker's wind-express three-run homer for a 6-4 lead off starter David Mattox.

Reliever Anthony Yacco was unable to preserve the lead, allowing Capital City to tie the score on Lydon's two-run double in the sixth.

The Suns loaded the bases against Rafeal Lopez as Von Schell walked and singles by Julian Benavidez and Walker, who had three hits and three RBI. With two outs and two strikes, Miguel Miranda laced a single up the middle off Orlando Roman for what proved to be the two winning runs.

"I was just trying to make solid contact," Miranda said. "With two strikes, I was just trying to put the ball in play and it worked out."

"It was a good battle by Miranda with two outs," Ramsey said. "That was a good win for us. It shows when you hang around and keep it close, anything can happen."

Suns Today: vs. Capital City

Time: 7Radio: WHAG 1410

Probable Starters:

Suns - Julio Pavon (0-1, 4.66)

Capital City - Wayne Ough (0-3, 3.38)

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