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Suns falls apartfall apart

May 08, 2002|BY BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

In a matter of 10 pitches, the Hagerstown Suns went from Indian givers to ticket givers.

That's the same amount of pitches it took for Suns starter Brian Burres to go from the top of his game to the showers.

The Suns entered the pitching black hole called the fifth inning with a two-run lead and left looking for answers Tuesday, as Hickory used eight hits and a sacrifice bunt en route to a six-run rally and a 7-3 victory on Guaranteed Win night at Municipal Stadium.

Suns' management guaranteed a win in Tuesday's game or it would give each fan a ticket to a future game. What seemed like a secure 3-1 lead turned into the doling out of 811 free tickets by the end of the night.

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"The fifth inning got us again," Suns manager Mike Ramsey said. "Our starters have had trouble getting through the fifth inning for the third game in a row. Tonight, everything happened so quick. It was like six runs over seven pitches."

Burres (1-3) was overpowering through the first four innings, allowing an unearned run on one hit with five strikeouts in his first 52 pitches. Then came the inning of his discontent.

n Jose Bautista led off with a home run to left center field.

n Two pitches later, Jeremy Harts tripled off the center field wall.

n Two more pitches and Jose Hernandez's single to tied it at 3-3.

n One pitch, sacrifice bunt by Brandon Chavas.

n One more pitch, Aron Weston reached on a drag bunt.

n Two pitches later, Ryan Doumit hit a two-run double to left to chase Burres for a 6-3 game.

Leiby Guzman came on and allowed two more singles, the second to Jeff Keppinger to drive in the sixth run of the inning.

"The way (Burres) started out, only a hit and an error kept him from having a shutout," Ramsey said. "There were no indications that he was going to give up six hits in a row. The way he was going, we thought we were going to get at least five or six innings out of him."

The Suns (13-19), who lost for the ninth time in 12 games, got an early lead to reward Burres for striking out the side in the first. Hagerstown jumped on 6-foot-10 Hickory starter Chris Young for all three of its runs in the first.

Bryan Carter led off with a single and Julio Cordido doubled to set up an RBI single by Branden Florence and a sacrifice fly by Tyler Von Schell in the first four hitters. Kevin Alexander added a two-out run-scoring single for the 3-0 lead.

Burres was flawless until the third when Hernandez broke the string of the first seven Crawdads (19-14) being retired with a hot shot off third baseman Julian Benavidez's shoulder for an error. Chaves followed with a double to score the run to cut the deficit to two runs.

From there Young (4-1) and reliever Alexander Lissir slammed the door.

"I don't think we went into a shutdown mode," Ramsey said. "We were one hit away from getting back in it and never got it. No question we have a lot of work to do with our defense, pitching and hitting. The effort is there. We just have to continue to work."

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