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Suns snap streak

July 08, 2002|by DAN SPEARS

Apparently, turnabout is fair play for the Hagerstown Suns. Even if it's not, they honestly don't care if it gets them a win.

Sunday - finally - it was Hagerstown, and not the opposition, getting the two-out hits, making the tough pitches on the mound and taking advantage of the bounces for a much-needed 6-1 victory over Hickory.

"It's a funny game," Hagerstown second baseman Derin McMains said. "We just had to get back to the fact that we've got the best job in the world playing baseball and not get so stressed out over who's going to make the next mistake."

No, the Suns didn't find a cure for all that ailed them: they made four errors and were caught stealing twice to end innings. Still, the number of good plays far outnumbered the not-so-good ones for the first time in six games.

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"You always think one win will turn them around, and there's no reason why it can't," Suns manager Mike Ramsey said. "We did swing the bats in key situations, and we haven't done that lately. Maybe we can build on that and turn this thing in the other direction."

Hagerstown (4-14 second half, 38-50 overall) struck first in unexpected fashion when the contact-hitting McMains, the Suns' second batter of the game, homered to right - just his third of the season. Branden Florence then walked and scored on Kevin Alexander's two-out single for a 2-0 lead.

The lead could have evaporated, but starter Anthony Pannone gritted through a tough outing. He allowed seven hits and two walks in the first five innings and his teammates committed three errors that gave the Crawdads (8-9, 52-35) three extra bases.

But Pannone (7-4) allowed just one run in the third and stranded nine to get his first win since June 9.

"He's been our best starter," Ramsey said. "With a little help, he could have four or five more wins. He's been solid as far as a good effort every time."

Its lead cut in half, Hagerstown started to pull away in the bottom of third. With two outs, McMains was plunked, possibly for his homer, by Kyle VanBenschoten and argued for a warning against the Hickory pitcher.

He didn't get it, but his teammates took care of him. Florence singled and Bryan Carter knocked them both in on a flare down the left-field line that scooted past Hickory's Manny Ravelo for a two-run double.

Florence made it 5-1 with another two-out RBI single in the fifth. Alexander capped the scoring in the sixth, singling and scoring on Julian Benavidez's triple to center.

Pannone finished with a 1-2-3 sixth and relievers Julio Pavon and Ryan Meaux allowed no hits in the final three innings.




Suns Today: vs. Hickory

Time: 7Radio: WHAG 1410

Probable Starters:

Suns - Ryan Hannaman (4-4, 3.42)

Hickory - Jeff Miller (6-3, 3.78)

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