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Crawdads don't wait to beat Suns

July 09, 2002|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

It might not be a positive thing, but the Hagerstown Suns broke their procrastination habit on Monday.

Instead of waiting until the final three innings to let the game get away like the trend has been through the first three weeks of the second half, the Suns allowed the walls to tumble in the middle part of the game.

Hickory scored a total of seven runs in the fifth and sixth innings - all coming after two outs - to blow open the game before holding on for a 10-6 victory.

Aron Weston drove in four of his six runs in the backbreaking innings with a three-run home run to highlight the three-run fifth and an RBI single in the four-run sixth when the Crawdads turned a 3-2 nailbiter into a 10-2 laugher.

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"We had a tough start, but we tried to keep it close in the middle innings and didn't do it again," Suns manager Mike Ramsey said. "We hit the ball hard today and had some good approaches, but the middle two innings were the key."

Suns' starter Ryan Hannaman (4-5) struggled through his four-inning stint, allowing three runs on seven hits and four walks. Weston drove in one of the two runs in the first with a bases-loaded walk and hit a bases-loaded groundout in the third to stake Jeff Miller (7-3) to a 3-2 lead.

Hagerstown (4-15, 38-51) managed to tie the game at 2-2 after two innings on run-scoring singles by Robbie Meyer and Kevin Alexander.

Hannaman gave way to Julio Pavon in the fifth, and Pavon allowed Walter Young to single between a pair of outs. Jose Bautista coaxed a walk to set up Weston's third at-bat with runners in scoring position on the night. He worked the count full before lining a shot over the right field fence for his third home run of the year.

"Allowing a walk after two outs ... you hate to see that," Ramsey said. "But that was the key. It was 3-2 and then we didn't hold them before it got to 10-2."

Hickory (9-9) collected five straight hits - including four doubles - after two were out in the fifth off Pavon and James Gregg. Young and Chris Shelton drove in runs on consecutive doubles off Pavon before Bautista greeted Gregg with a third consecutive two-base hit. Weston's RBI single capped the scoring for the 10-2 lead.

Branden Florence hit a two-run homer in Hagerstown's three-run sixth to bring the Suns within 10-5. Meyer added an RBI single to drive in Bryan Carter for the other run. Derin McMains laid down a bunt single to score Alexander in the seventh to cut the final deficit to four.

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