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Carter's five-RBI night powers Suns over Legends

July 30, 2002|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

Advertising used to say "chicks dig the long ball," but teammates and managers are more inclined to get excited about clutch singles.

On Monday, Bryan Carter put on a show to suit everyone's tastes.

Hagerstown's right fielder hit two home runs and followed up with an all-important, game-tying two-run single, setting up Derin McMain's game-winning base hit in a four-run eighth inning as the Suns rallied for a 9-8 victory over the reeling Lexington Legends.

"Derin deserves all the credit," Carter said. "The homers were big, but when I came up with the bases loaded, you look for something to hit hard, up in the air and up the middle. I was really comfortable up there tonight. I was locked in ... it was a lot of fun."

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Carter hit a two-run shot in the third inning and a solo homer in the seventh - his 12th off the season - before chopping a single up the middle off reliever Phillip Barzilla (5-7) for his fourth and fifth RBI of the night to tie the game at 8-8.

McMains followed with a humpback liner out of the reach of second baseman Lance Downing to score Justin Knoedler with the go-ahead run. Lieby Guzman got the win in relief while Julio Pavon earned his first save.

It gave the Suns (14-24, 48-60) their third straight win and allowed them to escape last place in the South Atlantic League's Northern Division standings. Lexington fell six games behind Delmarva for the second-half playoff berth.

"What a night for Carter," Suns manager Mike Ramsey said. "He's swinging the bat well right now. We aren't looking for any one player to do it, but he's really capable of carrying us right now."

For the third straight night, the Suns aggressively approached Lexington pitching. After starter Peterson Benjamin spotted the Legends an unearned run in the second, the Suns countered with Carter's blast to right-center and Kevin Alexander's RBI single in the third for a 3-1 lead.

Kyle Gross lasted only one-third of an inning when he relieved Benjamin in the fifth. He allowed three runs on five walks and three wild pitches as the Suns fell behind 4-3. Gross opened his outing with 14 straight pitches out of the strike zone.

The Suns tied the game on an RBI double by Tyler Von Schell in the fifth, but Danny Fatheree helped Lexington regain the lead with a solo homer off Dan Padgett in the sixth.

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