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Suns fail in bid for a sweep

July 31, 2002|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

Mike Ramsey was starting to feel like a hot shooter at a Las Vegas craps table.

"Once you get three, you always look to get four. You always look to get a little greedy," the Hagerstown Suns manager said.

But after firing three straight sevens, the Suns came up snake eyes. Lexington took advantage of a couple of Hagerstown mistakes and made the most of what it had Tuesday to outlast Suns starter Anthony Pannone for a 5-3 victory to avoid being swept in the four-game series.

A passed ball by Keith Anderson led to the second of two Lexington runs in the first inning and Pannone's errant pickoff throw set up the Legends' go-ahead run in the fifth, which proved to be the game-winner.

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"They got a couple of hits there that hurt us, and then we had the passed ball ... and the errant pickoff throw didn't help," Ramsey said. "I'm happy with the way we played the series though ... but I thought we were going to win tonight."

In winning the first three games against Lexington, Hagerstown (13-25, 47-61) spruced up what had been a dingy second half of the season. The Suns not only controlled one of the most experienced teams in the South Atlantic League, they also climbed out of last place in the division.

Pannone (7-7) kept the Suns in the game, despite allowing the four runs in eight innings. Hagerstown failed to come up with the key hit in the clutch situation on three occasions to give the starter credit for his work.

Lexington grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first as Brian Caraway drew a leadoff walk, stole second, moved to third on Tommy Whiteman's single and scored on the passed ball. Anthony Acevado added a sacrifice fly to stake starter Brandon Roberson to a 2-0 lead.

The Suns tied the game in the fourth with the help of a pair of sacrifice bunts. Branden Florence drew a leadoff walk, moved to second on a single by Julian Benavidez and scored on a single by Kevin Alexander. Benavidez scored on Scoop McDowell's sacrifice bunt that catcher Reinaldo Ruiz threw into left field while trying to make a play at third.

Ruiz singled to leadoff the fifth and reached third when Pannone's pickoff attempt went down the right-field line before scoring on T.J. Soto's single.

Lexington got a solo homer from Whiteman in the eighth and added an insurance run off reliever Julio Pavon in the ninth. The Suns got one run when Anderson led off the ninth with a double and scored on Bryan Carter's double-play grounder.

"We were in good shape when we got the first two guys on in the ninth," Ramsey said. "We battled. I'm encouraged."

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