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Suns lose on Riggans' homer in 10th

April 23, 2003|by CURT HORNBECKER / Staff Correspondent

When it comes time for the Charleston (S.C.) Riverdogs to leave town, Shawn Riggans may get his own personal escort - the entire Hagerstown Suns' team.

For the second straight game, Riggans proved to be the thorn in the Suns' side, belting a three-run, 10th-inning home run for a 5-3 Charleston win in South Atlantic League play before 373 fans Tuesday at Municipal Stadium.

Monday night's victory was sparked by Riggans' three-run Texas League double in the eighth that broke open a 3-2 Riverdogs lead.

Tuesday's loss may have been even more painful considering the Suns rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the eighth to force the extra inning. Charleston starter Jason Hammel shackled the Suns for seven innings, allowing just two hits while striking out five and walking two. He was aided by three double plays.

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"He was just keeping the ball down," Suns manager Mike Ramsey said. "He had a pretty good breaking ball, he hit his spots, and he kept us off balance. He was really effective."

Except for one crucial mistake - a solo homer by Elijah Dukes in the fourth that gave the Riverdogs a 1-0 lead - Hagerstown starter Matt Cain was equally effective, fanning seven in five innings.

"We've seen him sharper," said Ramsey. "But it was a quality start, five innings and one run. He did a nice job."

Hagerstown (7-10) squandered a scoring opportunity in the fifth when Travis Ishikawa opened with a doubled and Jason Columbus followed with a walk. But Carlos Sosa grounded into a double play and Randy Walter, who reached on a walk, was picked off by Hammel to end the threat.

Troy Ransom took over for Cain in the sixth and served up a home run to J.P. Davis on his first pitch for a 2-0 Charleston advantage. Ransom settled down, and allowed just two more hits through three innings of work.

It wasn't until Hammel gave way to reliever Nathan Cromer in the eighth that the Suns' bats came alive. Columbus led off with a double, and after Sosa fanned, Walter grounded sharply back to the mound. Cromer had trouble fielding the ball, then threw wildly to first, allowing Columbus to score and Walter to move to second. Brian Munhall lined a single to left to score Walter and tie the game at 2-2.

After pitching a scoreless ninth, Waddell ran into trouble with one out in the 10th when Vince Harrison looped a single to right, and Davis' ground ball found the left field grass. Riggans settled things with his blast over the right-centerfield fence.

"(Waddell) just left the ball out over the plate and (Riggans) got good wood on it," Ramsey said.

Columbus' solo homer to left in the bottom half of the inning was too little too late for the Suns.

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