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Suns rally for win in 12th

May 05, 2003|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

When the Kannapolis Intimidators used three infield rollers to take a 3-2 lead in the 12th inning Sunday afternoon, the Hagerstown Suns appeared to be heading for the kind of close, low-scoring loss that has characterized their season.

Instead, the Suns flipped the script with some clutch hitting of their own.

Kevin Alexander's RBI double tied the game, and Carlos Sosa's bases-loaded, one-out grounder scored Aaron Hornostaj with the winning run as Hagerstown battled back for a 4-3 victory at Municipal Stadium.

"We've played a lot of close games, and it's good for our ballclub to learn how to win those kinds of games," Suns manager Mike Ramsey said. "Our pitching has been good although we haven't been doing much offensively, but it's good to get this win."

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The Suns (13-17) beat Kannapolis (16-13) for a third straight game despite managing only two hits through the first eight innings.

The Intimidators (16-13) took the lead in the 12th off Suns reliever Jeremy Schmidt (1-0) - a recent addition to the roster - when Darren Ciraco beat out an infield single, advanced on John Cavin's ground-out to third, took third on Joey Gillikin's own infield single and scored on pinch-hitter Julio Reyes' fielder's choice to second, beating Hornostaj's throw to the plate.

But the Suns (13-17) bounced back in the bottom half off Kannapolis reliever Josh Rupe (1-1). Jake Wald led off with an infield single when shortstop Andy Gonzalez couldn't make the transfer from the glove to his throwing hand while running in. After a strikeout, Hornostaj singled to set the stage for Alexander, who ripped a 1-0 pitch down the left field line, scoring Wald and leaving runners on second and third.

Rupe walked Travis Ishikawa intentionally to load the bases with one out for Sosa, who bounced a grounder up the middle. Second baseman Pedro Lopez dived to grab the ball and flipped it from his stomach to Gonzalez to force out Ishikawa, but Gonzalez's throw to first was well late, and Hornostaj scored the winning run.

"We finally got it done," Ramsey said. "It took a long time, but we took advantage of an opportunity."

Both of the Suns' first two runs were unearned, as two Kannapolis errors helped Hagerstown take a 2-1 lead after four innings.

Kannapolis scored an unearned run off Suns starter Glenn Woolard in the first for a 1-0 lead, and tied the game at 2-2 in the sixth when Thomas Brice singled, stole second and later scored on Varella's second RBI single of the night.

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