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Suns split a pair with Kannapolis

May 06, 2003|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

The margin for error is a funny thing. It's either wider than you ever want or not enough when you need it.

The Hagerstown Suns were on both ends of the scale on Monday.

Even though they had high-quality starting pitching in both ends of a doubleheader, there were far different results. In the opener, the Suns pounded out 12 hits to support Brian Stirm in a dominating 8-3 victory over Kannapolis. But a lack of hits and a couple of defensive miscues ruined Josh Habel's outing in a 4-1 loss in the nightcap.

"When you are struggling for runs the margin for error gets really small," Suns manager Mike Ramsey said. "You just can't afford to give up too many runs. But when you are hitting the ball, that margin is a whole lot bigger."

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Hagerstown (13-18) exhibited one of its most confident and efficient games at the plate in the opener, scoring two runs in the second and five in the fifth off Intimidators starter Brian Miller. It came on a day when the rain-soaked Municipal Stadium outfield wasn't allowing balls to roll for any distance.

Kevin Alexander's RBI triple to center in the second and Randy Walter's run-scoring single gave Hagerstown a 2-0 lead. Then Walter came back to key the five-run outburst in the fifth with a triple of his own to right field for a 7-0 lead.

Stirm fired what started to look like another no-hitter through the first four innings, following in the footsteps laid Saturday by Clay Hensley.

"I thought he spotted his pitches well," Ramsey said. "He had a good changeup and some nice breaking stuff. Both Stirm and Habel gave us a couple of nice spot starts. In the first game, we got two or three good clutch hits and did a nice job swinging the bats."

Stirm finished with five innings of two-hit pitching while allowing a run with one walk while striking out six.

Travis Ishikawa's two-out RBI single preceded Walter's triple for two of those three hits.

Derin McMains ripped an RBI single to right for an insurance run in the sixth.

Stirm began to falter in the fifth, allowing Thomas Brice to lead off with a single and eventually scoring on an RBI double by Charlie Lusk. Joey Gilliken hit a two-run homer off Troy Ransom in the sixth for the Intimidators' other two runs.

In the nightcap, each team had no-hitters after four innings. A bad hop error on McMains at third allowed leadoff man Edgar Varela to reach base.

After Gillikin walked, John Cavin attempted a sacrifice bunt to move runners. Habel pounced on the ball and threw it away to allow the first run. Gustavo Molina followed with an RBI single off Scott Munter for the 2-0 lead.

In the sixth, Munter unleashed a wild pitch while striking out Anthony Webster to open the sixth. It led to an RBI single by Andy Gonzalez, who eventually scored on a wild pitch for a 4-0 lead.

The Suns got to reliever Julio Castro in the sixth when McMains led off with a triple and scored on Aaron Hornostaj's sacrifice fly to right.

"In the second game, we gave them some opportunities," Ramsey said. "Otherwise, that could have been a 1-1 game. The wild pitch off the strikeout hurt us, but we didn't do much with the bats. Still, we saw some good things happening out there all night."xx

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