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Ishikawa powers Suns past Shorebirds

June 01, 2003|By BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

Travis Ishikawa turned himself into an editor on Friday.

The Hagerstown Suns first baseman took the book that Delmarva had on him and abridged it.

The Shorebirds followed the manuscript they had compiled last weekend to neutralize Ishikawa when they played at Municipal Stadium - left-handed pitching working inside. But Ishikawa ripped the page out of the binding with a three-run homer in the sixth to give the streaking Suns a 4-3 victory.

In fact, Ishikawa drove in all four Hagerstown runs - tying the game with a fourth-inning single - as the Suns (29-23) went on to win for the 12th time in the last 14 games.

"Ishikawa ... It was all his night," Suns manager Mike Ramsey said. "That was a great piece of hitting against a tough left-hander."

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The Suns trailed 2-1 in the sixth until Derin McMains placed a one-out single to right and took second on a wild pitch before Carlos Sosa walked to chase Delmarva starter Ryan Keefer (3-6). Delmarva manager Stan Hough went to the mound and brought in lefty Richard Salazar specifically to face Ishikawa after using the strategy last weekend in Salisbury, Md.

"When we were down at Delmarva, I was having trouble against him," Ishikawa said. "He was a lefty and was coming in on me. He was getting ahead of me and I was having trouble picking up the ball."

Salazar tried to work the inside of the plate but fell behind with a 2-1 count. The next pitch came in and Ishikawa launched it over the right field wall for his third homer of the year and a two-run lead for the Suns.

"I got the count in my favor and was looking for a pitch," Ishikawa said. "I was looking for a fastball to the middle (to the inside) of the plate and he got it up in the zone and I got it."

Ishikawa's shot became a fitting sendoff for Suns starter Brian Stirm (4-0), who left the game with the lead after six innings of work. He held the Shorebirds to two runs on six hits and two walks while striking out five.

"I don't know if Travis did anything different. I don't think he changed his approach," Ramsey said. "He just saw the guy a couple of times. When he becomes more consistent hitting mistakes, he's be a better hitter. It was Ishikawa and Stirm, who did a great job to get to 4-0, but without Ishikawa tonight, it doesn't look like we would have scored."

Delmarva took a 1-0 lead in the first when Val Majewski hit a two-out double and scored on Randy Ruiz's single to left. Ishikawa tied the game in the fourth after McMains' doubled and took third on Sosa's grounder to second to set up the RBI single to right.

The Shorebirds regained the lead in the fifth on Majewski's third hit of the game, a single to right to give him a SAL-leading 44th RBI.

After Ishikawa's homer, Ben Washburn worked a 1-2-3 seventh inning before turning the game over to Josh Habel. The left hander allowed an unearned run in the eighth on Rafael Diaz's bases-loaded grounder before bearing down to strikeout Thomas Arko and Neal Stephenson to end the threat and start his way to his first save of the season.

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