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Suns tripped by 'Claws

June 21, 2003

LAKEWOOD, N.J. - The Hagerstown Suns were able to withstand the heart of Lakewood's batting order on Friday.

It was the knees and ankles of the lineup that gave the Suns the most trouble.

Matt Hopper, Kevin Nulton and Tim Gradoville - who entered the game hitting a combined .122 - provided Lakewood with its first three runs and turned the early lead over to starter Francisco Butto in a 5-2 victory over the Suns.

The 3-0 lead was more than enough support for Butto (7-3), who has yet to allow the Suns an earned run in 25 innings. He allowed two hits and struck out seven in six innings as Hagerstown dropped its third straight game.

Lakewood (25-48, 3-1), which is 7-5 against the Suns, took a 2-0 lead in the second on a walk and three singles off Suns starter Brad Hennessey (0-2).

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Hopper tripled to open the fourth and scored on Nulton's sacrifice fly for a 3-0 lead.

Hopper entered the game 0-for-6, while Nulton was hitting .125 (3-for-24). Gradoville had the most experience with the BlueClaws, but was only hitting .135 (7-for-52).

Hagerstown got on the scoreboard in the seventh, using some daring base running by Randy Walter. Kevin Kelly opened the rally with a one-out single and took third on Walter's double. Mikey Miranda followed with a grounder to second that Nulton casually threw to first for the out, allowing Kelly to score. Walter never broke stride and came from second to cut the deficit to 3-2.

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