Cats' newcomers greet Suns rudely

June 29, 2003|by TIM KOELBLE

Two newcomers to Charleston (W.Va.) were instrumental in helping snap a pair of streaks on Saturday night at Municipal Stadium.

Eric Arnold slammed a two-run homer for his first hit of the season and Jose Yepez had a pair of hits and drove in the winning run for Charleston's 3-2 win, which ended the Suns' strings of three current and six straight wins for the year over the Alley Cats.

Charleston made a loser of reliever Jeremy Schmidt (1-3) in the eighth inning, who had already managed to escape a seventh-inning jam.

Schmidt allowed a single to Rodney Medina and hit Scott Dragicevich before Suns manager Mike Ramsey summoned lefty Jason Waddell.

Zeph Zinsman sacrificed the runners to second and third, leaving first base open for Yepez, who already had two singles.

Yepez, who had only two hits in his three previous games, knocked Waddell's first pitch to center to bring in Medina, dashing the potential option of an intentional walk.


"We talked about walking him (Yepez) intentionally," Ramsey said. "Hassey (Brad) was a .187 hitter on deck so we took our shot with the first pitch and he puts it in play. After that, we might have walked him."

Arnold, the Toronto Blue Jays' 10th-round choice in the 2002 amateur draft out of Rice University, had just been promoted from Auburn of the New York-Penn League and was seeing Class A pitching for the first time.

After whiffing in his first appearance against Suns starter Glenn Woolard, Arnold, who also struck out in his three other appearances, ripped a Woolard pitch over the right-center fence in the top of the third for a 2-0 lead which stood until the Suns scored in the sixth inning.

"He had a little problem with his command early, but he gave us a quality start," Ramsey said of Woolard, who fell to 5-3.

Facing stocky right hander Sandy Nin, Hagerstown (39-36, 4-4) mustered only four harmless singles through 5 1/3 innings before Jake Wald walked. Alley Cats manager Mike Maleski immediately yanked Nin in favor of lanky lefty Brad Esaray and the Suns went to town.

Carlos Sosa immediately drilled a double to the fence in right center to score Wald. Julian Benavidez had an infield single on a smash off Esaray's glove and Jason Columbus drew an intentional walk to load the bases.

The Alley Cats turned to reliever Brendan Fuller face Steve Holm, who had earlier grounded into a double play, but the Suns catcher knocked a 1-1 pitch to right for a sacrifice fly to score Sosa before Kevin Kelly struck out to end the rally.

Hagerstown mounted a threat in the eighth off of Ryan Houston, Charleston's fourth pitcher.

After two Suns' strikeouts, Benevidez singled and Columbus worked a walk, but Houston bounced back and canned Holm on a sweeping curveball to retire the side, just as he did in the ninth to record his first save of the year.

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