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Suns' Stirm makes Legends' batters squirm

July 03, 2003|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

Brian Stirm is one of those guys you don't want to lose track of.

The Hagerstown Suns pitcher is that quiet guy who doesn't mind hovering unnoticed behind the rest of his teammates. But when he gets his turn ... look out.

Stirm let himself be heard on Wednesday and left the Lexington Legends with one huge headache. The right-hander posted seven innings of one-hit pitching and the Suns took a methodical 5-2 victory.

Stirm (6-2) never allowed the Legends get comfortable at the plate as his ability to put his fastball and changeup in exact locations keep Lexington batters from making solid contact. Stirm struck out seven and walked four.

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"I just tried to do the things to get ground balls and outs," Stirm said. "I wanted to get ahead of the hitters and throw strikes. I wasn't thinking about throwing a one-hitter, I just was looking to throw strikes. We have a pretty good defense behind us."

The defense's biggest contribution to Stirm's effort came on the only hit he allowed. With two outs and Jason Humphries on first via a leadoff walk, John Fagan hit a drive off the center field wall.

Center fielder Fred Lewis fielded and fired the ball to shortstop Jake Wald in shallow outfield, who turned and gunned to Steve Holm at the plate to throw out Fagan and keep Lexington off the scoreboard.

"(Stirm) did a great job for us," said Suns manager Mike Ramsey. "He went seven innings ... it was his best start of the year. He has been good for us ... he's got six wins. He gets lost among the luster some of our other pitchers, but every start is quality and he hasn't given more than three runs up any time he's been out there."

The Suns (42-37, 7-5) rewarded Stirm's sharpness with three runs in the second as Julian Benavidez drew a leadoff walk off Lexington starter Devern Hansack (7-6). After Brian Buscher made his Hagerstown debut with a double, Jason Columbus hit a sacrifice fly to right for the RBI, but Buscher was out advancing to third. Steve Holm and Fred Lewis added RBI singles for the 3-0 lead.

Carlos Sosa hit his second homer in as many days in the third to give Hagerstown a 4-0 lead. The Suns picked up an insurance run in the eighth on a Buscher single and a run-scoring double by Randy Walter.

Lexington got two runs off reliever Jason Waddell in the ninth, but Matt Palmer came on for the final two outs to nail down his 18th save.

Before the game, the Suns announced the addition of relief pitcher William Sadler, San Francisco's sixth pick in the 2003 draft out of Louisiana State, to the roster. Today, the Suns will be receiving utility player Jay Knowlton to fill out their roster.

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