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Suns' Habel shuts down Shorebirds

July 11, 2003

SALISBURY, Md. - It was a good thing for the Hagerstown Suns that Josh Habel didn't finish his outing the way he started it.

Habel allowed hits to the first two Delmarva hitters he faced on Thursday before shifting into high gear for seven innings of four-hit pitching to pace the Suns to a 3-0 victory over the Shorebirds.

Levi Robinson and Gera Alvarez reached safely in the first before Habel retired 11 straight to keep the Shorebirds off the board. Arturo Rivas ended the streak with a leadoff single in the fifth.

Habel (6-4) had faced only two batters over the minimum, thanks to a double play and a pickoff. Habel earned his third consecutive win as a starter and drop his ERA to 2.23. The shutout was Hagerstown's 13th of the season and dropped the Suns team ERA to 2.96.

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The Suns (45-41, 10-9) broke through against Delmarva starter Ryan Keefer in the fourth inning. Jake Wald laced a single off the glove of third baseman Mike Done and scored on Carlos Sosa's home run to right field for a 2-0 lead.

Hagerstown added an insurance run in the fifth when Brian Munhall singled off Keefer's glove and advanced to second when Kevin Kelly walked before scoring on Karl Jernigan's single.

Reliever Billy Sadler pitched a scoreless eighth while striking out two to set up the save for Matt Palmer.

Palmer pitched the ninth, also striking out two, to earn his South Atlantic League-leading 19th save.

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