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Suns rout Bombers

August 01, 2003|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

The Hagerstown Suns showed Capital City how the bottom half lives on Thursday.

The last five hitters in the Suns order sent the Bombers looking for a foxhole.

Brian Buscher led an onslaught of the fifth through ninth hitters in Hagerstown's batting order which hit a combined 11-for-19 and seven RBI in a 9-2 victory and a series win over the Bombers.

In contrast, the Suns' top four in the batting order were a collective 1-for-16 with four walks.

Buscher went 4-for-5 with three of the hits starting each of the Suns' three-run rallies in the game. The third baseman, who joined Hagerstown for the second half, has added many things to the Suns' lineup, but rally catalyst was a new wrinkle.

"I was just trying to get on base," Buscher said, in an understated fashion. "The only way we can get RBIs is if someone is on base. Everyone started hitting and it got contagious."

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Buscher had five straight hits, beginning Wednesday with his game-winning pinch-hit single for a 6-5 victory.

The combined efforts were more than enough support for starter Josh Habel (8-5), Hagerstown's setup man turned starter. Habel allowed four hits without issuing a walk while striking out 10 in six innings. When Habel left, the Suns sat firmly with a 6-0 lead.

"We had a lot of good hacks tonight, all the way up and down the lineup," Suns manager Mike Ramsey said. "We got a good cushion early and were able to cruise. We haven't been able to do that too often this year."

Buscher, the No. 5 hitter, was backed by Julian Benavidez's 3-for-4 night followed by two hits for Jay Knowlton and Randy Walter. Catcher Brian Munhall only had one hit, but drove in three runs.

Buscher opened the floodgates in the second with a single to right off Capital City ace Miguel Pinango (11-3) and scored on Benavidez's double to left center. Knowlton singled to put runners on first and third before a Pinango wild pitch and Munhall's double gave the Suns a 3-0 lead.

Hagerstown (54-52, 19-20) doubled the advantage in the third on consecutive one-out singles by Buscher, Benavidez, Knowlton and Walter along with a sacrifice fly to chase Pinango with the 6-0 lead.

"(Buscher) is a tough kid ... he's a gamer," Ramsey said. "He doesn't overthink. He's the kind of guy who looks for a pitch and knocks it somewhere. He's got a good makeup."

With the lead, Habel really tightened his grip, striking out seven of the last nine Bombers he faced before turning the pitching duties over to Billy Sadler and Troy Ransom.

"Habel had the opportunity to shut them down and did it," Ramsey said. "We didn't get that last night, but he had it today. He's been good for us all year. He did a great job as a set-up man and now he's done a good job as a starter when we needed him."

Buscher singled to open the seventh against Lukas Krause before Benavidez walked. Walter laced an RBI double off the center field fence and Munhall brought home Benavidez with an RBI groundout. Fred Lewis capped the scoring with a double to left.

Capital City broke the shutout with Forrest Lawson's two-run double with the bases loaded off Sadler.

After the game, Knowlton was promoted to Single-A San Jose and designated hitter Jason Columbus was activated. Knowlton will be filling in for former Sun Darren McMain's, who suffered a stress fracture of his foot.

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