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Suns suffer costly defeat

August 13, 2003

ASHEVILLE, N.C. - The Hagerstown Suns battled with Asheville to the very end Tuesday night.

In fact, it was the end that did in the Suns.

The Tourists scored six runs in the eighth inning to erase a one-run deficit in an 11-6 win which dropped the Suns to third place in the South Atlantic League wild-card chase.

Hagerstown owned a 6-5 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth but lost the advantage on a costly error.

The Tourists loaded the bases against reliever Jeremy Schmidt, who was lifted for closer Scott Munter. Munter got Walkill Guance to hit a grounder to third baseman Brian Buscher, who threw home to catcher Brian Munhall for a force at home.

But Munhall dropped the throw, allowing two runs to score to give Asheville a 7-6 lead. Jeff Salazar followed with a three-run home run - his second of the game - and Ryan Spilborghs added an RBI double to give the Tourists the five-run lead.

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Hagerstown went down in order in the ninth to fall to 4-3 on the southern road trip.

The loss proved costly to the Suns (59-57, 24-25), who fell 1 1/2 games behind Lexington and a half-game behind Greensboro for the wild-card playoff berth in the SAL's Northern Division. Both Lexington and Greensboro won Tuesday.

The Suns jumped to a 3-0 lead with single runs in the second, fourth and fifth innings. Randy Walter started the scoring with a sacrifice fly while Jason Columbus had a run-scoring single and Brian Buscher drove in a run with a triple.

Asheville tied the game in the fifth off Hagerstown starter Merkin Valdez as Guance drove in a run with a two-out single and Salazar hit a two-run home run. Spilborghs homered in the sixth for a 4-3 lead.

The Suns scored three runs in the seventh to regain the lead. Carlos Sosa and Buscher drove in runs with RBI grounders before Munhall reached on a throwing error by third baseman Jeff Baker to bring in the final run.

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