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Suns waste scoring chances in close loss

August 20, 2003|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

It was a matter of alignments for the Hagerstown Suns on Tuesday.

The planets didn't line up for the Suns, while, unfortunately, Kannapolis' defense did.

The Suns squandered prime scoring opportunities in each of the last four innings and had two runners thrown out at the plate as the Intimidators did all the right things to pull out a 3-2 victory.

"That was frustrating," Hagerstown manager Mike Ramsey said. "We had 13 hits ... we swung the bats well, had a lot of chances, but we didn't get the hits when we needed them. This was one game we could have won, but a couple of things went against us and we came up short."

The Suns (62-60, 27-28) are 2 1/2 games behind Lexington for a wild card berth and a game ahead of Greensboro.

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The Suns' two-run fifth inning ended with Fred Lewis being thrown out at the plate on a relay off Kevin Alexander's double to center. Center fielder Darren Ciraco got the ball off a bounce off the wall and fired it to shortstop Andy Gonzalez, who gunned it to catcher Dan Barnett. Lewis, who slipped rounding third base, was out by a wide margin despite trying to bowl over Barnett.

Hagerstown got stung a second time with two outs in the eighth when Randy Walter doubled down the right field line off reliever Adam Larson. Right fielder Thomas Brice dug the ball out of the corner and unloaded it to first baseman Julio Reyes, who threw a strike to Barnett to get Brian Munhall trying to score from first.

"We had two guys thrown out at home and that's all on me," Ramsey said. "I took a chance with two outs. They executed, made the plays and got the outs when they needed them. It's frustrating, but it's going to happen."

Hagerstown failed to score with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth and with a runner at second and two outs in the seventh. A.J. Labarbera hit a one-out triple off Larson in the ninth but was left stranded with the tying run.

The loss ruined a solid comeback performance by Suns starter Daniel Portorreal, who was returning after spending nearly four months on the disabled list with arm problems.

Portorreal (1-3) was touched for a run in the fifth as Ciraco doubled, stole second and scored on a wild pitch for a 1-0 lead. Portorreal left after loading the bases in the sixth before Ciraco greeted Erick Threets with a two-run double that gave the Intimidators the 3-2 lead.

The Suns scored twice in the fifth off starter Armando Perez (4-6). Munhall singled and scored when Walter's single to left was misplayed by Bo Ivy. With two outs, Labarbera doubled and scored.

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