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Suns' hitting shines in opener

April 09, 2004

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Hagerstown Suns came out swinging, instead of just winging, on Thursday. The Suns changed their style from being a pitching-laden roster to a hit-oriented team at least for one night by using two home runs and Nate Schierholtz's clutch two-run single in the seventh inning to score a 6-3 win over Lexington in the South Atlantic League season opener for both teams.

Schierholtz's one-out single with the bases loaded off Ryan France drove in Pat Dobson and Dayton Buller to break a 3-3 tie. Dobson and Buller opened the innings with walks and Jon Coutlangus laid down a bunt single to load the bases and chase Raymar Diaz (0-1), the third of five Lexington pitchers.

Hagerstown, which only hit 44 home runs in 135 games last season, got on the board in the first inning with a two-run homer by Jon Armituge and capped its scoring with a leadoff blast by Mike Wagner in the eighth.

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After Armituge's homer, Suns starter Kelyn Acosta struggled in his first start, allowing four walks in the first two innings. Three of the free passes came in the first when Lexington closed the gap to 2-1.

Coutlangus reached when Lexington first baseman Scott Robinson threw away his throw on a bunt to score Travis Ishakawa for a 3-1 lead.

Lexington scored in the second and the fourth - the latter on a Robinson RBI single - to tie the game at 3-3 to set the stage for Schierholtz.

Bill Musgraves, the fourth of five Hagerstown pitchers, pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning. Tim Alvarez came on in the ninth and loaded the bases with two outs before getting Brock Koman to fly out to end the game and earn his first save.

Travis Nesmith pitched two-thirds of an inning to earn the victory for Hagerstown. Lexington had 11 hits and stranded 15 runners.

Schierholtz and Wagner had two hits each to lead Hagerstown, which finished with seven hits.

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