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Suns lose opener in 10

April 16, 2004|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

It was a script Hagerstown Suns manager Mike Ramsey has seen more times than he cared to remember. Unfortunately, so was the ending.

There it was ... late innings, game tied, bases loaded and no outs. End result? No runs and momentum shifting to the other side.

"I've seen it 1,000 times before ...," Ramsey said. "Then the other team gets it done in the next inning."

On Thursday, it was 1,001st time. The Suns failed with the score tied in the ninth, allowing Charleston (W.Va.) to score two runs in the 10th to take a 7-5 victory and spoiled the long-awaited opening day for 1,481 fans at Municipal Stadium.

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"I've seen it 1,000 times," Ramsey said. "You get the bases loaded with no outs and the hitters try to do too much. They get out of the game plan and then you get a guy up there struggling with two outs and we don't get the job done."

Hagerstown came up with a chance to break a 5-5 tie and win the game in the ninth as Tim Hutting led off with a double to the left center field wall off reliever Joaquin Canizal (1-0) before Nate Schierholtz was intentionally walked and Jonathan Armitage drew a free pass to load the bases.

But Jesse Schmidt grounded to Canizal for a force at home before Mike Wagner and Travis Ishakawa struck out to end the threat.

"We battled back tonight," Ramsey said. "If we had the bases loaded like that and had the batters we had coming up like we did, I'd take my chances any time."

But the Alley Cats (5-2) used the escape hatch to win the game in the 10th off reliever Tim Alvarez (0-1). Mike Galloway led off with a double to right and gave way to pinch runner Juan Peralta. After Christian Snavely walked, Eric Arnold laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners into scoring position.

Peralta scored on a passed ball and Willie Rivera doubled down the right field line for his second RBI of the game.

The Suns threatened to come back in the bottom of the inning but first baseman Clint Johnston made a diving stop of Schierholt's hot grounder inside the baseline with two out and two on to record the final out and preserve the save for Brian Reed.

The roller coaster loss sent the Suns to their third straight defeat after winning the opening two games of the season. The home opener was delayed by three days - wiping out an entire series with Hickory.

"I was encouraged today," Ramsey said. "We just need the hitters to be less anxious and the pitchers to throw fewer walks and we'll be OK."

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