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Suns' bats take another sick day

April 17, 2004|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

The Hagerstown Suns are suffering from a virus and having problems finding a cure.

"They say hitting is contagious, but it works the other way, too," Suns manager Mike Ramsey said.

So, as it turned out, Hagerstown's offense was under the weather again on Friday as a trio of Charleston (W.Va.) pitchers - led by starter Tom Mastny - quarantined the Suns' bats for a 4-0 victory before 2,023 fans.

"(Mastny) kept us off balance," Ramsey said. "I asked some of the hitters and they said he was hitting his location well. We got a couple of good swings at him, but couldn't make anything happen. That was a quality start, allowing just one hit in six innings."

The Suns (2-5) dropped their fifth straight game, managing only four hits and getting just one runner to third base. Hagerstown struck out nine times, but six were on called third strikes.

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"We just find ourselves in a funk right now. Once we start getting some hits, we'll be all right," Ramsey said. "We had a couple of chances late in the game, but we didn't get the key hits. It just hasn't happened in the first couple of games."

Mastny cruised through his six innings with only three runners reaching base. The Alley Cats (6-2) committed two errors in the third and Nate Schierholtz broke up thoughts of a no-hitter with a one-out double in the fourth.

Meanwhile, Suns starter Jesse English wasn't as fortunate.

English lost his edge by allowing three runs in the third. Juan Peralta led off the inning with a triple into the right field corner. Willie Rivera chased the run home with a single in the hole that first baseman Travis Ishikawa fielded, but was forced to hold for a single as no one covered first base.

"He had a chance to get out of there allowing only one run," Ramsey said. "He didn't get over to cover on that play and he was bothered by it and it hurt him."

Clint Johnston drew a two-out walk and the runners advanced to second and third before scoring on Dave Smith's double to left.

Joe Bateman replaced English in the fourth and pitched four shutout innings to keep the Suns in the game. Jesse Floyd pitched the final two innings, allowing Charleston an insurance run in the ninth. Morrin Davis led off with a single and stole second before scoring on Ryan Roberts' double to center.

Brad Esaray and Mark Sopko shut down the Suns over the last three innings on three hits while pitching out of possible jams in the seventh and eight innings.

Roberts, Smith and Peralta each had two hits for Charleston. Schierholtz had two hits for the Suns.

"We are going to be all right, but getting around double figures in strikeouts concerns me," Ramsey said. "When you start doing that, you had better be banging the ball around the park. We haven't been doing that yet."

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