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Suns question selves, don't have answers

April 19, 2004|By BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

There are many questions surrounding the Hagerstown Suns.

The only problem is the Suns are the ones doing all the asking.

There weren't very many answers at Municipal Stadium on Sunday as Hagerstown continued to look baffled during a 6-2 loss to Charleston (W.Va.) as the AlleyCats completed a four-game sweep before 1,084 sun-drenched fans.

Hagerstown (2-6) dropped its sixth straight game as its starting pitching remained in a quandary and the offense looked for multiple-choice ways to score runs.

"I think they are a little dazed and confused right now," manager Mike Ramsey said of Hagerstown's hitters. "Hitters want results and when it doesn't happen, they start to question themselves. We started out by scoring six runs and then 13 and suddenly we are not doing that. They are young hitters who got some success and might not be used to having problems."

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Charleston (8-2) looked like it bought the exam before the test because the AlleyCats had an answer for everything.

The AlleyCats got the clutch hits they needed in a 13-hit onslaught, putting the game away with a four-run seventh inning. In fact, Hagerstown turned five double plays to prevent Charleston from breaking the game open earlier.

Meanwhile, Charleston's pitching held Hagerstown to just three hits ? all by catcher Brian Munhall.

Starting pitcher Juan Serrato struggled through four innings and was lucky to only allow one unearned run after allowing three hits and five walks. No Suns starter has reached the fifth inning yet this season.

"(Serrato's) mechanics are a little eschew," Ramsey said. "He tweaked his groin in the first inning and it bothered him. We kept asking him if it was bothering him, but he battled through it.

"I let him go out for the fourth inning, but I wasn't going to allow him to go any further."

Charleston took a 1-0 lead in the first as Willie Rivera led off with a double and Ryan Roberts walked. Robinzon Diaz followed with a grounder to first baseman Jason Columbus, who threw the ball into left field while trying to turn a double play to allow the unearned run.

Munhall tied the game in the third when he led off with a homer to right off starter Davis Romero.

While Hagerstown flailed away at the plate, the brunt of the game fell on the shoulders of reliever Jesse Floyd (0-1).

Charleston took a 2-1 lead with an unearned run in the fifth off Floyd. Diaz reached second when his bunt attempt was thrown away by third baseman Nate Schierholtz. David Smith cashed in the run with a two-out single to right.

The AlleyCats finished off the Suns in the seventh as the first six hitters reached base against Floyd and Christopher George. Clint Johnston highlighted the rally with a two-run double to right center while Diaz and Mike Galloway added RBI singles.

The Suns picked up their other run when Jesse Schmidt walked and scored on Munhall's double.

"Munhall had some solid at bats," Ramsey said. "He had three hits and a walk. He got his timing down where he was ready to hit and reached base all four times."

The Suns left runners in scoring position on four occasions when they failed to get the big hit. They finished their homestand at 0-4 and three other games were postponed by rain.

"We still have a long way to go," Ramsey said. "We have to see what happens. The question is if we will get better and how will they be come June. We'll see. But all teams go through struggles. We just got to ours sooner than later."

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