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For once, Suns shine at home

May 01, 2004|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

It had to start somewhere for the Hagerstown Suns on Friday.

That starting gate might have been the finish line of Thursday night's game.

Jon Coutlangus and Nate Schierholtz each hit two-out, two-run doubles to cap a six-run second inning as the Suns notched their first home win of the season with a 7-3 decision over Lexington before 1,133 fans at Municipal Stadium.

The opening rally came on the heels of a six-run outburst in the ninth inning of Thursday's 10-6 loss.

"It all started last night with the six runs because we didn't give up," said Schierholtz, who finished with two doubles and three RBI. "It didn't win the game, but it got us in the game."

The Suns (6-12) will take the inspiration anywhere they can get it. They entered Friday's game hitting .230 as a team after failing Thursday in clutch situations, hitting balls right at Lexington defenders six times in scoring situations.

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It was different, and welcomed, on Friday. Hagerstown scored five of its seven runs after two outs.

"(Thursday's rally) probably didn't have any effect on anything today," Hagerstown manager Mike Ramsey said. "It was good to see us get some early opportunities and get something. It was great. We didn't let anybody off the hook today."

Hagerstown provided starter Juan Serrato a 6-1 lead, but it was the right-hander who made sure it stayed intact in the pivotal sixth inning.

Serrato (2-0) was nearing the end of his outing and nearly hastened it by allowing a leadoff single to Edwin Maysonet and walks to Saul Torres and Beau Hearod to load the bases.

"He was one hitter away from coming out," Ramsey said.

After a visit from pitching coach Maximino Leon, Serrato got an infield popout and two strikeouts to preserve the five-run lead.

"That was amazing," Ramsey said. "He did some good pitching and threw some sharp breaking pitches and got them to chase a couple. He pitched his tail off and turned it around in a hurry."

Lexington touched Serrato for a run in the first as Josh Anderson led off with a walk before eventually scoring on Torres' double.

The Suns sent 11 batters to the plate in the second to rough up Lexington starter Mitch Talbot.

Mike Wagner walked before Jay Knowlton and Jesse Schmidt singled to load the bases. Travis Ishikawa singled off the top of the center-field wall to tie the game as the runners held their bases to see if the fly would be caught. Dayton Buller grounded into a double play for the second run.

After Tim Hutting was hit by a pitch, Coutlangus doubled to left. He scored on Schierholtz's double after A.J. Labarbera singled to keep the rally going.

"We have been struggling, but we have been keeping the same hitting philosophy," Schierholtz said. "Now the hits are starting to fall."

Schierholtz added an RBI double in the seventh. Lexington picked up two runs in the ninth off reliever Christopher George.

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