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Pitching gets Suns a victory

July 17, 2004|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

For the last week, all Hagerstown manager Mike Ramsey has been forced to talk about is Suns' pitching.

The trend continued on Friday ... only this time, he wanted to talk about it.

Mike Musgrave and Jesse English combined to give Hagerstown something it needed - a solid pitching outing that gave up less than 10 runs - as the Suns handcuffed Lexington for a 5-3 victory.

"Pitching is so huge," Ramsey said. "Musgrave was teetering on being pulled early and that was not what we needed. We needed him to go five innings or more. But he got it under control and gave us what we needed. And Floyd was a breath of fresh air. He gave us four good innings in relief and it was huge."

The win allowed the Suns (8-13, 36-52) to break a five-game losing streak during which the pitching staff had allowed 50 runs. Musgrave staggered out of the gate, allowing Ervin Alcantara's third home run - this one a two-run shot - and 12th RBI of the three-game series, before settling down.

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Lexington jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third on Edwin Maysonet's leadoff double and a pair of groundouts before Musgrave and the Suns began to make their stand. Musgrave only allowed two first-half walks and then the Hagerstown offense found a remedy for Lexington starter Derick Grigsby.

Hagerstown began its comeback on Pat Dobson's two-run home run in the third to cut the deficit to 3-2. Then the Suns gave Musgrave a fitting sendoff for his five innings of quality work by scoring two in the fifth as Travis Ishikawa kept a cool head while everything around him seemed to be in chaos.

Derek Barrows and Brian Munhall led off the inning with singles to set the stage for a rally. After the first out, Grigsby fired a pitch behind Dobson's head, just after the Suns' hitter called time as Grigsby was delivering the pitch before.

Tempers flaired and the teams started to charge the field, but the umpires cut off any altercations. Catcher German Melendez was charged with a passed ball on Grigsby's next pitch, allowing the runners to move up.

Ishikawa stepped above the madness and delivered a two-run single to left-center field to give Hagerstown a 4-3 lead.

"I forgot about (the incident) when I went up there," Ishikawa said. "I was trying to see a ball up in the zone and get a good swing on it and hoped the ball would find a hole."

Ishikawa's clutch hit in a clutch situation continued his offensive turnaround.

"That was a huge hit," Ramsey said. "It has been a pleasure to sit in and watch him turn it all around. That as a key hit - a two-run, two-out hit."

Floyd entered the game in the sixth and gave the Suns something it sorely needed but have missed in recent outings - a scoreless inning after completing a rally. He issued a walk, but stuck out the side to set a tone.

Hagerstown picked up an insurance run as Munhall reached on his third single of the game and worked around the bases on an errant pickoff throw, a groundout and a passed ball for the two-run advantage.

Floyd got his second save by striking out six while allowing two hits in four scoreless innings, securing the win for Musgrave (1-3) who was making his third start of the season after starting in the bullpen.

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