Suns wake up swinging vs. Lakewood

June 02, 2005|by TIM KOELBLE

While the youths, representing most of the 3,234 in attendance Wednesday morning, were cavorting about Municipal Stadium and having a good time on Education Day, the Hagerstown Suns were quietly trying to waken from Tuesday's ugly loss to the Lakewood BlueClaws.

Down 2-0 and without a hit through four innings, the Suns successfully made some adjustments at the plate and bombarded the Blue Claws with a six-hit, six-run fifth inning that led them to a 7-3 victory to remain in first place in the South Atlantic League North Division.

"I was talking to them during the early part of the game about making adjustments," said manager Gene Richards. "We were popping up the ball (seven of their first 12 outs recorded were in the air), and suddenly we started to get good swings."


The good swings came against Lakewood lefty Derek Griffith, who still got three outs in the inning on fly balls, but not until the Suns (33-19) roped three singles and three extra base hits.

Ambiorix Concepcion led off with a single to left and scored when Jesus Flores rattled a double to the fence in center. One out later, Tyler Davidson singled to short left with Flores stopping at third.

Russ Triplett, making his Hagerstown debut at second base, hit a sharp liner wide of third baseman Sam Orr that nicked off Orr's glove to score Flores and tie the game at 2-2.

After a second out, Wilson Batista crushed a pitch off the scoreboard for a three-run dinger, his sixth, and 5-2 lead that quickly became 6-2 when Grant Psomas scorched a drive into the Suns' bullpen for his 11th homer of the year.

"We began to look for better pitches and it paid off," Richards said. "Today was definitely a different team from Tuesday." The Suns made five errors on the way to an 8-4 loss Tuesday.

The Suns might have been bolstered mentally by keeping Lakewood (17-36) off the board in the top of the fifth inning. Starter Jeff Landing ran into trouble with a walk and two hit batsmen before retiring the side.

In the sixth, Landing (5-3) allowed consecutive doubles and a run before Bo Bowman came in and settled things down as the Suns turned a nifty double play. Bowman pitched two shutout innings of relief, followed by two from Marcelo Perez, who picked up his fifth save.

"I was happy with (Landing) and his motivation," said Richards. "He was driven today and he pushed himself to get the job done. Bowman came in and held serve and Perez used his two-seam pitch and stayed with it."

Concepcion mustered the Suns' final run in the eighth inning as he singled, went to second as left fielder Chris Klemm briefly bobbled the baseball, stole third base and scored on a passed ball.

Triplett, who suffered a foot injury at the end of spring training, was thrilled to be back on the diamond.

"I was here for the first week but didn't play and then the x-rays found the broken bone, so it was a long six weeks getting back," Triplett said. "There's a lot of the season left to play and I'm glad to be here to be a part of it. This is baseball and I love what I do."

Notes: Outfielder Dante Brinkley, who suffered a foot injury Tuesday and was on crutches Wednesday, has yet to undergo an MRI but the early indication is there are no broken bones. His return is uncertain. ... Armand Gaerlan, who took Triplett's spot on the roster, was placed on the disabled list.

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