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Suns stand ground to stay in race

June 14, 2005

LEXINGTON, Ky. - It was getting down to the point where the Hagerstown Suns needed to get physical if they wanted to win the South Atlantic League North Division's first-half title.

Finesse wasn't doing it. Neither was great team speed. Nope. The Suns needed to downright take a hit and hold their ground to keep any hopes alive.

Jesus Flores led the way on Monday.

The Hagerstown catcher withstood the aggressive slide of Bryan Triplett and held on to the ball in a collision at the plate to record the final out as the Suns took a wild 10-9 victory from Lexington to keep their slim title hopes alive.

The Suns (38-27) moved within two games of first-place Lexington with five games remaining in the first half. The Legends have a magic number of three - any combination of Lexington wins and Suns losses - to close out the title.

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The Suns fell behind 9-8 after seven innings before coming from behind for the victory. Ryan Coultas singled to left and advanced on a wild pitch before taking third on Wilson Batista's single. Lexington closer Jeffery Wigdahl uncorked a wild pitch to bring home Coultas with the tying run.

With two outs, Carlos Gomez reached on second baseman Clint McGill's throwing error, which allowed Batista to score.

Triplett was at second in the ninth with two outs when Ben Zobrist singled to left. Dante Brinkley delivered the throw to Flores, who stood his ground to make the tag and preserve the win for Kevin Mannix (1-3) and the two-inning save for Carlos Muniz.

It was another game the Suns tried to give away in the late innings. Hagerstown led 5-0 and 6-2 before Lexington used Mitch Einerson's grand slam and Louis Santangelo's following solo shot to build a six-run sixth inning to take a 8-6 lead.

Ambiorix Concepcion and Flores eached homered for the Suns.

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