Suns rewrite Legends' story

June 15, 2005

LEXINGTON, Ky. - In what came down to a do-or-die situation, the Hagerstown Suns did instead of died.

Hagerstown put itself back in the middle of the South Atlantic League North Division's first-half race Tuesday by knocking off Troy Patton - the league's top pitcher - and posting an 8-2 win over Lexington.

The victory put the Suns back within one game of Lexington with four games remaining in the half. Hagerstown was on the verge of being eliminated after Sunday's 5-0 two-hit loss, but won their last two games to stay in the hunt.

Hagerstown (39-27) is off today but closes the half with a four-game home series with last-place West Virginia. Lexington travels to play third-place Lake County, which trails the Legends by two games.


Grant Psomas provided the chink in Patton's armor, giving Hagerstown starter Gabriel Hernandez a quick lead to work with in the first inning.

Psomas, who missed Monday's game with the flu, hit a leadoff home run in the second to give the Suns the 1-0 lead. It ended a streak of 32 scoreless innings, dating back to May 11 for Patton, who entered the game with a 0.98 ERA.

Hernandez (4-1) controlled Lexington's offense, which was playing without SAL home run leader Hunter Pence. Pence was placed on the disabled list Tuesday after pulling a leg muscle Monday.

Hernandez gave his longest performance of the season, going 6 1/3 innings while allowing two runs on seven hits and striking out seven. He left with two on and one out in the seventh, giving way to Michael Devaney. Devaney finished the last 2 2/3 innings with two-hit pitching to seal the win.

Lexington tied the game in the second on Lou Santangelo's RBI single before the Suns took control of the game.

Hagerstown scored six runs in the middle innings and chased Patton after 4 1/3 innings. The Suns used an all right-hand hitting lineup against the left-hander, who struck out 12 Hagerstown batters in a shutout victory on May 21.

Patton was roughed up for six runs on eight hits before leaving.

The Suns got two runs in the fourth by loading the bases with none out. Jesus Flores hit a soft single to right- center for one run and Derran Watts grounded into a fielder's choice at third to give Hagerstown a 3-1 lead.

The Suns added three runs in the fifth on a two-run double by Carlos Gomez that put Patton out of the game. Psomas greeted reliever Garrett Murdy with a grounder to second to score Gomez for a 6-1 lead.

Lexington countered with a run in the fifth before the Suns iced the game with Ryan Coultas' RBI double in the sixth and Jim Burt's solo home run in the eighth.

The Suns finished with 11 hits with Dante Brinkley, Gomez, Coultas and Burt collecting two each. Psomas and Gomez each drove in two runs.

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