Hernandez, Suns seek title against Legends

June 25, 2005

Neither the Hagerstown Suns nor the Lexington Legends are likely to have it easy at Municipal Stadium this evening when they play for the South Atlantic League first-half championship and an automatic berth in the SAL playoffs.

The game will feature a duel between two of the best pitchers in the league - Hagerstown's Gabriel Hernandez and Lexington's Troy Patton.

Patton (5-1), a hard-throwing left-hander, leads the league in ERA (1.45) and strikeouts (89).

Hernandez (5-1), who pitched a no-hitter in a 1-0 victory over West Virginia in his last outing, is fourth in strikeouts (81) and seventh in ERA (2.32).

Patton is 1-1 in three starts against the Suns this season. In his last start against Hagerstown, he was bested by Hernandez for his only loss of the year. The five runs Patton surrendered in that game are the only runs he's allowed in his last 41 innings pitched.


Hernandez is 4-0 at home this season with batters hitting just .138 against him, while Patton is 5-0 with a 0.94 ERA in seven road starts.

Hagerstown and Lexington finished the first half of the regular season with identical 42-28 records, creating the need for the one-game playoff. Each team is 6-6 against the other this year.

n In Lakewood, N.J., the Suns continued their downward trend at the start of the second half, committing three errors and falling behind 8-0 after seven innings in a lackluster 8-2 loss to the Lakewood BlueClaws, who took three of four games from Hagerstown in the series.

Wilson Batista hit his seventh home run of the season leading off the eighth inning to get the Suns (1-3) on the board. Chris Gomez later singled and scored on Dante Brinkley's double.

Doug Gredvig had three hits, and Brad Harman had two hits and drove in two runs as Lakewood (3-1) roughed up Suns starter Tim Worthington (2-1), who gave up four hits, four walks and three runs (all earned) in three innings.

The bullpen did not fare much better. Jose Gomez allowed two hits and two runs (both unearned) in two innings, while Kevin Mannix allowed three hits, three walks and three earned runs in three innings.

Lakewood starter Derek Griffith went 7 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits while striking out six. He was charged with both runs in the eighth.

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