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Too much of a good thing still good for Suns

July 08, 2005|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

Things haven't been going well for the Hagerstown Suns lately.

So, they couldn't get enough of a good thing ... and there was more than enough to go around.

The Suns not only beat West Virginia on Thursday, they beat the clock, the weather and even their own deficiencies.

Mike Devaney pitched a complete-game two-hitter and Carlos Gomez led the charge by going 3-for-3 - including a home run - and driving in three runs to help Hagerstown break a six-game losing streak with a 7-1 victory over the Power.

The game was halted after 6 1/2 innings by rain and long before the Suns could self-inflict any unwarranted pain with costly miscues.

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"We needed something. ... We haven't been bringing home too many wins lately," said Suns manager Gene Richards. "We hit well, didn't make any errors and got done before we made any mistakes."

It was a good formula for victory, especially for a Suns team which seems like it forgot how to win after taking the South Atlantic League North Division's first-half title.

The Suns (45-36) entered the game in last place with a 3-10 second-half record, including just two wins in the last 10 games, while committing 12 errors and producing a 6.85 ERA in the last eight games.

It all seemed to come to pass in the form of a first-inning band-aid to turn things around at least for one day.

Devaney (5-1) set the tone by striking out Alcides Escobar and Hernan Irabarren to open the game en route to setting down 11 of the first 13 West Virginia hitters. Hasan Rasheed got a two-out single to right in the fourth to end the no-hit bid.

"(Devaney) gave us a big lift," Richards said. "For him to go out there and do that saved us. We aren't in any danger, but he gave us a big lift."

The Suns' offense provided immediate support with two runs in the first, started by Gomez and finished off with Grant Psomas' 16th home run for a 2-0 lead against left-handed starter Greg Kloosterman (3-12).

Hagerstown continued to pull away in the steady rain as Gomez, who grounded a single to left, was caught leaning off first on a Kloosterman pickoff, but stole second and took third when first baseman Grant Richardson's throw went into left field as the prelude to the home run.

Gomez led off the third with a home run to right center and added a two-run single in the Suns' three-run fourth to chase Kloosterman with a 6-0 lead. Ryan Coultas led off the inning with a double before Ryan Triplett's run-scoring single and Corey Coles' hit.

"We had a lot of sparkplugs today," Richards said. "Gomez was one and so was (Ambiorix) Concepcion. Gomez is always moving so he always looks exciting because he's being so aggressive."

The Suns added a run in the seventh when Derran Watts led off the fifth with a double against Justin Barnes and scored on Jim Burt's single to center for a 7-0 lead.

The Power ruined Devaney's shutout in the seventh as Richardson led off with a double, took third on Rasheed's grounder to first and scored on Josh Brady's sacrifice fly to left.

After the Power's inning, the umpires halted the game as the Municipal Stadium field grew soggy. The game was made official because 6 1/2 innings were completed.

Even though it was a short game, it was a fulfilling one for Hagerstown.

"For awhile, it would seem like one thing would hurt us every night," Richards said. "One night, our hitting wouldn't hold up. One night, our pitching wouldn't hold up. And one night, our defense wouldn't hold up. It was good to get the 6 1/2 innings in with nothing like that happening."

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