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Triplett lives up to his name

July 17, 2005|by BOB PARASILITI

Sometimes, it's all in a name.

Use Hagerstown Suns infielder Russ Triplett, for example.

In a block of three games against Lake County this week, he wasn't only responsible for one victory.

He tripled it.

Triplett took advantage of three consecutive starts to triple the Suns' pleasure with wins against the Captains, a team which has been a problem for Hagerstown teams for the last three years.

"(Manager Gene Richards) tells us that everyone has to be ready to contribute whenever they play," Triplett said. "You have three at-bats, you have three chances to make a play."

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Triplett was a one-man triple threat.

On Monday, Triplett hit a game-winning home run.

On Tuesday, he stroked a three-run homer in the eighth to help the Suns come back from a four-run deficit for a 6-5 win.

Then on Thursday, Triplett made the most daring play of all, scoring on a diving slide into home plate on a wild pitch that rolled 15 feet to the right of Lake County catcher Wyatt Toregas. It came with two strikes and two outs in the eighth inning to give the Suns a 2-1 victory.

The stretch has been a tri-umph for Triplett.

"I struggled after I got back here a couple of weeks ago and had about as bad a game as I possibly could have had against Delmarva," Triplett said. "Now that I'm playing more, it's been easier."

Triplett is in a three-man infield rotation - sharing time with Yury Sanchez and Matt Farmer - and has to balance sitting and playing with patience. He was to start for the Suns at the beginning of the season, but was sidelined with a broken foot.

"When I first got back from the broken foot, it seemed like I was gone forever," Triplett said. "I just have to do what I have to do to help the team win."

That was obvious to Richards on Thursday.

"Usually, when you look at a box score, you look for hits," Richards said. "Sometimes guys go hitless but hit three line drives. Tonight, Triplett did a great job and nothing showed up in the box score."

For the record, Triplett's line was: Zero at-bats, one run scored, no hits and no RBI ... with three walks, of course.




Suns spots

The Suns are a combined 20-8 against West Virginia and Delmarva, but only 30-33 against the rest of the South Atlantic League.

The Suns are 15-19 in one-run games this season.

Carlos Gomez leads the Suns with 10 bunt singles. The Suns have 23 as a team.

The Suns bullpen has a 3.93 ERA, allowing 149 runs in 341 innings.

Suns among minor league leaders: Wins - Jose Sanchez, 11 (third); Hit by pitch - Mike Carp, 20 (first); Stolen bases - Gomez, 44 (second), Hit batsmen - Matt Miramontes, 19 (first).

Grant Psomas leads the Suns with 29 multihit games, including six three-hit games.

Jim Burt is hitting .306 on the road and .231 at Municipal Stadium.

Carp is 5-for-9 with 13 RBI with the bases loaded.

Ambiorix Concepcion has struggled this season, hitting .126 with runners in scoring position, including 0-for-5 with the bases loaded.

Ryan Coultas has been on a tear, going 40-for-100 in his last 29 games to raise his batting average 63 points from .237 to .300. He is hitting .432 in the last 13 games, with 19 hits, six doubles, two home runs and 11 RBI.

Pitcher Blake Eager has a 6-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He has 66 strikeouts and 10 walks.

The Suns bullpen has allowed 37 of 100 inherited runners to score. Inherited runners are those on base at the time of a pitching change.

Hagerstown pitchers have hit 85 batters in 91 games this season.

Suns starting pitchers were 3-0 with a 1.37 ERA in a seven-game stretch through Thursday. They have allowed nine runs (six earned) on 19 hits and 11 walks while striking out 29 in 37 innings.




Transactions

The Suns received two new pitchers on Thursday.

Jason Weintraub was promoted from Brooklyn of the New York-Penn League. The Mets' sixth-round pick in the 2001 draft comes to Hagerstown after pitching four games for the Cyclones with no record and a 4.70 ERA. He pitched 7 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and five walks with nine strikeouts.

Before this season, Weintraub spent his first three seasons with Kingsport (2001-02, '04) for a total of 21 games, going 3-8. He missed the 2003 season with an injury. Weintraub debuted for the Suns in Thursday's 2-1 win over Lake County, with 1 2/3 innings of hitless relief with a walk and a strikeout.

Brandon Nall joined the Suns after signing as a free agent out of Louisiana State.




The week ahead

The Suns continue to be Weekend Warriors at Municipal Stadium.

Today, the Suns finish another in a long line of two-game series, this one with West Virginia (Brewers) before following the Power back to Charleston for two games. After an off day, the Suns play two at Lake County, before bringing the Captains back with them for a pair of games next weekend.

Willie Mays bobblehead dolls will be given to the first 1,000 fans attending tonight's game, followed by the last of three anniversary cap giveaways on Saturday.

Bob Parasiliti covers the Hagerstown Suns for The Herald-Mail.

He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2310,

or by e-mail at bobp@herald-mail.com

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