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Suns fall in 14

July 18, 2005|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

Errors on routine plays. Bonehead baserunning mistakes. Consecutive balks.

Willie Mays Bobblehead Day turned into Bobble The Game Away Day for the Hagerstown Suns.

Two walks and two balks by Suns reliever Jose Gomez helped West Virginia score three runs in the 14th inning, and the Power came away with a close but ugly 8-5 victory Sunday.

Marcelo Perez relieved Gomez and gave up Alcides Escobar's RBI single and Ryan Braun's two-run single.

The Suns and Power combined for five errors - all in the first three innings.

West Virginia took a 1-0 lead in the first on Hernan Iribarren's home run to right-center field against Suns starter Brandon Nall, who was making his first professional appearance.

The homer came one pitch after Nall, a submarine-style right-hander who signed with the New York Mets as a free agent out of LSU, threw what looked to be strike three on the outside corner, but was called a ball.

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The Power made it 3-0 in the second, through no fault of Nall's. The Suns turned two rather routine plays into errors, as shortstop Ryan Coultas booted William Lewis' leadoff grounder and Carlos Gomez dropped a fly ball to deep center.

However, the Suns rallied to tie the game at 3-3 in the third when West Virginia's defense went in the toilet. First baseman Grant Richardson dropped an easy throw which would have retired Corey Coles for the second out, third baseman Josh Murray got eaten up by a tough hop on Gomez's grounder, and catcher Carlos Corporan had a pitch squirt away from him to his right, then threw the ball away trying to throw out Coles at third, leading to a run.

Mike Carp made it hurt real good with a monstrous two-run homer onto the parking lot beyond the right-field wall.

The Power added runs in the fifth, when Braun doubled off Nall and later scored on Nall's wild pitch, and the eighth on Adam Mannon's solo homer off reliever Kevin Mannix, who was otherwise sharp in his 3 2/3 innings of relief, allowing two hits and striking out four.

The Suns scored a run in the seventh on singles by Carlos Gomez (on a bunt), Concepcion and Psomas, and added another in the eighth when Derran Watts blooped a single leading off, Russ Triplett walked, Coultas' sacrifice bunt moved both runners up a base and Coles grounded to short to score Watts.

Though the Suns' aggressiveness paid off in the third when it led to Corporan's throwing error, too much aggressiveness burned them twice. In the fifth, Carlos Gomez got caught too far off second on a line drive that was caught in left field, and in the seventh, Coles rounded second too far on Gomez's bunt single and got caught in a rundown.

Nall went 4 1/3 innings in his pro debut, allowing four hits, three walks and four runs (two earned) while striking out four. In a scary moment, Nall hit Hasan Rasheed in the head with a pitch in the fifth. Rasheed was able to walk off on his own power.

Nall hit two batters and threw three wild pitches.

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