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Fransz pumps up Shorebirds

July 27, 2005

SALISBURY, Md. - The Hagerstown Suns witnessed the Tour de Fransz on Tuesday.

Instead of Lance Armstrong circling the country on a bike for his seventh victory, Delmarva's Jason Fransz sent seven runs around the bases for the Shorebirds.

Fransz hit three home runs, including a solo shot to lead off the 11th inning, for seven RBI to lift Delmarva to a mistake-filled 8-7 victory over the reeling Suns.

Jose Gomez (1-4) came on in the 11th and surrendered the home run to the first batter he faced for his third loss in extra innings in eight games.

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Fransz, who has 15 home runs and 70 RBI for the season, hit a three-run shot in the third off Suns starter Blake Eager to tie the game at 3-3 and added a second three-run blast in the eighth off Bo Bowman to stake the Shorebirds to a 7-6 lead.

But Delmarva's defense and leaky field play allowed the Suns (53-47, 11-19) to tie the game in the ninth to force extra innings.

The other side of the ninth has been the twilight zone for the Suns, who has lost eight of 13 extra-inning games.

Hagerstown tied the game in the ninth when Ryan Coultas reached second on a one-out fielding error by Delmarva second baseman Gary Cates. Coultas took third on a passed ball and scored on pinch-hitter Corey Coles single to pitcher Justin Henington to make the score 7-7 after regulation.

Delmarva committed four errors, hit two batters, had two passed balls and walked four to help keep Hagerstown in the game.

The Suns got to Delmarva starter Joe Coppinger for three runs in the first two innings. They got two in the first when Derran Watts reached on a two-run error by Cates. Hagerstown got a 3-0 lead in the second on a single by Armand Gaerlan, who rejoined the Suns on Tuesday.

Delmarva sent 10 batters to the plate in scoring four runs in the third to take the lead while chasing Eager. Joe Serfass came on to close down the Shorebirds en route a scoreless 4 2/3 innings of work.

Coultas doubled and scored on a wild pitch in the fourth. The Suns got their other two runs in the eighth on an Ambiorix Concepcion sacrifice fly and a wild pitch.

Gaerlan led the Suns with three of their 10 hits while Watts and Gomez added two each. The Suns stranded 12 runners, all in eight of the first nine innings.

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