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Wyrick gives Suns a spark

August 16, 2005|By BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

Josh Wyrick didn't take long to fit into the Hagerstown Suns' way of thinking.

No sooner did the newly acquired Wyrick hit town, he jumped head-first into the team's style of play to get a much-needed victory.

Wyrick quickly hustled the Suns ? but not as quickly as manager Gene Richards would have liked ? into the winning run on Monday, scoring on Matt Fisher's ninth-inning sacrifice fly for a 4-3 win over the Hickory Crawdads.

"He produced," Richards said. "He came in here ready and he came through for us."

Wyrick, who was added to the Suns' roster for insurance in the outfield, led off the ninth by slapping a double down the left-field line off Hickory closer Felipe Garcia (4-3). With Farmer at the plate, Wyrick drew a pickoff throw from catcher Neil Walker that bounced short and off second baseman Dan Schwartzbauer's glove into short left field.

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Wyrick gathered himself and beat the throw to third base.

"That wasn't a gutsy play to me. That's what he had to do," Richards said. 'The thing I question was that he didn't hustle enough. With his speed, and what I saw during spring training, that play shouldn't have been that close."

Close or not, it put Wyrick in position to score the winning run on Farmer's drive to center fielder Pedro Powell.

The victory was a positive kickoff to the Suns' longest homestand of the season. The win moved the struggling Suns to 15-30 (57-58 overall) in the second half, but a distant 14 games behind Delmarva in the South Atlantic League North Division's race.

The walk-off run made a winner of Jason Weinraub (1-0), Hagerstown's third pitcher. Blake Eager returned from the disabled list to start for three scoreless innings on a tight pitch count.

The Suns got the 1-0 lead in the third when Fisher drew a leadoff walk off starter Yoann Torrealba and moved to second on Joe Mihalics' sacrifice bunt. Corey Coles drove in the run with a double to left.

Torrealba worked into the sixth inning for the 11th straight game for Hickory.

Hickory answered back with all three of its runs in the fourth off Jose Sanchez, who was working on a piggyback start with Eager.

Mike Carlin greeted Sanchez with a double down the right-field line before scoring on Mike Cockrell's single to center. One out later, Antonio Sucre hit a drive to right for his ninth home run of the season and the 3-1 lead.

"(Sanchez) continues to struggle in his first inning," Richards said. "We had addressed it and he got better, but it looks like we will have to address it again."

Hagerstown got to Torrealba in the seventh when Jesus Flores singled, Russ Triplett legged out a bunt single and Wyrick singled to load the bases. Fisher grounded into a fielder's choice to score Flores and then went into second with a hard slide to prevent a double play on Mihalic's grounder to allow the tying run to score.

It set the stage for Wyrick for a much-needed win for the Suns.

"Right now, any win is a good sign," Richards said. "We haven't played very well ... to be honest, we have played bad baseball. There are no excuses. We are professionals and we have to play at a certain level and we have not been playing at that level."

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