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Triplett's triple turns tables on Hickory

August 17, 2005|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

Russ Triplett rocked.

Michael Devaney rolled.

And the Hagerstown Suns got themselves a rare encore.

It was everything short of burning lighters in the stands as Triplett's clutch RBI triple in the fourth inning gave Devaney and Hagerstown's bullpen all it needed Tuesday for a 1-0 victory over Hickory for a second consecutive win for the Suns.

Devaney locked into a pitchers' duel with Hickory's Romulo Santana in game where each got into a flow. Devaney cruised along while Santana hit the one bump in the road that cost him the game.

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"The game was going so quickly," Devaney said. "All of a sudden, it was in the fifth inning and it was 1-0. I was throwing a lot of two-seams and getting a lot of early swings. It was good to get going and get into the dugout.

"(Monday), half of their lineup swung at the first pitch. They go up there aggressively. I tried to take advantage of it. I got away with a couple of pitches, but that's the way it goes."

Devaney (7-4) handcuffed the Crawdads on two hits over six innings while walking one and striking out two. Rafael Cova came on to throw two creditable innings to set it up for Marcelo Perez to notch his 10th save in the ninth.

"I thought all our pitchers did well," said Suns manager Gene Richards. "You like to see a win like that. We are in last place, but I hope the players can see that we can be the spoilers for everyone else and relax."

The Suns (16-30, 58-58) gave Devaney a chance to relax with the run in the fifth, although it came in an unconventional way.

Ambiorix Concepcion was hit by a pitch to start the inning before stealing second and being thrown out at third while Jim Burt was drawing a walk.

With two outs, Triplett caught Hickory's Anthony Bocchino playing short and drove a shot to the fence in left center to drive in the run while legging out the triple.

"In this park, left center field plays so deep, you have to give something up," Triplett said. "I saw it from the beginning. That's the way (Richards) wants us to be - if you have a single, think double and if you have a double, think triple."

Richards said he saw Bocchino move in when Triplett came up, hoping for a play at the plate in case of a single.

"As soon as the ball was hit, everyone knew it was over his head," Richards said. "It was a play where the ball was in front of him. I was determined to get him over to third. That was where he was supposed to be."

But Triplett had no intentions of taking advantage of the situation.

"When you go up there with two outs and a runner in scoring position, you are just trying to get hits," he said. "Those are the hits that win games."

Cova relieved Devaney in the seventh and nearly gave the lead away. He opened by hitting Mike Carlin with a pitch and advanced him on a wild pitch before Antonio Sucre's single moved him to third. But Cova struck out Mike Hofius and got Dan Schwartzbauer to fly to right to end the threat.

"Cova did well and I hope he does it again," Richards said. "You know his history as well as I do. Usually when he starts like that, things begin to happen. For some reason, he was able to settle down."

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