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'Birds light up Hagerstown in late innings

May 27, 2006|by BOB PARASILITI

On a day built around fireworks, the Hagerstown Suns were burned by a flare.

Before the brightly colored explosions danced high over Municipal Stadium on Friday in a tribute to Memorial Day, it was a 10-foot high liner that barely made it out of the infield that turned the game into a bomb.

Hagerstown's bullpen was tagged for 10 runs in the final two innings, ignited by a three-run eighth, to lead first-place Delmarva to a 12-1 rout of the Suns.

It wasn't Lorenzo Scott's one-out home run to center off reliever Jim Wladyka for the 3-1 lead, nor Jonathan Tucker's triple down the right-field line that did in the Suns. It ended up being Mark Fleisher's soft single to right after an intentional walk to Ryan Finan that lit the fuse for the Shorebirds, who have won eight straight.

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"That flare they got ... that was the backbreaker," said Suns manager Frank Cacciatore. "We tried to set up the double play with a couple of guys who don't move real well and we couldn't get the ball on the ground."

And from there, the Suns couldn't put out the fire.

The short single crossed up Hagerstown's best of intentions and only put the Suns in detention.

Fleisher's single scored Tucker and moved Finan to third before Arturo Rivas grounded to short to score him for a 5-1 lead.

"In the eighth inning, we needed Wladyka to come in and shut them down, but they got a couple of hits," Cacciatore said.

After Delmarva used Wladyka for the opening salvo, it unloaded on Josh Appell in the ninth for the grand finale, closing barrage.

The patient Shorebirds waited for Appell's fastball and took advantage of it for a seven-run outburst. Delmarva made the most out of a 10-batter inning.

The floodgates opened after Quincy Ascencion drew a leadoff walk. Stu Musslewhite hit a grounder to third and elected to go to first. Ascencion went from first to third base on the play and scored on first baseman Nick Evans' errant throw to cut him down.

Tucker provided a two-run double and was the first run to score on Rivas' grand slam to right to finish off the pounding.

"In that last inning, we have other games down the line and not another day off for four days," Cacciatore said. "I just couldn't pull (Appell). It was a nice chance for Appell to work, but they saw his breaking stuff wasn't working and they just sat on his fastball."

The Suns attempted to take a 1-0 lead off Delmarva ace Brandon Erbe in the first. Jonathan Sanchez hit a one-out double followed by Leivi Ventura's single to short left. Cacciatore sent Sanchez, who didn't slide while being gunned out at the plate by Ascencion.

Delmarva got the 1-0 lead on Hagerstown starter Jeff Landing in the fifth when Rivas led off with a single to center, took second on Ascencion's bunt and third on a wild pitch before scoring on Mussleman's single.

Drew Butera tied the game in the sixth with a home run to left, but the Shorebirds took the lead in the seventh on Ascencion's RBI double.

"You have to give them credit," Cacciatore said. "I'm not making any excuses. The doubles and home runs they hit had something to do with it. We had a one-run game through seven innings and played a good defensive game and Landing pitched well. Take away the one mistake in the ninth and we were still in it."

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