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Evans is a friend with connections

June 09, 2006|by BOB PARASILITI

Nick Evans is a true believer in the Buddy System.

After all, baseball is more fun when you play with your friends. Evans doesn't mind sharing - he'll hit and his teammates can run all they want.

That was pretty much the case in the nightcap of Thursday's doubleheader with West Virginia. The Hagerstown Suns got on base and Evans drove them in for three RBI in a 6-4 victory that completed a sweep of the Power.

The Suns won the opener 1-0 in the completion of April 21's suspended game.

For Evans, a new-look Hagerstown lineup became a veritable buffet of opportunity for the Suns' cleanup hitter. The first baseman had three hits, including a two-run home run and a disputed RBI double, in one of his best games of the season.

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"I have to give my teammates credit for that," Evans said. "You can't get RBIs without runners on base. Every time I came up, I had the chance to drive in runs. As a cleanup hitter, you can't ask for more than that."

Evans may not, but the Suns sure are asking for more games like this one.

The Suns' look changed dramatically with center fielder Fernando Martinez returning from a month-long absence with a thumb injury. Martinez reassumed his spot as leadoff hitter and dropped Joe Holden into the No. 2 slot. Leivi Ventura was elevated from the fifth to the third slot, all in front of Evans.

Evans had the chance to hit with six runners on base in the first three of his four at-bats in the seven-inning game.

The left-handed batter launched his home run in the first to lift Hagerstown and starter Deolis Guerra (1-3) to a 3-0 lead. In the third, he hit a shot that bounced off the top of the center-field wall, glanced the light pole outside the stadium and returned to the field of play. Instead of a second homer - which would have been a three-run shot - Evans brought home a run with a double for the 4-1 lead.

"I'm starting to see the ball and I'm getting into a groove," Evans said. "I'm able to mix in some hits, which is good, especially when I'm getting them at home."

Guerra, a 17-year-old pitcher, baffled West Virginia, which entered the day as the top hitting team in the South Atlantic League. The Power managed a run on four hits in his five innings.

The Power scored in the second when Ned Yost led off with a double and eventually scored on a wild pitch to cut the deficit to 3-1 before Evans' double.

The Suns added insurance runs in the fifth on Jonathan Schemmel's RBI single and when Evans reached on a two-out single, took second on a wild pitch and scored from second on Jonathan Sanchez's infield single.

The Suns needed the entire cushion as Josh Appell loaded the bases in the seventh before giving way to German Marte. Marte allowed a three-run double to pinch hitter Angel Salome before nailing down the save.

In the opener, Eric Brown nailed down what may be the longest complete-game victory of all time. Brown (3-2) started the game on April 21 before it was suspended and finished it with five innings of work on Tuesday.

He shut out the Power on four hits while striking out six.

Hagerstown got the only run it needed in the fourth on doubles by Sanchez and Ventura.

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