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Erbe gets best of Suns once again

June 30, 2006|by TIM KOELBLE

Hagerstown won't see the Delmarva Shorebirds again until late August, and it will be just fine with the Suns if Brandon Erbe is missing.

One of the top prospects in the Baltimore Orioles' organization, Erbe mowed down the Suns for the third time this season as the Shorebirds scored early and often on the way to an 8-3 victory at Municipal Stadium on Thursday night.

"We were very fortunate to get to (Erbe) last week," said Suns manager Frank Cacciatore of a game in which Hagerstown (30-46, 2-4) knocked out Erbe in 3 2/3 innings.

However, Erbe (5-5) still owns the Suns. In five sterling innings, he allowed one hit and struck out seven.

It's the second time he has held Hagerstown to one hit over five innings. In his other victory, he allowed three hits in five scoreless innings.

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"It's a real plus for a pitcher to have a plus-fastball in the mid-90s and then he backs it up with the slider like he had tonight," said Cacciatore. "He had both pitches working low in the zone."

Suns starter Ryan Meyers (1-8) would like to have had some of his pitches down in the zone, especially when he got ahead in the count.

Meyers did a good job locating first-pitch strikes and getting to 0-2 counts, but found himself allowing Delmarva batters to see plenty of additional pitches as he could not get his breaking ball down.

"(Meyers) got ahead, but when you don't get the ball down, the batter sees a lot of pitches and that's what happened to Ryan," said Cacciatore.

Delmarva, after being one-hit by Suns pitching on Wednesday, held an early batting practice Thursday and it paid off with a pair of runs in the opening inning on a two-run double by Arturo Rivas that was smacked off the upper half of the advertising signs in center field.

Ryan Finan highlighted a two-run third inning with a solo home run, then put the Suns in a deep hole in the fourth.

With one run already home on a force play that scored Ryan Steinbach to make it 5-0, Cacciatore made the move to the bullpen and brought in Waner Mateo.

Finan promptly launched a Mateo offering, clearing the wall in right field for three more runs. It's Finan's fourth homer of the year against Hagerstown.

The Suns wouldn't go away silently.

Nick Evans doubled and Leivi Ventura singled him in for a run in the seventh inning. In the eighth, Matt Anderson doubled, Parris Austin walked and Anderson scored on a single by Jose Castro. Rafael Arroyo doubled to drive in Austin.

After a walk to Jonel Pecheco, Delmarva switched to hard-throwing Manny Basilio, who quelled the one-out rally by retiring Evans and Ventura.

"I liked the way we banged away," said Cacciatore. "The kids kept on playing."

Hagerstown opens a homestand tonight against Lakewood, the second of three straight weekend series against the BlueClaws.

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