Suns fail to put the clamp on BlueClaws' big inning

July 01, 2006|by BOB PARASILITI

It was Hagerstown life as we know it on Friday at Municipal Stadium.

When it rains, it pours. When it pours, it floods.

The Hagerstown Suns fit right into the week's events, as it rained, poured and flooded all in the fifth inning before they could put up a dam as Lakewood sent 11 hitters to the plate and scored seven times for a 7-4 victory before 3,819 fans.

Each of the first 10 hitters in the inning reached base in some fashion as Suns starter Jeff Landing was swept up by the undertow - some of it his own doing with three walks, the rest aided by a missed double play.

"We had our chances," Suns manager Frank Cacciatore said. "I mean obviously Landing could stop the damage, but he got the ground ball and we couldn't turn the double play. And by not getting the double play, it cost us three more runs."


The inning became as futile as yelling at the rain, especially after Landing (4-10) had cruised through the first four innings.

But the fifth opened in ominous fashion. Landing issued a leadoff walk to Aaron Cheesman to prime the pump.

After Welinson Baez doubled, Fidel Hernandez hit an RBI single to right and Julian Williams doubled down the line in left to give the BlueClaws a 2-1 lead. Greg Golson singled to center to score Hernandez and move Williams to third.

The Suns got the first out when catcher Drew Butera gunned down Golson on a steal attempt, but Landing followed by loading the bases in eight pitches with walks to Mike Spidale and John Urick. Landing got Clay Harris to ground to third, with Leivi Ventura making the play and going to second for a forceout.

Hector Pellot took the throw from Ventura and made the turn as Williams scored, but threw the ball away for an error to allow Spidale to come in with the fifth run.

"When the ball was hit to Ventura, he had three options," Cacciatore said. "He took the best by going to second. We didn't turn (the double play). Those are the things we have been doing ... getting the double plays. Getting it there could have turned the inning around. We have to have the composure in the inning to stop it."

Avelino Asprilla followed with an infield single off Ventura's chest before Cheesman came up for a second time and chased Landing with a two-run double to right center. Brandon Nall came on and got Baez to pop up to end the inning.

"Still, the inning started with a walk and it was in a one-run ball game. In a situation like that, you have to go after it. When you give up leadoff walks, they come back to haunt you. It's not just against us, it's just a fact of life. I can live with guys hitting doubles, but you have to contain the inning. Walks can't happen. You have to be able to throw the ball in the zone."

The Suns (30-47, 2-5) tried to come back. Will Vogl hit a two-run home run in the fifth - his second in three games with Hagerstown - and Matt Anderson hit a leadoff shot off Lakewood starter Max De La Cruz in the seventh to bring the Suns within three runs.

The Suns took a 1-0 lead in the third when Jesus Gamero was hit by a pitch, moved to third on Vogl's single and scored when Jose Castro hit into a double play.

Nall closed out the game for the Suns, pitching the final 4 1/3 innings without allowing a hit, walking two and striking out two.

"I was pleased with the way Nall stopped the game," Cacciatore said. "He put it in suspended animation for us. It's just a shame we couldn't contain the game. I've been in this game all my life, both playing and as a coach, and it never ceases to amaze me that when you get behind, you start getting hurt. You have to stay aggressive."

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