BlueClaws grill Suns in opener

July 02, 2006|by BOB PARASILITI

The first game of Saturday's doubleheader was no picnic for the Hagerstown Suns.

Like an overcooked burger off the grill, the 9-5 loss to Lakewood in the first game was tough to swallow, no matter what the Suns did to make it more palatable.

Hagerstown couldn't muster enough offense to overcome the BlueClaws' first-inning rally, which forced the Suns to play catch-up, a style of play they didn't relish.

Lakewood feasted on Suns starter Bobby Parnell for five runs in the first - four scoring on Avelino Asprilla's grand slam - and scored in each of the first three innings to coast to the victory.


"Parnell had a tough time out of the gate," Suns manager Frank Cacciatore said. "He left a pitch up for the grand slam and we ended up playing catch-up the rest of the night."

Things were a little better in the nightcap for Hagerstown. The Suns won 2-1 in eight innings on Leivi Ventura's RBI double.

Parnell (2-6) had trouble getting his pitches down in the first inning and Lakewood took advantage of the prime opportunities.

Greg Golson, Mike Spidale and Jeremy Slayden hit consecutive one-out singles to produce the BlueClaws' first run. After Clay Harris drew a walk to load the bases, Asprilla hit Parnell's first pitch - a letter-high fastball - over the center-field wall for the grand slam and the 5-0 lead.

"Parnell didn't have a good day with his location," Cacciatore said. "He got a first-pitch fastball up to a fastball hitter. He's got good stuff, but no one can be successful with their pitches out of the zone."

Parnell continued to have problems, allowing a run on Spidale's RBI single in the second for a 6-0 lead.

And that was the way the George Washington bobblehead - the Suns' giveaway for the night - bounced, even though Hagerstown almost erased all the deficit in the bottom of the second inning.

In the second, the Suns (30-48, 2-6) started to get to Lakewood starter Carlos Carrasco, who became tentative after hitting Hagerstown's Leivi Ventura in the helmet with a pitch.

Hagerstown loaded the bases with one out and looked to have sputtered out when Matt Vogl grounded to third baseman Welinson Baez for a possible double play. Baez came home with the throw for a force at the plate, but catcher Aaron Cheesman mishandled the throw, allowing Ventura and Drew Butera to score. Jose Castro followed with a single to right to reduce the deficit to 6-3.

After Hector Pellot was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Jonel Pacheco fouled out and Nick Evans grounded to third to strand the tying and go-ahead runs.

Baez's two-run homer to right in the third gave Lakewood an 8-3 lead.

"It's unfortunate," Cacciatore said. "I would have bet the house that this was going to be a one-run game with Parnell and Carrasco pitching and we get a 9-5 game. We had Carrasco on the ropes early, and if we could have come through, we might have got to their bullpen and made it a different game."

Lakewood added a run off Suns reliever Eric Domangue in the seventh on a bases-loaded fielder's choice grounder by Fidel Hernandez. Domangue went four innings, allowing only the one run on two hits, while striking out two.

The Suns rallied for two runs in the seventh on a two-run single by Butera before Carrasco (6-4) finished his complete-game win.

In the nightcap, the Suns took a 1-0 lead in the fourth when Evans doubled and scored on Matt Anderson's two-out single.

Lakewood tied the score in the fifth off Suns starter Eric Brown on Baez's RBI single.

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