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Suns think they can, but didn't

July 10, 2006|by BOB PARASILITI

The Hagerstown Suns were left for dead on Sunday.

The funny thing was they are the only suspects in their own demise ... and it wasn't for something the Suns did, rather for something they couldn't accomplish.

Hagerstown was executed by its own lack of execution. The Suns didn't take charge or supply a charge when necessary while Lakewood came up with all the voltage it needed with 13 hits - seven for extra bases - in an 8-5 victory at Municipal Stadium.

"On both sides of the ball, we just didn't execute," Suns manager Frank Cacciatore said. "We had our chances to put big numbers up on the board but didn't."

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The Suns lost their third straight game to a Lakewood lefthander, this time Josh Outman, who struggled at the onset but found a rhythm to hold down Hagerstown for five innings while the BlueClaws built a 5-2 lead.

It might not have happened if the Suns had been able to rub out Outman when they had their chances in the first.

With Hagerstown trailing 1-0, Jose Castro led off the bottom of the first with a double to left. Will Vogl and Jonel Pacheco stood their ground while Outman was in the middle of an overthrowing fit to draw walks and load the bases.

Nick Evans worked the count to 3-2 before lacing a two-run double to right to give the Suns the lead. Then, with runners on second and third and none out, Leivi Ventura and Rafael Arroyo each struck out and Matt Anderson grounded out to end the rally.

It was a 2-1 lead that could have been bigger and more damaging to Outman and the BlueClaws.

"We had a chance for a crooked number and didn't hit the ball," Cacciatore said. "We didn't need hits there. We just needed to move the ball and we got strikeout, strikeout. We keep telling them that there is a chance for momentum in every game and it might come in the first inning."

A bigger rally could have changed the complexion of the game. But instead, Outman righted himself and retired 11 of the next 12 Suns he faced. Vogl got a single off of the lefty in the third, but was erased on a double play.

"The first inning wouldn't have won the game, but it would have been a big momentum boost," Cacciatore said. "(Outman) struggled, but they got out with the feeling that they had won the inning even though they were behind, 2-1. They got out of there with minimal damage."

Hagerstown starter Ryan Meyers struggled, but kept the Suns close during his five-inning stint. He allowed an unearned run in the first and a two-run homer to Julian Williams in the third before being victimized by an odd weather delay in the fifth.

After recording two outs, Meyers allowed Avelino Asprilla to double down the left-field line during a rain storm while the sun was shining. A lightning flash forced the umpires to have the teams leave the field, but the tarp was never pulled.

The game resumed after a 15-minute delay and Meyers' first pitch turned into an RBI triple to right by Mike Spidale - one of his five hits and two RBI in the game - for the 4-1 lead.

The BlueClaws blew the game open in the sixth off reliever Waner Mateo, who allowed four runs in one-third of an inning, highlighted by Lou Marson's one-out solo homer. Mateo was lifted for Brandon Nall, who stopped the rally after being called for a balk and allowing an RBI single as Lakewood built an 8-2 lead.

"The big inning was the sixth," Cacciatore said. "Mateo came in and gave up four runs. Nall came in and started to get a hold on the inning with a strikeout but then gave up the single. We had our chances in the sixth to come back and didn't come through."

Outman walked Vogl, Pacheco and Evans to open the sixth before giving way to Ronald Hill. Hagerstown only managed an RBI grounder by Ventura in the prime situation to cut the lead to 8-3.

Hagerstown got runs in the seventh and eighth. Ventura hit a bases-loaded infield single with two outs in the seventh and Vogl had an RBI single in the eighth to close the scoring.

"I keep saying it, but we went down battling," Cacciatore said. "We got to the people we needed to in the situations - Nall on the mound and Evans, Ventura and Arroyo at the plate. We got what we needed, but we didn't execute to make things happen."

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