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Suns kick sand in Shorebirds' faces

April 30, 2007|by JOHN O'BRIEN / Staff Correspondent

Not only are the Hagerstown Suns learning how to play in close games in the late innings, they appear to be enjoying it.

The Suns scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth to break a 5-5 tie, leading to Sunday's 8-5 win over Delmarva to sweep the weekend series.

And with that, the Shorebirds displaced the Suns in last place of the South Atlantic League Northern Division standings.

Hagerstown (9-14) lost four in a row before claiming wins with walk-off home runs in the first two games of the series. The Suns again struck late for the victory Sunday.

"I felt like we had a lot of games that were tough losses along the way," said Hagerstown manager Tommy Herr. "It's nice to find a way to win. Up to this point, those had been games we lost.

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"It's always fun to win. It's important for these guys to learn to win and to like winning, and they're getting a good taste of it now."

It was a taste provided largely by left fielder Francisco Guzman.

The No. 9 hitter grounded a bases-loaded single past shortstop Pedro Floriman in the eighth to score Joe Napoli and Marcos Cabral, who both led off the inning with four-pitch walks from Bruce Galloway (1-2). A Floriman error on a potential double-play ball by Erick San Pedro loaded the bases for Guzman.

Alexis Nunez, who hit an 11th-inning home run on Friday, followed with a single off Floriman's glove to score San Pedro.

"(Guzman's) was a big hit and Nunez followed with a big hit for another run," Herr said. "Those are the things you got to do. When we got three there in the eighth, we felt pretty good, but we did cough up a three-run lead in the opening game of the series."

Matt Perks pitched the ninth for his first save.

Gene Yost (1-1) pitched the eighth for the win, though he gave up Chris Vinyard's two-run home run to tie the game at 5. Brandon Tripp, who entered the game as the SAL's leading hitter and RBI man, reached ahead of him on Napoli's second error of the game at first base.

Hagerstown started the scoring with three runs in the third inning on Stephen King's RBI single, Mike Daniel's run-scoring double and Chris Marrero's sacrifice fly.

Delmarva (8-14) answered with one in the fourth on Miguel Abreu's single to score Tripp. Hagerstown extended its lead to 4-1 in the bottom of the inning when Cabral blasted an opposite-field home run over the right-field fence.

Vinyard's mammoth solo shot to center in the sixth made it 4-2. Dan Figueroa doubled and scored on Robert Andrews' sacrifice fly in the seventh to make 4-3.

Nunez scored on Daniel's double in the seventh, making it 5-3 and setting the stage for the wild eighth inning.

Hagerstown's Jhonny Nunez pitched five innings, yielding three hits and an earned run while striking out four. Perks was the only Suns pitcher to not allow a run, as Coby Mavroulis and Yost were each touched up for two.

Delmarva starter Jeff Moore, who entered the game with a 1.21 ERA, allowed four runs - two earned - and three hits in five innings, while striking out two.

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