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Suns get what they deserve

June 07, 2007|by BOB PARASILITI

For the Hagerstown Suns, two out of three ain't good.

The Suns didn't get what they wanted. Nor did they get what they hoped for.

"We got what we probably deserved," said Hagerstown manager Tommy Herr.

Hagerstown gave up two runs in each of the fifth and sixth innings on Wednesday to give back a 4-2 lead. It rendered a strange, almost miraculous, three-run rally in the ninth moot in an 8-7 loss to the Lakewood BlueClaws.

It was a case of the Suns not being able to keep up with the Joneses ... or the BlueClaws in this case.

"Their guy pitched a little better than we did in those middle innings," Herr said. "We gave up two runs in back-to-back innings and we didn't execute on a couple of plays."

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That has been the story of the Suns for the first half of the South Atlantic League season. They have hit well, pitched marginally and hurt themselves at times defensively.

On this night, Hagerstown (24-33) wasted a four-RBI night by Chris Marrero and another three-hit game by Justin Maxwell with a couple of mistakes.

The Suns erased Lakewood's 2-0 lead with Marrero's 13th home run - a leadoff shot to right in the second - and a three-run double to left-center in the third for a 4-2 lead.

Then the fifth came and the bottom fell out for the Suns.

Starter Cory VanAllen allowed a double to Julian Williams and a single to Gus Milner, who finished with three hits and three RBIs, to start the inning.

He was lifted for Aaron Jackson (3-3). Jackson was greeted by an RBI groundout by Kevin Howard that moved Milner to second.

Jay Miller hit a hot shot to third baseman Leonard Davis, who made a fine fielding play, but threw the ball into right field when he got Milner in a rundown, allowing him to score the tying run.

Lakewood took the lead in the sixth when Zach Penprase led off with a bunt single to third and moved to second on a walk to Quintin Berry. A sacrifice bunt by Williams advanced the runners for Milner to drive one in with a sacrifice fly and Howard the other with a single to center for the 6-4 lead.

"We didn't execute," Herr said. "We didn't do a good job on the rundown between second and third and we didn't make a good pick up on a bunt and it ended up costing us."

In the meantime, Lakewood starter Carlos Monasterios (6-4) regained his form in the middle innings and held the Suns in check to protect the lead. After the third inning, he faced only 13 batters in the final four frames, allowing two walks.

After Lakewood added two runs off reliever Coby Mavroulis in the eighth to go up 8-4, the Suns mounted an improbable comeback in the ninth.

BlueClaws reliever Adrian Concepcion hit Joe Napoli with a pitch and walked Leonard Davis and Jhonatan Solano to load the bases with none out.

He was lifted for R.J. Swindle, who has mastered left-handed hitters with a 51-mph curveball.

Hagerstown got one run back when Mike Martinez's popup hit the ground between first baseman Doug Morales and second baseman Penprase. The runners advanced, scoring Napoli, but Martinez was out on the infield fly rule.

Maxwell reached and brought in a run on a fly to left that Milner dropped before pinch-hitter Marcos Cabral beat out an infield single for the seventh run. But Mike Daniel and Erick San Pedro struck out to end the game.

"That left-hander is tough on lefties," Herr said. "We tried to use our right-handed hitters on the bench. One worked and the other didn't."

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