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No fatherly advice could keep Suns from going pop

June 18, 2007|by BOB PARASILITI

On Father's Day, the only thing the Hagerstown Suns could do was cry "Uncle."

It all became relative, especially with the way Hagerstown's pitchers showed such brotherly love.

Lexington received nine walks and two hit batters from the Suns, seven of which scored.

The Legends took advantage of Hagerstown's distribution of free passes and an ability to get leadoff runners on base to build five rallies - including a backbreaking three-run outburst in the ninth - to take an 8-4 victory at Municipal Stadium.

"It wasn't a good day for the pitchers," said Suns manager Tommy Herr. "They gave up too many free passes and opportunities. You keep doing that, it's going to catch up to you eventually."

Four of Lexington's five rallies began with either a walk or a hit batsman going to the leadoff batter.

It ended up being a game that the Suns allowed Lexington to hit the motherload to end the first half of the South Atlantic League season. Hagerstown finished the half in seventh place in the SAL's Northen Division with a 29-39 record, 18 games behind West Virginia.

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The Suns jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first before Lexington starter Casey Hudspeth (3-5) could get settled in. But once he got his bearings, Hagerstown was lucky to get the ball out of the infield through the first six innings.

Only two of the first 18 Hagerstown outs were by outfielders.

"(Hudspeth) was able to locate his fastball and got a lot of groundballs," Herr said. "But when he tired, he got it up a little."

The Suns got their 1-0 lead when Marcos Carbal slapped a one-out single to right and took second on Marvin Lowrance's grounder. He scored when shortstop Chris Johnson threw away Joe Napoli's grounder.

Suns starter Don Levinski had trouble retiring leadoff hitters all game, as four of the five he faced reached base. The third one, though, started the damage.

The Legends tied the game as Nick Moresi was hit by a pitch to start the inning and Koby Clemens walked and Jimmy Van Ostrand singled to load the bases before Johnson grounded into a double play to bring home the run.

Lexington moved to a 5-1 lead with single runs in each of the fifth and sixth innings and two runs in the seventh.

Tim Torres walked and scored off Levinski in the fifth on Van Ostrand's fielders' choice grounder after stealing two bases. Jordan Parraz led off with a double off reliever Dan Pfau in the sixth and scored on Eric Taylor's one-out single.

Pfau loaded the bases to start the seventh with consecutive walks to Torres, Moresi and Clemens before giving way to Chris Lugo. Lugo got Van Orstrand to hit into a double play to plate one run and Johnson doubled for the other for the four-bulge.

The Suns got to Hudspeth in the seventh with a little leadoff luck of their own.

Francisco Guzman singled and Sheldon Fulse doubled before Jhonatan Solano's two-run single chased Hudspeth. Solano scored when reliever Nick Cavanaugh dropped a throw while covering first on Francisco Plesencia's grounder to make it 5-4.

But Lexington sealed the game with three runs off Lugo in the ninth, started by loading the bases with walks befoe Parraz's two-run single and Max Sapp's RBI single.

"It had been nice if we only needed to come back from one down," Herr said. "But coming back from four wasn't going to work."

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