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Suns' bats are life of the party

May 23, 2008|By BOB PARASILITI

Girls, take a seat for one night.

Ballplayers want to have fun, too.

And if Thursday was any indication, the Hagerstown Suns had, well, a ball.

Eight of Hagerstown's starting nine had hits, led by Michael Burgess with three hits and three RBIs, and the pitching and defense did their things as the Suns partied hearty with a 7-2 win over Lexington.

"We have been having fun all day," Burgess said. "We just want to go out and enjoy another day of baseball."

The Suns were the kings of this cookout. Runs, hits and beer were flowing on this Thirsty Thursday. Hagerstown had 10 hits and seven runs by the end of the fourth inning.

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"Sometimes you just have games like that," said Suns manager Darnell Coles. "We pitched pretty good, had good defense and had timely hitting early to take the pressure off. All we had to do was find a way to shut them down."

Luis Atilano took care of that in an abbreviated start. The right-hander went four innings, allowing one first-inning run on two hits before leaving the game after retiring the last 10 Legends he faced.

"(Atilano is) under some restrictions," Coles said. "He had Tommy John surgery and he is limited on the number of pitches and the number of times he can get up. After the first inning, he settled down."

Lexington (14-32) did all it could do against Atilano in the first as Mike Cusick drew a one-out walk and went to third on Collin DeLome's single. Brian Pellegrini laced a double to left to score Cusick but DeLome was taken out in a rundown at the plate.

The Suns (24-22) allowed the Legends to enjoy the 1-0 lead until the second inning. Hagerstown got to Lexington starter Jacob Leonhardt as Burgess led off with single and took second when shortstop Ronnie Ramirez dropped a scoop to start a double play off Mark Gildea's grounder. He scored on Trevor Lawhorn's single.

Hagerstown added three in the third by grouping hits in situational at-bats. Aaron Seuss, Burgess and Mark Gildea all had RBI singles.

The Suns capped it in the fourth with a four-hit inning capped by Seuss' sacrifice fly and Burgess' two-run triple down the right-field line.

"I was just trying to stretch a double into a triple," Burgess said. "It was cool."

Justin Phillabaum (1-0) replaced Atilano, and got the win by two innings, allowing a Cusick homer in the sixth to close the scoring. Edulin Abreu pitched the final three innings of the five-hitter to earn his third save.

To Coles, the game was fun, but it was just another step along the way.

"Hitting is contagious and it's good to have, but if you have good pitching and defense, that's better," Coles said. "We made some mistakes (Wednesday). We have to keep doing the little things right and have to keep putting them into situations so they can get better."

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