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Suns' misery has company

June 07, 2008|By BOB PARASILITI

On Thursday, Hagerstown manager Darnell Coles called the Suns' 10-6 loss to Lake County "one of those games."

On Friday, the Suns didn't want it to get lonely. They had another "one of those games."

This one had different circumstances, but the same outcome as the Captains exploded -- long before the scheduled fireworks show -- in the third and fourth innings for an easy 11-0 victory that sent Hagerstown to its seventh loss in eight games.

"Like I said, there are games during the season that you are going to get knocked around," Coles said. "Today, we got knocked around. They hit the ball but they pitched really well today. My guys just need to relax and play."

Lake County turned up the heat just by running starting pitcher Kelvin De La Cruz out to the mound. De La Cruz entered the game leading the South Atlantic League with a 1.40 earned run average.

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The left-hander didn't do anything to ruin that mark and neither did the Suns. De La Cruz pitched five innings of three-hit baseball to drop his ERA to 1.29.

The Captains (36-24) scored five runs in the third and four more in the fourth, mostly off Hagerstown starter Jeff Smoker, to make De La Cruz look all the better.

"We got behind and made it difficult to get anything going," Coles said. "We were shut down by a pretty good pitcher. He had three good pitches."

Lake County batted around the order to get to Smoker in the third. Roman Pena started the scoring with a two-run double, followed by a two-run triple by Karexon Sanchez and an RBI grounder from Jeff Hehr to take a 5-0 lead.

The Captains sent eight more hitters to the plate for four runs in the fourth, highlighted by an RBI double by Mark Thompson that chased Smoker. Erik Arnesen came on and allowed a sacrifice fly by Dustin Realini, an RBI double by Matt Brown and a run-scoring grounder by Sanchez for the 9-0 lead.

Eight of Lake County's 13 hits went for extra bases.

"All they were doing was squaring the ball," Coles said. "In this big, spacious ballpark, all you have to do is make a mistake and leave the ball up and it travels like it was at an airport."

Brown lofted a sacrifice fly to plate the Captains' 10th run in the sixth and Pena hit a solo home run off Chris Lugo in the eighth to close the scoring.

The Suns got runners to third base in each of the first three innings and the sixth but failed to score.

Dan Lyons drew a leadoff walk in the first and moved to third on a stolen base and throwing error with none out. The Suns couldn't plate the run.

Lyons was later thrown out at the plate in the third while trying to score from first on a Bill Rhinehart double.

Pena finished with three hits, two RBIs and scored four times. Rhinehart had two of the Suns' six hits.

"That's why they are the first-place team," Coles said. "They did a good job of not leaving the ball over the plate. I think my guys are putting a little more pressure on themselves that they don't need to."

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