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Suns grill Hamburger in seventh

May 23, 2009|By TIM KOELBLE

The Hagerstown Suns had seen enough of Hickory starting pitcher Yoon-Hee Nam.

When Mark Hamburger stepped to the mound in the bottom of the seventh, the Suns began to fire up the grill for some tasty burgers with plenty of ketchup, mustard and relish.

The Suns (20-18) broke a 1-1 tie with four runs in the inning for a 5-1 Friday fireworks victory over Hickory, about 12 hours after returning home from their recent trip in North Carolina.

Nam, who came into the game with a 4-1 record and a stout 0.95 earned run average, allowed only a bunt single and recorded seven strikeouts through six innings.

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"(Nam) kept us in control with his breaking ball and he kept it down," said Suns manager Matt LeCroy. "We've run into tough starting pitchers five straight games."

When Hamburger entered, the Suns went to work, starting with a one-out walk to Steven Souza.

On the attack with a hit-and-run, Michael Guerrero ripped a single up the middle and with Souza heading to third, center fielder David Paisano bobbled the ball. LeCroy, coaching at third, took a chance by sending Souza, who scored when Paisano's throw was wide of the plate for a 2-1 Suns lead.

"I was a little anxious and took a chance (sending Souza)," said LeCroy. "You've got to be smart, but aggressive and it turned out the throw wasn't good."

Chris Curran singled to score Guerrero, who had gone to second on the previous play, for a 3-1 lead. After Jose Lozada was hit by a pitch and Hamburger uncorked a wild pitch, Steve Lombardozzi added the final toppings with a line single to right.

The rally made a winner out of Patrick Arnold, who relieved starter Jack McCreary, his roommate on the road.

"We were both ready to pitch," said Arnold, who went four innings in relief, allowing only three hits and striking out three in his longest stint of the season.

"It was our first time pitching since Sunday," said Arnold. "I was just trying to work the corners."

Had it not been for a wild pitch, McCreary would have been unscored on in his five innings. He allowed only two hits, while walking four and striking out four.

"(McCreary) has had some starts where has struggled, but it was good to see him make the adjustments," said LeCroy. "He had a good curveball and established his fastball. And Arnold's work saved us using our regular closers."

Hickory (20-21) took a 1-0 lead in the second, Michael Bianucci doubled down the left-field line, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on an infield groundout.

The Suns knotted the score at 1 with a third-inning tally when Robby Jacobsen led off with a perfectly executed bunt single and moved to second when Chris Curran was hit by a pitch.

Both runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Jose Lozada and Jacobsen scored on a groundout by Lombardozzi.

The Suns have now won eight of their last 11 games and moved into third place in the South Atlantic League Northern Division.

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