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Lavarnway slams Suns with 2 HRs

July 16, 2009|By CONNER GILBERT/Staff Correspondent

The Greenville Drive hit three home runs, including a go-ahead grand slam in the top of the fifth inning, to defeat the Hagerstown Suns 8-5 at Municipal Stadium in the South Atlantic League on Thursday.

The Drive took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on Ryan Lavarnway's two-run homer to right-center field.

The Suns took the lead in the third on one swing of the bat when Tyler Moore's three-run shot made it 3-2.

But Greenville reclaimed the lead in the fifth inning against Hagerstown starting pitcher Patrick Arnold, who entered the inning having retired nine of the previous 12 batters he faced. Two walks and a single loaded the bases with one out before Lavarnway hit his second home run of the game, a grand slam to center that gave the Drive a 6-3 lead.

"That situation really lent itself to getting a ball up in the zone," said Lavarnway. "Hitting the ball square always feels good, but the fact that it mattered in the game was better."

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The Drive added to its lead in the eighth on Will Middlebrooks' two-run blast to left which landed beyond the outer wall of the stadium, giving Greenville an 8-3 advantage.

"We left a couple balls up to their guys," said Suns manager Matt LeCroy. "But what really hurt us was the walks. We've got to make them swing."

Hagerstown got a run back in the eighth on Michael Guerrero's sacrifice fly to deep center, making it 8-4.

The Suns threatened to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth after Steve Lombardozzi scored on a sacrifice fly to cut Greenville's lead to 8-5. Hagerstown loaded the bases with two outs, but a strikeout ended the game.

"It's been a struggle the whole year," said LeCroy. "We've gotten guys on, but we just can't seem to get the big hit."

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