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Jones makes his one hit count in Suns' split

August 25, 2010|By BOB PARASILITI

It was an all-or-nothing night for Marcus Jones.

The Hagerstown Suns outfielder got a chance to play both halves of a doubleheader on Tuesday, managing a 1-for-6 day against the Lakewood BlueClaws.

The one made the other five very forgettable as Jones hit a two-out, two-run home run to right in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the Suns to a 5-3 victory over the BlueClaws in the opener of a long, drawn-out, wet twinbill at Municipal Stadium. Hagerstown fell 2-1 in the nightcap to settle for a split.

Jones, the fourth outfielder in the Suns' youthful stable, struggled through the first game with a fielder's choice grounder, a popup and a strikeout to go with a fifth-inning walk in the first game. It took a little good fortune to put him in the clutch situation.

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The Suns (61-67, 25-33 second half) took the beginning steps to the extra-inning win with two outs in the ninth.

Justino Cuevas reached base when Lakewood shortstop Alan Schoenberger misplayed a high hop on a grounder to extend the inning. Jones made sure it didn't last much longer, though, when he laced Luke Wertz's 3-1 pitch over the fence in right field for the winning runs.

It put a positive end to a game in which the Suns squandered a three-run lead.

The Suns took a 1-0 lead in the first off Lakewood starter Brody Colvin as Rick Hague and Adrian Sanchez led off with singles. J.P. Ramirez forced Sanchez at second before Destin Hood lofted a sacrifice fly to right to bring in the run.

Hagerstown used the station-to-station method of offense to pick up two more runs in the fifth. Sanchez and Ramirez reached on infield singles before Hood blooped a hit to right to load the bases. Brett Newsome beat out a single on a grounder to first baseman Jonathan Singleton for an RBI, before Cuevas added hit a one-out grounder to score Ramirez for the 3-0 lead.

Suns starter Graham Hicks went 5 1/3 innings before being lifted for Ben Graham. Graham failed to preserve the lead, though.

Sebastian Valle greeted Graham with a single after hitting a disputed home run drive down the left-field line that was called foul. Stephen Batts followed by hitting a grounder that went through Hague's legs at short and rolled in the gap in left-center field, allowing Valle to score from first. Jeremy Barnes and Keoni Ruth followed with doubles to tie the score at 3.

The Suns escaped serious problems in the seventh to get the game into extra innings. Josh Smoker came on in relief and walked the bases loaded before striking out Batts and Korby Mintken to escape unscathed.

Kyle Morrison (3-5), the Suns' fourth pitcher, pitched two hitless innings to get the win. The Suns finished with 14 hits, led by Sanchez with four. The two teams combined for 22 runners left on base, including 12 by Hagerstown.

Lakewood (75-51, 33-24) took advantage of an error to take the lead in the nightcap and used the combined pitching of relievers Mike McGuire, Eric Messingham and Ebelin Lugo.

Jeremy Barnes -- who went 5 for 6, including three doubles and a triple, in the doubleheader -- led off the second with a single to left off Paul Demny (6-8) and Anthony Hewitt followed with a one-out single to put runners on first and second. With two outs, Schoenberger hit another grounder that went through Hague's legs at short to score Barnes with the first run.

Jiwan James followed with a single to left-center to give Lakewood the 2-0 lead.

The Suns got a run back against McGuire in the third when Eury Perez singled, stole his 50th base of the season and scored on Hague's single. Massingham (4-2) and Lugo combined to hold the Suns to two hits the rest of the way to secure the victory.

Demny, who hasn't won a game since July 4, allowed two unearned runs in 4 2/3 innings to take the loss.

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