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'Dads take two from Suns

April 21, 2011|By BOB PARASILITI | bobp@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — The Hagerstown Suns played like they ran into a wall on Thursday.

Bryce Harper actually did.

The Suns struggled through both games of a doubleheader as pitching and defense — two of their strongpoints this season — took the night off as Hickory scored an 8-5 and 7-6 sweep to take over first place in the South Atlantic League Northern Division and send Hagerstown to its third straight loss.

“We play 140 games in the season. Things just didn’t go our way tonight,” said Suns manager Brian Daubach.

That is putting it mildly as the Suns (9-6) battled through wild pitching in the first game and posted four errors in the nightcap, including two in the seventh to allow the Crawdads (11-4) to come from behind for the sweep.

The only good break was that Harper didn’t sustain any breaks.

On the night the Washington Nationals’ top prospect hit his first home run at Municipal Stadium, Harper ran into the right field wall during Hickory’s four-run third inning, trying to make a catch on Jonathan Roof’s ground-rule double.

With the Crawdads trailing 5-4, Roof stroked a Wilson Eusebio’s pitch for a wind-blown drive to right. Harper broke back on the ball at full speed and made a diving try heading to the fence. The ball bounced out of his reach and over the fence for a two-run double with Harper crashing into the fence.

Harper remained down for about three minutes as members of the Suns medical staff rushed onto the field. Harper got up and remained in the game and finished He finished 1-for-2, a solo home run to right field in the first, along with a walk, two runs scored and an RBI.

“He’s OK,” Daubach said. “We checked him out and he has a bit of a stiff neck. He probably had never run into a wall before since he used to be a catcher. He was a little bit scared. We kept him out of the second game as a precaution and we’ll get him checked out again tomorrow.”

Suns starter Chris McKenzie (1-2) struggled through his outing, allowing six runs on four hits with four walks and three wild pitches in 3 1/3 innings.

The Suns jumped out to the early lead on Harper’s homer but Hickory tied the game in the second with help from Suns starter Chris McKenzie. Andrew Clark walked and was erased on a force when Harper and second baseman Adrian Sanchez failed to catch Joshua Richmond’s pop fly and threw him out at second. Clark advanced on two wild pitches by McKenzie before scoring on Odubel Herrara’s grounder to second.

The Crawdads took a 2-1 lead in the third inning with more help from McKenzie, who scored Jonathan Roof from third with a wild pitch.

The Suns broke it open with four in the bottom of the inning, which was ignited by Randolph Oduber’s leadoff homer, his third of the season. Hagerstown followed by loading the bases with none out and scoring on Blake Kelso’s sacrifice fly to right and a two-run, bad-hop single over Hickory first baseman Clark by Wade Moore for a 5-2 lead.

Hickory took the game away from the Suns with five runs in the fourth as McKenzie continued to suffer through his wildness. The Crawdads batted around and loaded the bases with none out. McKenzie’s day ended when he issued an RBI walk to Kellin Deglan.

The nightcap was a seesaw affair with Hickory taking a 4-1 lead.

The Suns came back with a five-run fourth inning, scoring on just one hit, a two-run single by Adrain Sanchez to put Hagerstown ahead 6-4.

Hagerstown maintained a 6-5 lead into the seventh.

Hickory won the game as Edwin Garcia led off with a single off Chris Manno and scored when Odubel Herrera’s bunt was thrown away for a three-base error by third baseman Sean Nicole. Tomas Telis hit a grounder to Nicole to score the winning run and the sweep for the Crawdads.

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