HAGERSTOWN — David Freitas claims to be selective. He claims he is only looking for good pitches.
A lot of pitches have been looking pretty good to the Hagerstown Suns’ designated hitter lately.
Freitas had two hits and two RBIs to lead the Suns to their eighth straight win Friday in a 5-2 decision over Lexington before 1,859 fans at Municipal Stadium. The win, coupled with Hickory’s 7-2 loss to Greensboro, moves Hagerstown (19-9) into first place with a half-game lead in the South Atlantic League’s Northern Division.
“I’m seeing more pitches, and I’m just going up there and looking for good pitches to hit,” he said. “I’m getting up there with runners in scoring position, and I have good hitters behind me, so it all helps.”
Freitas drove in runs in the first and fifth innings on singles, coming on the heels of his five-RBI game, including a grand slam, in Thursday’s 8-2 victory. He is riding a six-game hitting streak in which he is 11-for-24 (.458) with a home run and 10 RBIs.
“He’s been hitting the ball this way all year but doesn’t have the stats to show for it,” said Suns manager Brian Daubach. “On the road, he has hit the ball hard, but it has been right at people. He has been solid and he keeps getting better.”
Freitas gave the Suns a 1-0 lead in the first with his single off Lexington starter Mike Foltyneweicz (0-5), the Houston Astros' top pick in the 2010 draft. Bryce Harper started the rally with a two-out double to right and Freitas followed with his hit to left that outfielder Bryce Lane misplayed to allow him to reach third base.
Harper continued his hot pace, going 2-for-3 with two double and a walk to lift his batting average to a team-leading .368.
The Suns doubled the lead in the second as Mills Rogers drew his first of three walks and took third on an errant pickoff throw by Foltyneweicz, before scoring on Michael Taylor's two-out single.
Freitas drove in his second run in the fifth to give the Suns a 3-0 lead. Adrian Sanchez laid down a bunt single and moved to second on third baseman Jhonny Medrano's throwing error to set up the two-out hit.
“This team is a lot different than any team I’ve played with before,” Freitas said. “We know how to play as a team. There are teams that you have to fight to jell, but this isn’t one of them. We just have to keep it going and play the game.”
Hagerstown starter Matt Grace (3-3) kept Lexington (15-13) in check on three hits through six innings before hitting a bump in the seventh.
“Grace did a good job,” Daubach said. “When he was in trouble, he was able to bear down and get ground balls. He was able to find his release point. He had his best stuff all season and he competed well.”
Lexington got to Grace in the seventh, starting when Mark Kvasnicka reached on third baseman Blake Kelso's throwing error. After Tyler Burnett and Medrano each singled to load the bases, Lane reached on an infield single that stuck in Rogers' glove at first to plate the first run and chase Grace. Wilson Eusebio entered in relief and walked Delino DeShields Jr. to bring home a second run to cut the deficit to 3-2 before working out of the inning.
The Suns got the runs back in the bottom of the inning on Sean Nicol's two-out, two-run triple to right off Lexington's Brian Streilein. Nicol hit a fly to right center that center fielder Daniel Adamson caught until right fielder Adam Bailey collided with him to shake the ball loose and plate the two insurance runs.
Ben Graham pitched the ninth for his fourth save.