Suns lose wild one to Drive

June 01, 2011|By BOB PARASILITI |
  • Hagerstown's Bryce Harper slides safely to home plate ahead of the tag of Greenville catcher Josue Peley in the bottom of the fourth inning Wednesday night at Municipal Stadium.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — The early bird may catch the worm, but scoring late wins ball games.

The Hagerstown Suns scored early and often Wednesday. The Suns scored at least one run in four straight innings and starter Bobby Hansen was on cruise control with a 9-3 advantage after five innings.

But Greenville put together a four-inning splurge of its own, smacking Hagerstown’s bullpen around for 10 unanswered runs to fuel a comeback for a 14-12 victory to stun the Suns and the crowd of 731 at Municipal Stadium.

The Drive (26-27) scored five runs in the seventh and four in the eighth against relievers Shane McCatty and Ben Graham to erase what had been an outstanding performance by Hagerstown starter Bobby Hansen and a sparkling offensive showing by the Suns through the first five innings.

Hansen went six innings, allowing four runs on five hits while striking out 11 to leave with a 9-4 lead. The left-hander struck out seven straight — including four in the fourth — before allowing three runs in the fifth and a two-out homer to Matt Head in the sixth to start the Drive’s comeback.

Greenville collected 17 hits, the most allowed by Suns pitching this season. Twelve of the hits came off the bullpen.

The Suns led 9-4 heading into the seventh with Shane McCatty in to relieve Hansen. McCatty allowed four runs in one-third of an inning, which was hampered by two errors by center fielder Michael Taylor. The Drive tied that game when Sean Coyle hit a two-run triple over Taylor’s head off reliever Ben Graham and scored on an errant throw to the infield.

Greenville battered Graham in the eighth by sending 10 men to the plate for four more runs to take a 13-9 lead. The Drive led off the inning by loading the bases and used a two-run chop single by Lucas Leblanc to take the lead.

The Suns mounted a comeback attempt with three runs in the eighth against Greenville reliever Charle Rosario on an RBI single by Sean Nicol, followed by a two-run double by Taylor. Taylor tried to stretch his double into a triple and was gunned down to end the rally.

Greenville picked up an insurance run against Matt Swynenberg on Heiker Meneses’ single for a two-run lead.

Blake Kelso led off the bottom of the ninth with a single, but the last gasp ended when Bryce Harper grounded into a game-ending double play.

In all, the Hagerstown’s bullpen allowed 10 runs on 12 hits in three innings.

The Suns grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second inning off Greenville starter Miguel Celestino. Brett Newsome got his first of four hits by lining a shot into the right-center field gap for a double. Newsome took third on Jason Martinson’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Wade Moore’s grounder.

Celestino got himself in trouble in the third inning by issuing a pair of leadoff walks, although Adrian Sanchez grounded into a double play to minimize the damage. But Harper didn’t allow Celestino to get off unscathed as he lined a two-run homer, his 12th of the season, over the wall in right field for a 3-0 lead. Harper finished with two hits and three RBIs to raise his average to .333.

The Suns took what looked to be an insurmountable lead against Celestino with a four-run fourth inning.

Nicol started the rally with a leadoff single and took second on Taylor’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Kelso’s double off the wall in center. Harper sent Celestino to the showers with an RBI single.

David Freitas greeted reliever Scott Swinson with a double off the right-field fence that right fielder Felix Sanchez misplayed. Harper crossed the plate on an awkward slide, beating the throw as Freitas took third. Newsome finished off the rally with an RBI single for the 7-0 lead.

It went downhill from there as Greenville got three runs back from a rested Hansen, started when Henry Ramos reached first on a wild pitch on a strikeout. Josue Peley ended Hansen’s run of seven consecutive strikeouts with a double to center, to set up Heiker Meneses’ two-run double. Felix Sanchez capped the rally with an RBI infield single to short to bring the Drive back to within 7-3.

Meneses finished with four hits and three RBIs for Greenville. Rosario (3-0) allowed three runs in three innings to get the win.

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