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Oduber gives Suns a victory

June 17, 2011|By BOB PARASILITI | bobp@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — With one swing of the bat and one raise of his arm, Randolph Oduber got it all.

Oduber connected on a walk-off single with the bases loaded in the 10th inning to lift the Hagerstown Suns to a much-needed 2-1 victory over Delmarva on Friday before 2,832 fans at Municipal Stadium.

The outfielder drove a liner through the hole at short to score Blake Kelso from third. He instantly threw his arm in the air.

It was a celebration. It was redemption. And it was a sigh of relief for Oduber and the Suns in one swift instance.

“We needed it,” Oduber said. “We have been struggling a bit hitting and losing a lot. We have been working hard and staying together. It was extra innings and someone had to do it. This time it was me.”

The win ended Hagerstown’s six-game losing streak and kept the Suns (38-30) barely in contention for the South Atlantic League’s Northern Division title. Greensboro and Hickory remain two games ahead of the Suns. Hagerstown must win out to have a chance, while  Greensboro and Hickory only have to win one game to eliminate the Suns.

“We’ve been on the wrong end of a lot of games lately,” said Suns manager Brian Daubach. “We finally broke through. It was fun to win in a walk-off. It’s still a good win and we are still in it.”

Oduber was at the forefront at the most important times for the Suns. He drove in both of the Suns’ runs, although the first came on a sixth-inning double play. He also prevented the Shorebirds from taking a 2-0 lead in the fifth when he gunned out Michael Rooney at the plate.

He was 1-for-4 for the night, hitting into two double plays, but he got the hit when it was needed most. The Suns had the bases loaded three times in the game, but only got the one hit in the situation. Hagerstown was 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position for the night.

“The baseball gods were there,” Oduber said. “I hit the ball hard all night and I felt really good at the plate. It was a big relief when the ball went through for me and the whole team.”

The Suns got to Delmarva reliever Ashur Tolliver (1-2) quickly in the 10th. Kelso led off by flairing a single to left and took second on a wild pitch before moving to third on Adrian Sanchez’s sacrifice bunt.

After Bryce Harper was intentionally walked and Mills Rogers drew a free pass to load the bases, Oduber took a 2-1 pitch and poked it through the left side of the infield for the win.

“That’s just the way it is when you are in a funk,” Daubach said. “You just have to keep going in there and keep battling and battling. That’s what we did tonight.”

Delmarva jumped out to a 1-0 lead on Suns starter Robbie Ray with a run in the third inning.

Ray started the rally by hitting Mike Rooney with a pitch with one out and then advanced him with a wild pitch to set up Ty Kelly's RBI single to center.

The Suns tied the game in the sixth, but failed in a situation which could have been so much more.

Sanchez led off with a single off Delmarva reliever Tim Adelman. Harper drew a walk and David Freitas hit an infield single in the hole at short to load the bases. Oduber grounded into a double play to bring home the tying run.

Delmarva starter Tim Berry pitched five scoreless innings, allowing two hits while striking out six.

Matt Swynenberg kept the Suns in the game with four innings of hitless relief while striking out seven. Ben Graham (2-3) got the victory with an inning of work.

Harper was 2-for-3 — both singles — with two walks to raise his average to .330.

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