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Legends refuse to back down to Suns

July 03, 2011|By BOB PARASILITI | bobp@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — The Lexington Legends proved they belong to a good health program on Saturday.

The Hagerstown Suns hit the Legends with what should have been a backbreaker, but Lexington had some great insurance.

The Legends bounced back from the Suns’ five-run fifth inning with seven unanswered runs of their own and then held on for a 11-10 victory before 1,765 dampened fans at Municipal Stadium.

The Suns (6-4, 46-34) battled back from two deficits and took an 8-4 lead, thanks to the five-run fifth, but failed to lock the game away. Lexington scored three in the seventh and four in the eighth against Hagerstown’s bullpen and held on.

“We came up one short,” said Suns manager Brian Daubach. “They swung the bats well. I thought we were in good shape after the five-spot, but they fought to the end.”

Adam Bailey led Lexington (3-7, 38-42) with three hits — including his 15th homer — and three RBIs, but Enrique Hernandez provided the difference by capping the four-run eighth with a three-run homer to right off Dean Weaver (0-1).

It was a game of ebb and flow and the Legends flowed when the Suns ebbed. Still, even with the loss, the Suns maintained a one-game lead in the South Atlantic League Northern Division over five teams tied with 5-5 second-half records.

Trailing 8-4 in the seventh, Lexington started the comeback with three runs off Wilson Eusebio as Bailey hit an RBI single followed by a two-run double by Telvin Nash to tighten the game to 8-7.

“That was uncharacteristic for Eusebio,” Daubach said. “He has been throwing the ball really well over the last four or five weeks. There was a grounder that could have been a double play but we didn’t get it and it didn’t help.”

Eusebio could have got out of the inning unscathed when Hernandez hit a slow roller to short with one out and runners on first and second. Blake Kelso fed the ball to Adrian Sanchez for the force at second but the Suns were unable to complete the turn for the second out. Bailey and Nash followed with their hits.

Tyler Burnett greeted Weaver with a single and stole second before scoring on Bryce Lane’s double. Ben Orloff singled to set up Hernadez’s homer to right to give the Legends a 11-8 lead.

The Suns scored single runs in the eighth and ninth innings. Blake Kelso walked and eventually scored when David Freitas reached on a throwing error by third baseman Mike Kvasnicka off reliever Jason Chowning. Kelso drove in Sean Nicol with a single in the ninth off David Martinez, who replaced Chowning with two outs.

Martinez earned his first save when he got Adrian Sanchez to line to first with runners on first and second to end the game.

The game had a rocky start as the teams showed ill effects from 1-hour, 22-minute rain delay. Suns starter A.J. Cole, who allowed three runs in the first inning, starting with Hernandez’s one-out single. Bailey doubled off the center-field wall to plate the first run.

After Nash drew a walk, Kvasnicka grounded to first to advance the runners. Ben Heath and Tyler Burnett followed with two-out RBI singles to seal the 3-0 lead.

Lexington starter Mike Foltynewicz didn't fare much better in his first inning as the Suns got two runs back.

Kelso led off by with an infield single off grounder that Hernandez made a diving stop on in the hole at second but couldn't make the throw. Kelso took third as Nash failed to catch Foltynewicz's pickoff throw to first to seat up Sanchez’s sacrifice fly to center.

Bryce Harper restarted the rally when a fly ball he hit to center was misjudged Emilio King and fell in for a double, followed by Freitas’ run-scoring double to cut the deficit to 3-2.

The Suns tied the game at 3-all in the fourth as Kevin Keyes drew a leadoff walk and took third on Sean Nicol's single up the middle through Foltynewicz's legs. Keyes scored when Foltynewicz uncorked a wild pitch while facing Wade Moore.

Lexington didn't settle for the tie for long as Bailey connected on a two-out homer to right off of reliever Paul Applebee in the fifth to regain a 4-3 lead.

The Suns seemingly blew open the game in the bottom of the fifth by batting around. Harper and greeted Lexington reliever Murilo Gouvea (1-0) with a solid single to left and stole second before taking third on Freitas' single. Keyes tied the game with a one-out single to right.

Brett Newsome hit an RBI single to center and Nicol continued his hot stretch with a two-run single up the middle. Nicole stole second and scored on Moore's single to left to finish the surge for a 8-4 lead.

Gouvea got the win despite allowing five runs on seven hits over three innings.

Nicol had three hits and two RBIs, making him 6-for-8 in the last two games.

Harper 2-for-4 with two stolen bases — giving him 18 for the year — to raise his average to up to .315.

“We just have to put this one behind us and come back out tomorrow,” Daubach said.

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