Nicol, Harper pace Suns past Legends

July 03, 2011

HAGERSTOWN — Bryce Harper got back into the swing of things while Sean Nicol just kept swinging on Sunday night as the Hagerstown Suns scored an 8-2 victory over Lexington.

Nicol broke the game open with a two-run double and Harper followed with an RBI ground-rule double to highlight a four-run sixth inning for the Suns (7-4, 47-34).

Nicol was 8-for-14 (.571) with four RBIs and six runs scored in the three-game set with Lexington, while Harper — who had two hits Sunday — drove in his first run since June 15.

Hagerstown supported starting pitcher Matt Grace (9-5) by erasing a 1-0 deficit with two runs in the fifth before adding the four in the sixth.

The Suns got on the board against Legends starter Ruben Alaniz (5-6) when Cole Leonida and Wade Moore led off with singles to put runners on first and third. Blake Kelso hit a fielders’ choice grounder to score Leonida with the first run. Harper, David Freitas and Jason Martinson drew consecutive walks to give the Suns the lead.

The Suns batted around in the fifth as Leonida and Moore hit one-out singles and scored on Nicol’s two-out, two-run double off reliever Juan Minaya. Harper scored Nicol with a double that hopped the wall in left before scoring when Freitas reached base on an error.

The Suns added two runs in the eighth on an RBI double by Freitas, followed by a run-scoring single by Martinson.

Grace allowed a pair of unearned runs on five hits with five strikeouts in seven innings. The Legends scored in the fifth on Tyler Burnett’s RBI grounder after a fielding error by Harper in center and in the seventh when he made an errant throw to second on Emilio King’s grounder, allowing Enrique Hernandez to score.

Harper went 2-for-4 to raise his average to .319. He left the game after the eighth inning after fouling a ball off his right leg.

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