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Jordan blanks Power to cap Suns' sweep

July 09, 2011|By BOB PARASILITI | bobp@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — The Hagerstown Suns adopted an assembly line approach to Saturday’s doubleheader with West Virginia.

The Suns let Taylor Jordan’s fastball do all the work while the offense did the heavy lifting.

Jordan dominated the Power with a complete game, four-hit shutout in the nightcap but they constructed a big inning in each game for a 9-5, 5-0 sweep of West Virginia before 2,413 fans at Municipal Stadium.

Jordan, the Suns’ all-star starting pitcher, spent the night challenging the Power to hit his fastball in what became a much-needed complete-game effort. Hagerstown was forced to rally back from 4-0 deficit in the opener and go to the bullpen early after starter Matt Grace left the game after taking a shot off the ankle in the first inning.

“I threw a lot of fastballs today. I just let my fastball do all the work,” said Jordan, who moved to 9-4. “My two-seamer was moving a lot and my 4-seamer was cutting. I started to get in the groove and started getting real loose in the third inning.”

Jordan retired the first 10 batters he faced before giving out a one-out single to Andy Vasquez in the fourth. All four hits he allowed were singles, which didn’t amount to anything because of Hagerstown’s strong defensive play.

“(Jordan) was really good tonight,” said Suns manager Brian Daubach. “It was fun to watch. He was pitching to contact again. We have been working with him, trying to get him to do it again.”

The win kept the Suns (11-6, 51-36) in a two-way tie for first place in the South Atlantic League Northern Division's second-half race with Hickory.

The Suns used a four-run fifth inning to seal the nightcap after coming up with a five-run third to come from behind in the opener.

The Suns scored first, using an RBI single by David Freitas in the third inning to take a 1-0 lead. Michael Taylor opened the inning with a bunt single against West Virginia starter Colton Cain (5-7).

Blake Kelso erased Taylor at second on an unsuccessful sacrifice bunt, but stole second to get into scoring position. Freitas hit a two-out single to left to score Kelso. Cain hit Kevin Keyes with a pitch and then was lifted from the game after 2 2/3 innings.

Hagerstown took a 5-0 lead with a four-run fifth inning as Taylor led off with a triple on a liner to left that got past a diving Vasquez. With one out, Sanchez hit a high bouncing single to right over a drawn-in infield to score Taylor and then came around as he broke for second while pitcher Zack Von Rosenberg made a move to first and threw the ball down the right-field line.

Von Rosenberg followed by hitting Freitas with a pitch and then serving up an RBI double off the wall in center field to Keyes. Keyes added the final run when Sean Nicol singled to right.

The rest was up to Jordan. He closed out the Power without allowing a walk and with two strikeouts, coming on the last two batters he faced.

“Getting that lead was great,” he said. “I got that good lead and I didn’t have to stress about giving up a run.”

Hagerstown’s heavier lifting came in the opener, especially after Grace left the game after allowing four runs in the first. The Suns came back by scoring seven unanswered runs — including a five-run third inning highlighted by Keyes and Jason Martinsson — to rally for the win.

“We knew it was going to be a long day going in,” Daubach said. “Then we are down 4-0 and lose our starting pitcher in the first inning. It was big when David got us a run back in the first inning and then the bullpen came in and gave us six innings. It was a team effort tonight.”

Keyes drove in three runs and Jason Martinson provided a two-run homer in the fifth that put Hagerstown ahead to pull off the comeback.

The Suns found themselves trailing 4-1 after one innng with Grace leaving the game. They fell behind 5-2 after two before relievers Shane McCatty (1-2) and Ben Graham combined to hold West Virginia to one run on four hits, while striking out five, to keep the Suns in position to pull out the victory.

“It was good to see McCatty have a good outing,” Daubach said. “It was his game. We needed him to throw at least three innings.”

Hagerstown roughed up Power starter Jameson Taillon (2-2), Pittsburgh's top pick and second overall selection from the 2010 draft, for his worst outing as professional. Taillon was chased after 2 1/3 innings, allowing seven runs (six earned) on six hits and two walks, while striking out two.

The Suns took control of the game around by batting around for a five-run outburst in the third inning, highlighted by Keyes and Martinson.

Kelso and Sanchez led off the inning with singles and stole bases before Freitas drew a walk to load the bases. Keyes drove in two runs with a sharp single to right to bring the Suns within 5-4. Russell Muldenhauer, the newest addition to Hagerstown's roster, lofted a sacrifice fly to center to tie the game.

Martinson gave the Suns a 7-5 lead with a two-run drive over the 26-foot wall in center field for his 10th homer of the season. Taillon followed by walking Wade Moore before being lifted for Eliecer Navarro.

The Suns capped the scoring with two insurance runs in the fifth as Moore, Curran and Kelso led off with singles to load the bases for Sanchez, who ripped a two-run single.

West Virginia got the early advantage by knocking around Grace, literally and figuratively. The Power got on the board with an RBI single by Cole White, a run-scoring double by Elias Diaz followed with an RBI double.

Kevin Mort lined a two-out, run-scoring single off of Grace's right ankle. Grace walked off the shot and  finished the inning as Mort was caught off first base, but stayed alive long enough to let Diaz score and give West Virginia a 4-0 lead. Grace was lifted in the second in favor of McCatty.

The Suns got a run in the first on an RBI ground out by Keyes. They made it 5-2 in the second as Martinson led off with a double to center. He stole third during Curran's at-bat and scored when Diaz fired his throw into left field.

Keyes led the Suns in the doubleheader with four RBIs while Sanchez finished with four hits and three RBIs.

NOTE: The Suns added Muldenhauer to the roster on Saturday. The first baseman, the Washington Nationals' 24th-round pick in the 2010 draft. replaces Brett Newsome, who was placed on the disabled list after being hit in the face with a ball.

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