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Suns a hot mess in loss to GreenJackets

July 20, 2011|By BOB PARASILITI | bobp@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — A common factor for teams on a winning streak: They always find a way to stay clean.

On Wednesday, Augusta wore teflon while the Hagerstown Suns were covered with spots.

The GreenJackets came from behind with a four-run eighth inning — aided largely by a key two-out error by center fielder Michael Taylor — for a 5-2 victory that extended their winning streak to 11 games.

The bottom fell out on the Suns (13-12, 53-42) in what had been a tightly contested game, but Hagerstown didn’t do itself any favors failing with runners in scoring position in each of the first three innings.

“We had our chances early and let them hang around,” Suns manager Brian Daubach said. “Then we got a little sloppy. They are a pretty hot right now.”

Meanwhile, the Suns have found some shade in the stifling summer heat. In fact, it could be considered a deep freeze as Hagerstown lost for the seventh time in the last eight games to fall four games out of first in the South Atlantic League’s Northern Division.

The Suns battled to a 2-1 lead behind another quality start by A.J. Cole, who allowed a run on four hits with two strikeouts over five innings. After allowing a run in the first, Cole retired 14 of the last 16 batters he faced before exiting.

“A.J. was terrific again, but we are trying to limit his innings a little,” Daubach said. “We made some great plays defensively, like (Blake Kelso’s grab of a foul ball while diving away from the plate onto the warning track).”

It all came unhinged in the eighth.

With one out, Chris Lofton singled against reliever Sam Brown (2-4) and stole second. Adam Duvall, who leads the league in RBIs, singled to center to tie the game.

After Duvall was eliminated on Ryan Lollis’ fielder’s choice grounder to Kelso, Josh Mazzola hit a drive to deep right center that Taylor allowed to bounce out of his glove for a three-base, run-scoring error.

“That came on an 0-2 pitch that wasn’t that great, but its a play Michael makes all the time,” Daubach said.

Ryan Scoma followed with a triple to left and Rafael Rodriguez singled to right to give Augusta (16-9, 47-48) a three-run lead with three unearned runs.

The Suns broke through for two runs in the fourth against GreenJackets starter Ryan Bradley with a two-out rally.

Sean Nicol singled to right and scored when Rogers lined a double past Rodriguez to the fence in left. Taylor put the Suns on top with a single to center.

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