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Suns lose that winning feeling

July 27, 2011|By BOB PARASILITI | bobp@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — Sometimes, feeling — as opposed to seeing — is believing.

The Hagerstown Suns could see what was going on Tuesday, but could never get a feeling for how to change it.

Xander Bogaerts and Carson Blair drove in three runs each as Greenville scored eight runs in the first three innings en route to an 11-4 victory over the Suns during a Camp Day matinee at Municipal Stadium.

Greenville took advantage of early Hagerstown mistakes while the Suns failed to capitalize on prime scoring chances.

“It always helps if you can creep in a couple of runs when you are down,” said Suns manager Brian Daubach. “It gives you the feeling that momentum is coming on your side, but we weren’t able to get the big hit.”

The Suns (56-45, 16-15) have lost three of the last four to fall to fourth place in the South Atlantic League Northern Division’s second-half standings.

Greenville went to work right away against Suns starter Matt Swynenberg (3-1). The Drive scored three runs in the first, two in the second and three more in the third to counteract Chris Curran’s solo home run in the first to take an early 8-1 advantage.

“Since Swynenberg has been added to the starting rotation, he has thrown the ball well,” Daubach said. “He didn’t throw the ball badly early, but he got a couple of balls up. They didn’t kill him, but they got things going.”

Greenville jumped to a 5-1 lead in the first two innings on openings provided by the Suns.

It started when Swynenberg hit Sean Coyle with a pitch with one out in the first. Greenville made the Suns pay as Coyle took second on Drew Hedman’s single to left and both runners advanced on a wild pitch before scoring on Bogaerts’ double — his first of three hits — down the left-field line. Bogaerts scored on David Renfroe’s single to give the Drive a 3-0 lead.

Curran got one of the runs back when he hit his first homer for Hagerstown on a shot to right-center off Greenville starter Manuel Rivera.

Greenville extended its lead to 5-1 in the second, starting when Drew Dominguez reached on a fielding error by Suns third baseman Mills Rogers. Dominguez took third on a single by Felix Sanchez and scored on a balk by Swynenberg. Sanchez then scored on a single by Coyle.

The Suns continued to crumble in the third as what looked like a harmless inning blew up. David Renfroe doubled and eventually scored after Dominguez walked and stole second, as catcher Cole Leonida’s throw went into center field. Blair finished the rally with a two-run homer to give the Drive an 8-1 lead.

The Suns had chances for a pair of big innings of their own in the fifth and ninth, but only managed one run in each occurrence. Blake Kelso hit a sacrifice fly with none out in the fifth and a fielders’ choice grounder in the ninth produced the only runs in the threats.

Greenville picked up a run in the seventh on Bogaerts’ solo homer off reliever Ryan Demmin and a pair of runs off Tyler Hanks in the ninth, including an RBI single by Blair.

The Suns’ other run came on Leonida’s second homer of the season, a drive to left in the seventh off Scott Swinson (3-2).

“We got tomorrow off and then we go to Delmarva,” Daubach said. “I think the guys will have a little more energy. Once they get their legs under them again, I think we will be all right.”

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