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Tourists smash Suns again as playoff hopes bleak

August 28, 2011

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The Asheville Tourists feasted on Hagerstown Suns pitching for a second straight day, rolling to a 15-5 victory Sunday that left the Suns’ South Atlantic League playoff chances looking even more bleak.

Asheville (65-67, 34-29) mashed out 16 hits and overwhelmed Hagerstown (71-61, 31-31) with a seven-run third inning and an eight-run fifth. The Suns are in fifth place in the Northern Division, 5 1/2 games behind Kannapolis with seven games to play.

After Wade Moore walked, stole second and eventually scored on a wild pitch to give the Suns a 1-0 lead in the top of the third, The Tourists ripped Hagerstown starter Matthew Grace (12-7) for six hits in the bottom half en route to a 7-1 lead. Dominic Altobelli’s two-run double, Mark Tracy’s RBI double and Joey Wong’s RBI single were the big blows, and Asheville added runs on a bases-loaded hit batter, a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly.

The Suns cut the lead to two with a four-run fourth after Tourists pitcher Peter Tago walked the first three hitters of the frame before being pulled for Juan Gonzalez (2-7). Brett Newsome followed with a two-run double, and a wild pitch and an RBI groundout scored two more runs.

But Asheville put the game away in the fifth against Grace and reliever Paul Applebee, exploding for six more hits — including three doubles and two home runs. Chandler Laurent ripped a two-run homer and Altobelli and Helder Velazquez added RBI doubles before Mark Tracy capped the inning with a grand slam.

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