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Suns go deep, slam Legends

April 10, 2012|By BOB PARASILITI | bobp@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — There should be a slogan for pitchers when they enter Municipal Stadium.

It should be something like “flags flying left, pitches will be deft. Flags to the right, shudder with fright.”

There was some teeth chattering on Tuesday and it was for more than the chilly weather. Hagerstown unloaded four of the night’s six home runs out of Municipal Stadium — including two grand slams — to launch the Suns to a 16-8 victory over Lexington.

Both teams took advantage of the prevailing 15-mph wind that blew from left to right field. Most balls hit in the air to right-center field rode the jet stream to — or over — the right-field wall.

Jason Martinson led the way with two of the homers, including a second-inning slam that highlighted a five-run second inning to set the Suns (5-1) sailing. The shortstop added a two-run blast to dead center in the sixth as he finished the night 3-for-3 with a double, six RBIs and five runs scored.

Brett Newsome joined the party after entering the game in the top of the eighth. The first baseman unloaded a grand slam to right in the Suns’ six-run eighth off Lexington’s Scott Zuloaga to put the final touches on the blowout.

The Legends (1-5) tagged two homers off Suns starter Wirken Estevez — both to right field. Zach Johnson hit a two-run shot in the first and Tyler Burnett led off the second with his homer to give Lexington to a 3-1 lead.

Hagerstown got a run back in the first after Johnson’s homer. Martinson drew a leadoff walk, took third on J.P. Ramirez’s single to right and scored when Rick Ankiel — playing in his second game for the Suns while rehabbing a quadriceps injury — hit into a double play.

The Suns made their biggest statement in the second. Adrian Nieto started it with a no-doubt solo shot over the right-field wall off Lexington starter Carlos Quevedo.

Hagerstown worked the bases loaded as Justin Miller singled to left, Caleb Ramsey laid down a perfect bunt single to third and Hendry Jimenez singled to right. Martinson stepped in with one out and drove a 2-0 pitch over the wall in right center for a 6-3 lead.

Hagerstown took a 7-3 lead in the third, as Miller hit a two-out double to left and scored on Ramsey’s RBI single.

Lexington got a run back in the fourth, scoring on an Estevez wild pitch.

The Suns added two runs in the bottom of the fourth on Ramirez’s RBI single and Ankiel’s run-scoring double against Lexington reliever Nathan Pettus.

Besides the two Legends homers, Estevez kept Lexington in check and in the ballpark. He worked five innings, allowing four runs on five hits and two walks. He struck out seven while earning his first victory.

The Legends scored single runs in the sixth and seventh innings off Hagerstown reliever Christian Meza to move within 11-6. Emilio King hit an RBI double in the sixth and Johnson added a run-scoring double in the seventh.

Lexington picked up a pair of runs in the ninth against Aaron Barrett on a Burnett RBI groundout and a Mike Kvasnicka single.

Johnson drove in three runs to lead Lexington.

The Suns finished with 17 hits, led by Ramirez with four. Nieto had three.

Ankiel, a Nationals outfielder, batted third and went 1-for-4 with an RBI before leaving the game in the top of the eighth.

Michael Morse, Washington’s other injured outfielder, didn’t play for the Suns on Tuesday after playing left field and batting fourth on Monday. Morse, who was scheduled to be activated on Thursday, reportedly had a setback in the rehabilitation of his back strain.

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