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Skole's home run in 10th gives Suns walk-off win

April 19, 2012|By BOB PARASILITI | bobp@herald-mail.com
  • Hagerstown Suns third baseman Mathew Skole tags out Lakewood BlueClaws runner Tyler Greene to complete a successful pickoff attempt during Thursday night's South Atlantic League game at Municipal Stadium.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — Matt Skole didn’t get to swing the bat much on Thursday.

So when he did, it had to count.

Skole blasted a two-run home run off Lakewood closer Ryan Duke in the bottom of the 10th inning to complete a come-from-behind 11-9 victory before 1,052 fans at Municipal Stadium.

The Suns (7-8) trailed 7-0 after 2 1/2 innings, but scored six runs to claw back into the game in the bottom of the third and kept chipping away to tie the game and pull out the victory. The win broke Hagerstown’s five-game losing streak — the Suns are 2-7 in their last nine.

Skole reached base in five of his six plate appearances, including three walks. He was 2 for 3 — including an eighth-inning single — and raised his South Atlantic League-leading RBI total to 18.

It was a long and winding road to victory for the Suns, who gave up a six-run first inning and another run in the top of the third before starting the comeback in the bottom half, with their own six-run rally highlighted by a grand slam by Adrian Nieto.

Jason Martinson started the game-winning rally in the 10th with a single off of Duke’s glove, moments before Skole launched a shot to right field that cleared the inner fence to give Hagerstown the victory.

The homer made a winner of Aaron Barrett (1-0), Hagerstown’s fifth pitcher of the night, who shut down Lakewood (7-8) for 1 1/3 innings, including three strikeouts. Barrett entered with two outs and two on in the ninth and struck out Kyrell Hudson to send the game into extra innings.

Forgotten in the shuffle was the quick and painful outing by Hagerstown starter Chris McKenzie, who failed to get out of the first inning.

McKenzie had problems locating his pitches as he faced eight batters — six of whom scored — before he was lifted with only one out.

Gauntlett Eldemire led off with a walk and trotted home on Kelly Dugan’s one-out homer over the center-field wall to give Lakewood a quick 2-0 lead. The BlueClaws (6-9) loaded the bases and picked up the third run when Kyrell Hudson was hit by a pitch.

Tyler Greene cleared the bases with a two-run single to left field that J.P. Ramirez misplayed to allow Hudson to score from first to end McKenzie’s outing and give Lakewood a 6-0 lead after a half-inning.

McKenzie allowed five earned runs on three hits while walking two.

Lakewood made it 7-0 in the third inning off Christian Meza, as Logan Moore led off with a double and eventually scored on Greene’s sacrifice fly.

The Suns caught fire in the bottom half, as one swing swung the momentum against Lakewood starter Colin Kleven.

Hagerstown sent 11 hitters to the plate, loading the bases with one out. Martinson got the Suns on the scoreboard with a two-run double to cut the deficit to 7-2. After Skole walked to reload the bases, Nieto blasted a shot over the right-field wall for Hagerstown’s fourth grand slam of the season to cut the deficit to 7-6.

Makiel Franco greeted Hagerstown reliever Alex Kries by hitting the first pitch of the fifth inning over the left-field fence to give Lakewood an 8-6 lead.

The Suns got the run back in the bottom of the inning. J.P. Ramirez led off with a single to center and stole second before scoring on Billy Burns’ RBI single. Hagerstown came within inches of tying the game, as Burns stole second but was gunned out at the plate by Hudson on Cutter Dykstra’s single to center to end the inning.

Hagerstown took the lead in the sixth. Martinson singled and Skole walked with one out before Ramirez drew a two-out walk to load the bases and chase reliever Mario Hollands. Colby Schreve came on and was greeted by a two-run single by Jason Miller for his first hit in his last 25 at-bats to give the Suns a 9-8 lead.

Lackwood tied the game in the top of the seventh. Brian Pointer led off with a single, advanced on a wild pitch and took third on Franco’s single to left before scoring on Aaron Altherr’s sacrifice fly to left on Kries’ last pitch of the game.

Greene drove in three runs for Lakewood.

The Suns collected 15 hits, including three by Martinson, who had two RBIs.

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