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Suns enjoy comforts of home

May 02, 2012|By BOB PARASILITI | bobp@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — The Hagerstown Suns have found something calming about playing at Municipal Stadium.

The Suns continued to defend their house and dominate opponents as they buried the Rome Braves 10-5 on Wednesday to start a seven-game homestand before 482 fans at the old ball yard.

Hagerstown (14-12) moved its home record to 8-2 as a couple of struggling players took advantage of home cooking to record the rather easy victory. The Suns used early home runs to establish the lead and finished it off with a five-run fifth inning to back Wirkin Estevez (3-1) in his third win.

Justin Martinson and Matt Skole — two of the struggling Suns — hit back-to-back homers to right with two outs in the first against Rome starter Rafael Briceno to get an early 2-0 advantage.

Martinson hit his fourth homer of the season to end an 0-for-15 streak. The shortstop’s last hit had come last Thursday at Rome against Briceno.

Skole followed with his fifth blast of the year on Briceno’s very next pitch to collect his South Atlantic League-leading 32nd RBI, ending a 5-for-24 stretch which included seven strikeouts.

Rome got a run back when Wil Skinner led off the second with a home run to left off Estevez.

The Suns got the run back in the bottom of the inning as Stephen Souza celebrated his return to Hagerstown — his fourth stint with the team — with a leadoff homer to left center. Souza has two homers, both against Rome, and has 10 of his 11 RBIs against the Braves.

The Suns blew the game open in the fifth. Billy Burns drew a leadoff walk and stole second before scoring on Martinson’s RBI bloop double. After Adrian Nieto drew a one-out walk, Souza cashed in with a two-run double to center to give Hagerstown a 6-1 lead and end Briceno’s evening.

Cole Rohrbough came on and allowed an RBI double to J.P. Ramirez and a run-scoring single to Caleb Ramsey to stake Hagerstown to a 8-2 lead.

Estevez cruised into the sixth inning before he faced any problems. Rome scored three runs and knocked him out of the game with Greg Holt coming on with one out. Skinner had an RBI single and Elmer Reyes hit a two-run double to right to cut the deficit to 8-4.

Estevez went 5 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on five hits while striking out six and walking three.

The Suns closed their scoring with an RBI double by Nieto in the sixth and Cutter Dykstra’s RBI double in the seventh.

Ramirez had three hits and Souza drove in three runs to lead Hagerstown.

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