HICKORY, N.C. — Steven Souza knows how to make an entrance.
The Hagerstown outfielder came up with his second three-hit game since coming off the disabled list to lead the Suns to an 8-6 victory and a three-game sweep of Hickory on Wednesday.
Souza is 6-for-10 — including two home runs and seven RBIs — since being activated Tuesday after being placed on the disabled list after suffering a shoulder impingement, caused from making two diving catches against Augusta on May 6.
It still pales in comparison to Souza’s April 25 debut with the Suns when he had four hits and nine RBIs to ignite a 24-2 victory over Rome.
On Wednesday, he had three hits and four RBIs to help starter Nathan Karns win his first game with six innings of work.
The victory moves the Suns (21-15) two games clear of Hickory for second place in the South Atlantic League Northern Division. Hagerstown ended its six-game road trip with a 4-2 record.
The Suns led 6-2 after three innings, using a four-run second to take control of the game.
Souza gave the Suns a 1-0 lead in the first with an RBI single and added a run-scoring hit in the second.
Hagerstown went up 5-2 in the second against Hickory starter Luke Jackson (2-4), also getting a bases-loaded fielder’s choice grounder from Billy Burns and a bases-loaded walk to Matt Skole. The fifth run scored on a balk.
Brett Newsome led off the third with his fourth home run of the season to put the Suns up 6-2.
After Hickory used a three-run seventh to close to within 6-5, Souza homered to lead off the eighth and hit a grounder to score Martinson in the ninth to complete Hagerstown’s scoring.
The Crawdads’ Jeremy Williams homered with two outs in the ninth to give Hickory its final run.
Karns allowed two runs on five hits, while striking out five as the first of five Suns pitchers to work on Wednesday.