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Suns' big statement shrinks after shaky ninth inning

May 28, 2012

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The Hagerstown Suns got Greensboro’s attention on Monday.

They are serious about challenging the first-place Grasshoppers for the South Atlantic League Northern Division’s first-half title.

The Suns used a six-run third inning — highlighted by Matt Skole’s two-run home run — to set the tone, but needed a two-run single by Billy Burns in the ninth for a 9-7 victory over Greensboro and close to within 5 1/2 games of the lead.

Hagerstown withstood the Grasshopper’s six-run ninth, including Ryan Goetz’s grand slam, to hold on for the win.

The Suns (30-20) have won five of their last six games since losing two of three games to the Grasshoppers (36-15) last week at Municipal Stadium.

Hagerstown sent 11 hitters to the plate in the third against Greensboro starter Charlie Lowell.

Brian Goodwin and Billy Burns each drove in runs on infield singles before scoring themselves on Jason Martinson’s two-run double. Skole followed with his 11th home run for the 6-0 lead.

The Suns made it 7-0 in the fifth on Adrian Nieto’s sacrifice fly to score Martinson to end Lowell’s day. Martinson scored for his league-leading 54th time.

Lowell (3-2) allowed seven runs on nine hits in his start.

The Grasshoppers got a run back in the bottom of the inning against Hagerstown starter Alex Meyer (3-3).

Wilfredo Gimenez lead off with a single and advanced on a wild pitch before Austin Barnes walked, to set u8p Terrence Dayleg’s RBI single to cut the deficit to six.

Meyer, the Washington Nationals’ first selection in the 2011 draft, allowed the one run on five hits, while walking two and striking out three in his five innings of work.

Bobby Lucas pitched the ninth, allowing six runs on three hits in one-third inning before Aaron Barrett came on to get the save.

The Suns finished with 11 hits, led by Burns with two hits and three RBIs, while Martinson and Skole drove in two runs each.

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