HAGERSTOWN — The Hagerstown Suns know how to perform in character.
While dressed in dark blue Union Army jerseys, Hagerstown conquered with a Hill to claim victory in a Civil War themed night.
Taylor Hill came on in relief in the second inning and pitched seven strong innings to lead the Suns to a 5-1 victory over Lakewood before 1,506 fans at Municipal Stadium.
Hill, who was scheduled to start, replaced Washington Nationals pitcher Cole Kimball after a one-inning rehabilitation start and took total control of Lakewood’s offense. Hill (7-4) allowed one unearned run on four hits with a walk and four strikeouts. The Suns chipped in with two double plays to kill most of the BlueClaws’ threats.
Hagerstown (43-28, 1-1) used a four-run second inning — highlighted by a Brian Goodwin three-run home run — to end a three-game losing streak.
The rally was helped along as Lakewood starter Ramon Oviedo became unnerved by the ball-and-strike calls of home plate umpire Dane Ratijski in the inning.
After Steven Souza Jr. led off the second with a double to left, Oviedo became unnerved while issuing consecutive walks to Brett Newsome and Bryce Ortega to load the bases with none out.
With one out, Billy Burns kept the inning alive by beating out the relay on a possible double play grounder to short to score Souza with the first run. Goodwin cleared the bases with a three-run home run over the right-field fence, which just eluded the reach of BlueClaws outfielder Kelly Dugan.
Lakewood (27-44, 1-1) got a run back in the fourth off Hill as Dugan reached first on an one-out error by first baseman Brett Newsome. Chris Duffy and Aaron Altherr followed with singles to score the run and cut the deficit to 4-1.
The Suns got the run back in the seventh when Matt Skole hit a high drive over the right-field wall off Lakewood reliever Michael Neeseth. Skole’s 15th homer moved him into the South Atlantic League lead.
Colin Bates pitched a perfect ninth inning to seal the victory.
Cutter Dykstra had three hits and Souza added two to lead the Suns.
Kimball started his rehabilitation with the Suns to start his comeback from rotator cuff surgery. He threw 17 pitches and allowed a two-out double to Dugan but collected two strikeouts before leaving the game in favor of Hill.