Suns' offense lights up Power with 17 hits

Skole hits SAL-leading 23rd home run of season, finishes with four RBIs

August 01, 2012

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Matthew Skole hit his South Atlantic League-leading 23rd home run of the season and finished with four RBIs, and the Hagerstown Suns finished with 17 hits in a 12-7 victory over the West Virginia Power on Wednesday.

Hagerstown (64-45, 22-18) climbed back into a first-place tie with West Virginia (45-65, 22-18) in the Northern Division. Hickory and Lakewood are a game back.

The Suns took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning against Power starter Mike Jefferson (4-7). With one out, Bryce Ortega singled before Skole homered.

West Virginia answered back with two runs in the bottom of the first against Hagerstown starter Brian Rauh (1-1). Alen Hanson hit a leadoff triple and scored on Ashley Ponce’s single. Ponce went to third on Gregory Polanco’s single to right and scored on a double-play grounder.

The Suns reclaimed the lead 3-2 in the third. Caleb Ramsey led off with a single but was retired at second on Bryce Ortega’s fielder’s choice grounder. Ortega stole second and scored on Justin Miller’s two-out single.

Hagerstown extended its lead to 6-2 with a three-run fourth. Brett Newsome was hit by a pitch with one out, J.R. Higley walked and Angelberth Montilla’s single drove in Newsome, with an error in center field allowing Higley to score all the way from first. Hendry Jimenez’s single moved Montilla to third, and he scored on Ramsey’s groundout.

The Power clawed back with a run with a three-run fifth. Elias Diaz and Hanson opened the inning with singles and Rauh threw away Ponce’s sacrifice bunt to allow Diaz to score and leave runners at second and third. A wild pitch scored Hanson, and Ponce scored on Jose Osuna’s sacrifice fly to cut the Suns’ lead to 6-5.

Hagerstown increased its lead to 8-5 in the seventh off reliever Joan Montero. Jimenez led off with a bunt single, Skole drew a two-out walk and a double-steal put them in scoring position before RBI singles by Miller and Adrian Nieto.

West Virginia cut it to 8-6 in the bottom half off reliever Ben Hawkins. Jose Osuna drew a two-out walk and scored on Dan Gamache’s double to left.

The Suns opened up a 12-6 lead with a four-run eighth off reliever Rinku Singh. Higley hit a leadoff single before Jimenez launched a two-run homer to left with one out. Singles by Ramsey and Ortega set up Skole’s two-run double to left.

The Power scored a run in the ninth off reliever Christopher McKenzie, who was hurt by two walks, a wild pitch and an error. Polanco hit an RBI single. But Colin Bates relieved McKenzie and got a popout with the bases loaded to end the game.

Jimenez went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, Miller went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and Ortega also went 3-for-5 for Hagerstown.

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