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Ortega flexes muscles to lift Suns to win

August 28, 2012

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Bryce Ortega hasn’t been known as much of a power hitter.

Singles and getting on base have been his forte.

Until Tuesday.

Ortega collected three hits — including his first home run of the season — and drove in four runs as the Hagerstown Suns unloaded an 8-0 pasting on Greensboro.

Ortega also added a two-run triple and doubled and scored to complete three-quarters of a hitting cycle.

With the win, the Suns (80-51, 38-24) reduced their magic number to win the South Atlantic League Northern Division’s second-half title to three.

If the Suns win the half, they will face Greensboro, the first-half champions, in a three-game Northern Division playoff.

The Suns broke through for three runs in the third inning, capped by Ortega’s drive down the left-field line.

Caleb Ramsey led off the inning with a single off Greensboro starter Josh Hodges (8-9) and stole second before advancing to third on J.R. Higley’s grounder.

After Ortega homered, Billy Burns singled and eventually scored on Cutter Dykstra’s hit for the 3-0 lead.

Hagerstown picked up four runs in the seventh, started by Ortega’s two-run triple. Burns and Dykstra added RBI hits as the Suns took a 7-0 lead.

Ortega doubled in the ninth and took third on reliever John Omahen’s balk before scoring on a wild pitch.

Suns starter Wirkin Estevez lasted only four innings, before giving way to Greg Holt. Holt (4-2) pitched three hitless innings to gain the win.

Dykstra finished with three hits for the Suns, while Burns added two. N.C. — Bryce Ortega hasn’t been known as much of a power hitter.

Singles and getting on base have been his forte.

Until Tuesday.

Ortega collected three hits — including his first home run of the season — and drove in four runs as the Hagerstown Suns unloaded an 8-0 pasting on Greensboro.

Ortega also added a two-run triple and doubled and scored to complete three-quarters of a hitting cycle.

With the win, the Suns (80-51, 38-24) reduced their magic number to win the South Atlantic League Northern Division’s second-half title to three.

If the Suns win the half, they will face Greensboro, the first-half champions, in a three-game Northern Division playoff.

The Suns broke through for three runs in the third inning, capped by Ortega’s drive down the left-field line.

Caleb Ramsey led off the inning with a single off Greensboro starter Josh Hodges (8-9) and stole second before advancing to third on J.R. Higley’s grounder.

After Ortega homered, Billy Burns singled and eventually scored on Cutter Dykstra’s hit for the 3-0 lead.

Hagerstown picked up four runs in the seventh, started by Ortega’s two-run triple. Burns and Dykstra added RBI hits as the Suns took a 7-0 lead.

Ortega doubled in the ninth and took third on reliever John Omahen’s balk before scoring on a wild pitch.

Suns starter Wirkin Estevez lasted only four innings, before giving way to Greg Holt. Holt (4-2) pitched three hitless innings to gain the win.

Dykstra finished with three hits for the Suns, while Burns added two.

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