Perez paces Suns to split with 'Jackets

April 25, 2013

HAGERSTOWN — The Hagerstown Suns showed what kind of game they need to play to win on Thursday.

Then, they showed the game they can’t afford when they lost.

Stephen Perez collected both of Hagerstown’s hits — including his first home run of the season — to help the Suns grab a 4-0 win over Augusta in the opener. But Hagerstown’s defense let down in the nightcap, allowing three unearned runs in a 3-2 loss.

Hagerstown (11-10) has made a habit of playing close games, where the slightest break decides the outcome.

In the opener, Perez broke out of a slump to lift the Suns. The shortstop entered the game hitting just .143 over his last eight games (4 for 28).

Perez, batting ninth, hit a two-run double in the second and a two-run home run in the fourth to provide all the support Ronald Pena (1-2) needed.

Pena pitched five scoreless innings, allowing three hits, while walking three and striking out two.

Brian Rauh allowed one hit over the last two innings to seal the victory.

Augusta starter Chris Stratton (2-1) pitched a complete-game loss, allowing the two run on four hits with three walks while striking out 11 over six innings.

In the nightcap, the Suns blew a 2-0 lead by committing two errors in the fourth to allow the GreenJackets (13-7) to score all they needed to win.

Perez committed a fielding error on Ben Turner’s grounder to put runners on first and second with one out. Charles Jones followed with a single to load the bases.

Augusta scored on Stephen Branca’s single and tied the game on Andrew Cain’s sacrifice fly that left fielder Wes Schill dropped. Hagerstown starter Pedro Encarnacion walked Brad Moss for the go-ahead run before leaving the game.

Encarnacion (1-1) lasted 3 1/3 innings allowing the three unearned runs on five hits, while walking two and striking out one.

The Suns took a 1-0 lead in the first against Augusta starter Joan Gregorio as Tony Renda led off with a single and scored on Shawn Pleffner’s two-out double.

Hagerstown made it 2-0 in the third when Renda drew a leadoff walk off GreenJackets reliever Brandon Farley and stole second, before scoring on another two-out double by Pleffner.

The Suns turned seven double plays in the doubleheader, but also struck out 21 times in the twinbill.

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