Suns sweep BlueClaws, can still win SAL North

June 15, 2013

HAGERSTOWN — Wilmer Difo’s two-run double in the seventh inning forced an extra inning, and Brandon Miller’s walk-off single in the eighth gave the Hagerstown Suns a 3-2 victory over the Lakewood BlueClaws in the opening game of Saturday’s South Atlantic League doubleheader at Municipal Stadium.

Hagerstown stayed red-hot after the rally and finished off the sweep with a 9-3 victory in the nightcap.

The Suns (37-29) are a half-game behind Hickory (39-30) — which blew out Delmarva 12-0 on Saturday — in the race for the Northern Division’s first-half title, which will be decided Sunday. Hagerstown closes its first-half schedule when the Suns host Lakewood (26-40) Sunday afternoon at 1:05.

Willie Carmona opened the scoring in Saturday’s opener with a solo home run in the second inning off Suns starter Ivan Pineyro.

The BlueClaws took a 2-0 lead in the fourth. Mitch Walding hit a one-out double to right and Pineyro uncorked two wild pitches to allow the run.

Lakewood starter Shane Watson worked five scoreless innings, allowing three hits and two walks while striking out four.

BlueClaws reliever Delvi Francisco blew a save opportunity in the seventh as the Suns tied the game with two runs to force extra innings. Stephen Perez led off with a single, and Wes Schill and Wilmer Difo hit back-to-back doubles with one out. Difo’s double to right scored both runs.

That got Pineyro off the hook. He worked six innings, allowing two runs on four hits and a walk while striking out five.

Hagerstown won the game against Geoff Broussard (2-1) in the eighth, needing only two hitters to finish things. Shawn Pleffner led off with a double to right and Miller followed with his single to left.

Hagerstown reliever Cody Davis (1-0) got the win, walking one and striking out two in two scoreless innings.

The Suns wasted no time taking control of the nightcap with four runs in the first inning against BlueClaws starter Steven Inch (1-3), who lasted just two innings. Singles by Tony Renda and Khayyan Norfork set the table for Miller’s two-run double to right — the first of three straight two-baggers. Will Piwnica-Worms and Estarlin Martinez followed with doubles, Martinez’s driving in two for the 4-0 lead.

Lakewood cut the lead in half with a two-run second off Hagerstown starter Reynaldo Lopez, making his first appearance with the Suns. Art Charles hit a leadoff single and Larry Greene blasted a two-run homer to center, his first of the season.

The Suns answered with three runs on three singles, two walks and Miller’s sacrifice fly in the bottom half for a 7-2 lead. Piwnica-Worms’ single drove in two.

The BlueClaws cut the lead to 7-3 in the third on a walk, two singles and Larry Greene’s sacrifice fly.

Hagerstown made it 9-3 in the bottom of the third with two runs off reliever Chris Nichols. Pedro Severino hit a ground-rule double and scored when Renda reached on a throwing error. Pleffner added a two-out RBI triple to center.

Suns reliever Travis Henke (2-1) earned the win with three innings of scoreless relief, allowing just one hit while striking out three.

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