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Purke does work, but Legends rally to sink Suns

June 28, 2013|By BOB PARASILITI | bobp@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — There’s a reason why the Hagerstown Suns don’t own a patent on their style of play.

It doesn’t work all the time.

Lexington turned Hagerstown’s attributes into flaws on Friday before scoring three runs in the ninth inning to claim a come-from-behind 3-2 victory before 1,391 fireworks fanatics at Municipal Stadium.

The Legends (38-30, 5-4) did all the exploding early to provide the matinee for the real show. Mark Threlkeld hit a game-tying two-run home run before Bubba Starling drove in the game-winning run with a sacrifice fly to snatch the win from the Suns.

“You don’t like losing late like this,” said Suns manager Tripp Keister. “It’s happened to us a couple of times the last week. It just proves that you have to play all 27 outs, but when you make four outs on the bases, it makes it tough to come back.”

Lexington used the Suns’ aggressive style of play against them, as catcher Cam Gallagher threw out three base stealers — two at third base — and the Legends got a fourth on a pickoff that pulled the fuse out of Hagerstown’s attack. It cost the Suns (43-33, 5-4) scoring opportunities in the fourth, sixth and eighth innings.

“I love the fact that we were aggressive on the bases,” Keister said. “I don’t think its a matter that it backfired on us. That’s the kind of things we have to do to win games.”

The loss turned a win into a no-decision for Suns starter Matt Purke. Purke took another step ahead after opening the season on the disabled list by pitching six one-hit innings while striking out seven. Terrance Gore led off the game with a single for the only hit the Legends got against the left-hander.

“Purke was dominating,” Keister said. “Purke, (Bryan) Harper and (Christian) Meza all threw well.”

Three fly balls off Suns reliever Derek Self (0-1) turned the game around for the Legends.

Raul Mondesi led off the inning with a single and came home on Threlkeld’s game-tying homer to right.

The second fly was a liner to right by Fred Ford that Brandon Miller lost in the lights for a triple. Starling hit the third one, a fly to right that Miller caught and gunned to the plate well in front of Ford, who sneaked under Craig Manuel’s tag to give the Legends the lead.

“You have to give them credit,” Keister said. “They hung in there and then got a base hit and a fly for a home run. It was unfortunate to lose a ball in the lights, but he came back with a great throw that they just scored on.”

The Suns drew first blood with two runs in the fifth inning with three straight hits off Lexington starter Crawford Simmons.

Wes Schill led off with a double down the right-field line and took third on Manuel’s single to left. Narcisa Mesa brought in the run with a single to left for the 1-0 lead.

Meza kept the outburst alive by stealing second and advancing to third on a catching error by Kenny Diekroeger. After Stephen Perez drew a walk, Shawn Pleffner lined another single to left to give Hagerstown a 2-0 advantage and chase Simmons from the game.

Reliever Matt Murray came on to end the rally by striking out Miller.

Harper pitched the seventh and Meza worked the eighth as the Suns held Lexington to two hits through eight innings before turning over the two-run lead to Self in the ninth. Self allowed three runs on four hits to get the loss.

Ali Williams (4-4), Lexington’s third of four pitchers, got the win by pitching the eighth before Mark Peterson earned his eighth save.

The Suns had nine hits, led by Pleffner with two.

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