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Stefan, 'Claws make Suns look ordinary

August 07, 2013|By BOB PARASILITI | bobp@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — When the Hagerstown Suns can do all the little things, they are something special.

When they can’t, they are rather ordinary.

It was an ordinary Wednesday at Municipal Stadium.

Lakewood starter Jeb Stefan set the tone with six innings of one-hit pitching as the BlueClaws did all the things the Suns are normally known for doing to pull out a 6-1 victory to end a seven-game losing streak before 915 fans in rainy conditions.

“That’s baseball,” said Suns manager Tripp Keister. “Our guys gave great effort like they normally do. Their pitcher had something to do with it. He did a nice job and they got a couple of hits to stretch it out.”

Alejandro Villalobos drove in two runs with a double and a triple as the BlueClaws dripped and trickled to runs, leaving the Suns stinging in the rain.

The BlueClaws scored single runs in the middle three innings and iced the game with a three-run eighth. The Suns averted the shutout with a run in the ninth, but still made it known that they weren’t rolling over and playing dead.

“Even though we were down, we still had the tying run on deck with two outs in the ninth,” Keister said. “That makes me proud because we tell the guys that every out means something and they still stayed with it. (Lakewood) laid off some close pitches and got a couple of big two-out hits.”

The loss was the Suns’ second in eight games. Hagerstown (66-47, 28-18), the first-half champions, remained 1 1/2 games behind West Virginia in the South Atlantic League Northern Division second-half standings. The Power lost 7-1 to Delmarva on Wednesday.

Stefan and Suns starter Ian Dickson locked up in a pitching duel over the first three innings, allowing one hit between the two of them. Stefan (4-6) was able to keep working, while the night ended early for Dickson.

Lakewood led 2-0 heading into the top of the sixth, when Art Charles led off with a hot shot up the middle that hit Dickson just below his left ankle. Dickson tried to shake the injury, but left the game in favor of Cody Davis.

Davis got Mitch Walding to fly out before Villalobos hit an RBI double down the left-field line to score Charles from first for a 3-0 lead.

“Ian gave us a good start,” Keister said. “He tried to stay in but we decided to take him out because he was nearing his pitch limit and as a precaution.”

Meanwhile, Stefan logged his six innings, only allowing the one hit — a fourth-inning single to Estarlin Martinez — and three walks while striking out four.

Lakewood took a 1-0 lead with a run in the fourth as William Carmona led off with a double to center and moved to third on Charles’ grounder to first. Walding lofted a sacrifice fly to center to put the BlueClaws on the scoreboard.

The BlueClaws made it 2-0 in the fifth as Chad Carman hit a one-out single to right and took second when Brian Pointer drew a two-out walk. Larry Greene Jr. came up with an RBI single to center.

The Suns made their bid to erase the 3-0 lead in the seventh when Will Piwnica-Worms drew a leadoff walk against Lakewood reliever Chris Burgess and Khayyan Norfork singled to put runners on first and second with none out. Stephen Perez hit into a double play and Pedro Severino struck out to end the threat.

“We had our chance with runners on first and second with none outs and didn’t come through,” Keister said.

Lakewood iced with three runs in the eighth off Hagerstown reliever Justin Thomas. Walding reached on a single and scored on Villalobos’ triple. Carman reached on third baseman Mike McQuillan’s error and Brian Pointer added an RBI single to cap the BlueClaws’ rally.

Perez hit an RBI single in the ninth off Delvi Francisco in the ninth before the Suns loaded bases with two outs. McQuillan flew out to left to end the game.

Dickson (2-3) took the loss, allowing three runs on five hits with two walks, while striking out three.

Lakewood finished with 10 hits with Villalobos and Angelo Mora collecting two each.

The Suns finished with five hits.

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