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Suns rally to beat Tourists for sixth straight victory

August 16, 2013

The Hagerstown Suns scored three runs in the sixth inning to rally past the Asheville Tourists for a 5-3 South Atlantic League victory on Friday night in front of 2,026 fans at Municipal Stadium.

The Suns (72-49, 34-20) have won six straight. Hagerstown, the Northern Division’s first-half champions who already are assured a playoff spot, remained a half-game behind West Virginia in the race for the second-half title.

The Tourists (58-63, 20-33) took a 2-0 lead in the third inning against Suns starter Pedro Encarnacion. Derek Jones led off with a double to right, went to third on Rosell Herrera’s infield single in the hole at short, and scored on Francisco Sosa’s RBI groundout to third, with Herrera going to second. Herrera took third on Dillon Thomas’ groundout to second and scored when a pitch got past Suns catcher Pedro Severino.

The Suns cut the lead to 2-1 in the fourth against Asheville starter Jayson Aquino. Tony Renda hit a one-out single to center, and with two outs, Wander Ramos singled to left and Mike McQuillan hit an RBI single to right.

Hagerstown took the lead in the sixth. Ramos led off with a triple to center and scored on McQuillan’s RBI single to right to tie the game at 2. Estarlin Martinez followed with a double to right, putting runners on second and third, before a pitch got past Tourists catcher Michael Ramirez to allow McQuillan to score the go-ahead run.

After a walk to Will Piwnica-Worms, Aquino was pulled for reliever Andrew Brown, who gave up Severino’s RBI groundout to second that made it 4-2 before getting out of the jam.

The Suns padded their lead with a run in the seventh. Renda and Shawn Pleffner started the inning with singles to center and Renda scored on Ramos’ RBI groundout to second for a 5-2 advantage.

Asheville scored a harmless run in the ninth off Suns reliever Derek Self. Ben Waldrip walked, Max White singled to center and Juan Ciriaco hit a two-out RBI single to left.

Encarnacion (10-7) worked six innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks while striking out eight to get the win for the Suns. He struck out four Tourists in the first inning — with two outs, Herrera reached on a wild pitch on strike three.

Brown worked the final three innings, allowing one run on two hits and striking out three.

Aquino (0-6) worked five-plus innings for Asheville and took the loss, allowing four runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out five.

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