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Suns' loss gives West Virginia second-half SAL North crown

September 01, 2013

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — A strike-three wild pitch with two outs, a throwing error on a bunt, and an ill-timed rainstorm left the Hagerstown Suns on the losing end of a 5-3 decision against the Kannapolis Intimidators that was called official after 5 1/2 innings on Sunday.

West Virginia swept a doubleheader at Lexington on Sunday to clinch the second-half championship in the South Atlantic League’s Northern Division. After the Suns (80-56, 42-26) — who won the first-half title — wrap up the regular season with a final game at Kannapolis (60-76, 32-35) on Monday afternoon, they will travel to Charleston, W.Va., to face the Power in the first game of the best-of-3 Northern Division playoff series. Games 2 and 3 (if necessary) will be played at Municipal Stadium on Friday and Saturday nights.

The Intimidators opened the scoring with a three-run second inning off Suns starter Pedro Encarnacion (10-9). It started with three straight singles to right by Keon Barnum, Brent Tanner and Kale Kiser, loading the bases. With one out, Nick Basto hit a two-run single to right and Cleuluis Rondon followed with an RBI single to left.

The Suns tied the game with three runs in the top of the fourth off Intimidators starter Jefferson Olacio (6-11). Stephen Perez led off with a walk and Shawn Pleffner singled to left. With one out, Khayyan Norfork drove a two-run double to left and took third on a throwing error. With two outs, Estarlin Martinez reached on a throwing error, allowing the tying run to score.

Kannapolis regained the lead with two runs in the bottom of the fourth, and it started with a two-out wild pitch on strike three, allowing Basto to reach base. Rondon bunted for a single and a throwing error moved the runners to second and third. Jacob May followed with a two-run single to right for a 5-3 lead.

Olacio went the distance for the Intimidators, allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits and a walk while striking out four.

Encarnacion took the loss for the Suns, allowing five runs (four earned) on 10 hits. He struck out eight.

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