'Birds Split Twin Bill in Hub City
HAGERSTOWN, MD - The Delmarva Shorebirds split a doubleheader with the Hagerstown Suns on Saturday night at Municipal Stadum. The Suns (30-31, 61-71) cruised 5-1 in the opener, while the Shorebirds (38-22, 86-43) snuck by 1-0 in extras in the nightcap.
Tomas Alastre (5-12) went the distance for the Suns, giving up one run on two hits over all seven innings on the hill with two walks and six strikeouts. Grayson Rodriguez (8-4) endured a rare off night for the Shorebirds, allowing four runs on six hits in 4.2 frames with two walks and five punchouts.
Rodriguez, who pitched a perfect first to extend his hitless streak to nine full innings, saw that streak go up in smoke in the second. Jacob Rhinesmith clubbed the first pitch of the inning for a line drive homer, putting Hagerstown on the board. Israel Pineda followed with a base hit, and two batters later Tyler Cropley singled. Trey Vickers then walked, and Armond Upshaw lined a single up the middle to score Pineda and put the Suns up 2-0.
Delmarva got one of those runs back in the top of the fourth. Johnny Rizer rolled a one-out single up the middle, extending his hitting streak to 11 games. After Adam Hall grounded Rizer to second, Toby Welk lined a base hit into right center, scoring Rizer to cut the deficit to 2-1.
The Suns answered in kind in the fifth. Jackson Cluff led off with a double, then after a flyout Drew Mendoza drew a walk. A groundout advanced the runners to second and third, and Rodriguez came out of the game at 94 pitches in favor of Juan Echevarria. Pineda greeted Echevarria with a slow chopper up the third base line for an infield hit, scoring Cluff. Phil Caulfield then belted a double, scoring two more runs to make it 5-1 Suns.
Welk went 1-for-3 with an RBI in his Shorebird debut. His and Rizer's singles were the only hits in the game for Delmarva.
Pineda finished 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored to lead the way for the Suns.
Scoreless after a regulation seven innings, the Shorebirds finally broke through in the top of the eighth. With two out and free runner Jean Carlos Encarnacion at second, Cody Roberts dropped a soft line drive into center for a single, bringing Encarnacion around to make it 1-0 Delmarva.
Ruben Garcia came on for the eighth and promptly picked free runner Kyle Marinconz off of second base for the first out. This ended up saving a run, as Cole Daily lined a double to left center moments later. After striking out Trey Vickers, Garcia worked a full count on Armond Upshaw and walked him. Garcia went full again to Cluff but blew a 3-2 fastball by him for strike three, nailing down the Shorebirds' 19th shutout win of the season.
Ryan Wilson (6-4) was practically unhittable in his first win since July 15, giving up just one hit over seven scoreless with three walks and five strikeouts for his eighth Quality Start of the year. Alex Tropp (1-2) took the loss in relief for the Suns after giving up the unearned run in the eighth.
The game saw offense at a severe premium as both teams combined for just five hits on the night. Adam Hall singled and Alexis Torres doubled in the first and second, respectively, for Delmarva, the only other hits they had besides Roberts' game-winner in the eighth.
Justin Connell singled to lead off the bottom of the fourth for the lone hit against Wilson. Mendoza followed and lined out to center, and Delmarva's Nick Horvath came up firing to double off Connell from first base to end any threat before it could begin.
Wilson ran out of steam and walked Rhinesmith and Nic Perkins back-to-back with two out in the seventh. With the winning run in scoring position, Wilson dug deep and got Marinconz to fly out harmlessly to center, capping his seven-inning masterpiece at exactly 100 pitches.
Rizer went 0-for-2 with a HBP, seeing his hitting streak come to an end at 11 games.
Hagerstown's Jackson Stoeckinger matched Wilson through a five-inning scoreless start, giving up two hits and walking none while fanning four.
The Shorebirds turn around and go for the series win over the Suns in the rubber match on Sunday afternoon. Hector Guance (8-5, 4.08) is set to start for Delmarva against Hagerstown's Jake Irvin (6-8, 4.18). First pitch is set for 2:05 p.m., and pregame coverage on Fox Sports 960 AM and the MiLB First Pitch App begins at 1:50 with Will DeBoer on the call.
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