Hagerstown Suns Game Notes
This morning the Suns continue their three-game series with the Lakewood BlueClaws at 11:05 a.m. at FirstEnergy Park. LHP Tim Cate (3-2, 1.60 ERA) gets the nod for Hagerstown, while RHP Tyler McKay (1-2, 7.08 ERA) starts things out for Lakewood.
THREE-RUN HOMER CLOUDS SUNS START: Righty Joan Adon allowed just two hits in five innings, but the start was not enough to keep the BlueClaws at-bay in the Suns 4-3 loss at FirstEnergy Park Tuesday night. Matt Kroon took advantage of a 2-1 pitch with two outs in the eighth inning from Ryan Tapani (L, 2-3), blasting it beyond the left field fence to score Jonathan Guzman and Luis Garcia to vault the BlueClaws (12-24) in front 4-3. Hagerstown's (17-20) bats got going early again. Gilbert Lara doubled in the first, before moving to third and scoring off two separate passed balls from starter Ethan Lindow to push the Suns in front 1-0. Jacob Rhinesmith added another run in the third while lacing his 12th double of the season into right field. Trey Vickers scored and Rhinesmith moved his hitting streak to nine games, which matches his season-high. He set that April 15-25. The lead swelled to as much as 3-1 after Lara laid a bunt down for a single in the top of the eighth to allow Cody Wilson to scamper home.
ARMS DEALING: After allowing 10 or more runs in back-to-back outings against the Greensboro Grasshoppers, the pitching staff rebounded on the seven-game road trip. In those seven games, the starters logged four quality starts and twice had worked five or more innings, allowing just one run, but didn't go the six required for a quality start. Joan Adon and Tim Cate continued that torrid stretch in the Suns homestand, spinning twelve combined innings while allowing two runs and each earning a quality start. Friday, the Suns earned their first shutout of the season, blanking Lakewood 3-0. The staff as a whole has a 2.34 ERA with 112 strikeouts across 115.1 innings in their last 12 games. The best team ERA in the South Atlantic League over the same length of time belongs to the Lakewood BlueClaws, who own a 2.18 ERA, but are just 4-8 in their last 12 games since April 29.
8 TRACK TAR: The Suns have gotten jammed in the eighth inning a few times this year, including last night, where they gave up three-runs and the lead in the eighth frame. This season, the Suns have given up 28 runs in the inning, but have only scored 16. Not only are the 28 runs the most runs the Suns have given up in an inning this year, but the -12 differential is the highest of any inning as well. The next-closest innings to the eighth inning is the first, where they've given up 26 runs and the fourth, where they have a run differential of -10.
QUALITY CATE: The University of Connecticut-product has now issued five consecutive quality starts dating back to April 16. In that time frame, the Suns are 3-2, but he has worked 30 innings, allowing just five runs (1.50 ERA) while fanning 34 batters. The southpaw also leads the Suns in ERA (1.60), WHIP (0.89), wins (3), strikeouts (46) and innings pitched (39.1). The 2018 second round pick pitched in four games for Hagerstown last year and fininshed with 19 strikeouts in 21 innings to pair with a 5.57 ERA.
TWO FOR THE SHOW: With Lara's homer in the top of the third inning with two outs Monday, Lara now has hit six of his team-high seven homers this season with two outs. In addition to that, three of his seven homers this season have been two-run blasts. Half of the Dominican-native's homers have come in the seventh inning or later this year.
SUN SPOTS: After giving up just three earned runs in as many games against the BlueClaws in the last series at Municipal Stadium, the Suns gave up four in Tuesday's game, raising their team-ERA against Lakewood to 2.62 in 61 IP.
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