Hagerstown Suns Game Notes
The Suns continue their homestand for Comic-Con night at Municipal Stadium Saturday night. Gates open at 5 p.m. for the 6:05 contest. Hagerstown sends RHP Tomas Alastre (3-2, 4.79 ERA) to the bump, while Hickory tosses RHP Tim Brennan (2-2, 5.45 ERA).
THREE-RUN FIFTH VAULTS SUNS OVER CRAWDADS: The Suns scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth off a pair of errors from the Hickory Crawdads to put them in front 3-2 in the series opener at Municipal Stadium Friday night. The frame started with an Omar Meregildo walk before back-to-back singles from Kyle Marinconz and Trey Vickers loaded the bases. In his Suns (18-22) debut, Ricardo Mendez dribbled a ball up the first baseline and reached on a fielder's choice from Crawdads' (26-14) starter Tyree Thompson (L, 0-1), who threw an errant ball home to allow Meregildo to reach.After that, Cody Wilson hit a sacrifice bunt that plated Vickers to tie the game. Wilson made it safely to first off a throwing error from Thompson. The final run of the frame scored on a Gilbert Lara strikeout. The wild pitch carried to the backstop allowing the shortstop to reach first safely and scoring Mendez for the go-ahead run.
ONE RUN, NO FUN: Through 40 games, Hagerstown has been involved in 17 one-run games and has a 7-10 record. That includes six of their last nine games, which they have a 2-4 mark during. The next most-frequent run differential in Suns games this season is three runs. Hagerstown is 1-4 in three-run games this season. After 40 games last season, Hagerstown was 1-1 in one-run games. They finished the year 14-15 in games decided by a single run.
ARMS DEALING: After allowing 10 or more runs in back-to-back outings against the Greensboro Grasshoppers, the pitching staff has been absolutely electric. The staff earned its first shutout of the season May 10 vs the Lakewood BlueClaws and since April 29 has a 2.36 ERA, which is the top mark in the South Atlantic League over that time period and the fourth best mark of Minor League Baseball. The Quad Cities River Bandits are the lone Class-A team with a lower ERA during that stretch with a 2.18 mark. To widdle the numbers down further, Hagerstown has the best ERA in MiLB since May 3, at 1.86.
STARTING STRONG: After a slow April, where Suns starting pitching had a 4.43 ERA through 115.2 innings pitched, the rotation has kicked into high-gear for May. Through the first 15 games of May, starters have earned a 7-3 record to pair with a 1.86 ERA across 82.1 innings of work. The staff as a whole owns a 2.23 ERA, which is the fifth-best mark in all of Minor League Baseball, trailing the Hartford Yard Goats and St. Lucie Mets by .01 and .03, respectively. The best ERA in MiLB in May belongs to the Montgomery Biscuits, who are 12-5 with a 2.02 mark across 17 games. The Quad Cities River Bandits are second with a 2.04 ERA.
QUALITY CATE: The University of Connecticut-product has now issued six consecutive quality starts dating back to April 16. In that time frame, the Suns are 3-3, but he has worked 36 innings, allowing just eight runs (2.00 ERA) while fanning 38 batters. The southpaw also leads the Suns in ERA (1.99), WHIP (0.95), wins (3), strikeouts (50) and innings pitched (45.1). 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.
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