Hagerstown Suns: Game Notes
The Suns play their penultimate game of the season against the Lakewood BlueClaws at 2:05 p.m. at Municipal Stadium. RHP Reid Schaller (4-3, 3.31 ERA) toes the rubber for the Suns, while Lakewood counters with RHP Francisco Morales (1-7, 3.72 ERA).
EARLY OFFENSE, STRONG PITCHING CULMINATES IN 6-1 WIN: The Suns scored in each of the first three innings to upend the BlueClaws 6-1 in Saturday's contest at Municipal Stadium. Nic Perkins started the scoring for Hagerstown (64-74, 34-34), lacing a double down the left field line to score Jackson Cluff and Drew Mendoza in the first inning. Perkins was not done there. He led off the third with a double and scored from a Phil Caulfield groundout to put the Suns in front of Lakewood (57-79, 28-38) 6-0. The scoring was rounded out with a three-run second inning for Hagerstown. After a lead-off single from Trey Vickers, Armond Upshaw smoked his fourth triple of the season down the right field line to put the Suns in front 3-0. Justin Connell joined the scoring effort with a single to drive in the center fielder prior to Drew Mendoza capping off the frame with a double that scored Connell. After that, Rafi Gonell (L, 4-3) left the game, having given up a handful of earned runs in just two innings.
TAKING THE BULL BY THE HORNS: Despite allowing one run in three frames last night, the pen finished August on a high note. Since the start of August, the bullpen has been one of the top units in Minor League Baseball, surrendering just 26 earned runs across 104.2 innings (2.24 ERA).
STRONG FINISH: Jake Irvin started rolling in the second half of the season. After posting a 5.11 ERA in the first half through 72 innings while allowing opponents to hit .274 against him, he shut bats down in the second half. Following the break, Irvin fanned 63 batters in 56.1 innings . While holding opponents to a .229 average, he had a 2.75 ERA in the second half. The Oklahoma-product also tossed his team-leading 10 quality start of the season yesterday. He went six scoreless innings with eight strikeouts last night.
GETTING OVER THE HUMP: Last night, both Nic Perkins and Trey Vickers started with their batting average at or below .200. The first two times through the order, Perkins got a pair of doubles and Vickers stroked two singles. It was enough to get both players over the Mendoza line to put every player in yesterday's line-up over .200. To put that into perspective, Lakewood finished yesterday with four hitters batting worse than .200.
GETTING WINS.... AT NIGHT: Last night was the final night game of the season for Hagerstown. Despite sitting 10 games below .500 overall, the Suns finished 55-54 in night caps.
THE LONGEST ROAD: Reid Schaller has found his home away from home in his last few outings. In his last 20 innings on the road, the Vanderbilt-product has allowed just one run to score and in the mean-time has given up just eight hits. Adding to that, he has been able to make a ton of bats miss, recording 22 strikeouts over the last 20 frames and a dizzying career-high eight in his outing last Thursday. Schaller was able to keep it going at Municipal Stadium Wednesday, striking out six more while allowing just one earned run.
COUNTING IT DOWN: Hagerstown has just two games remaining this season, both of which are at Municipal Stadium. Today is Sunday Funday and tomorrow the Suns will have "Thirsty Thursday" specials available for fans for Labor Day.
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