Ninth Inning Rally Lifts Hagerstown Past Lakewood
Trailing by one run in the top of the ninth, the Hagerstown Suns (8-7) scored five times en route to defeating the Lakewood BlueClaws (8-7) 11-7 at FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood, NJ on Thursday.
The Suns fell behind early, as Lakewood scored a run in the bottom of the first inning of Hagerstown starting pitcher Paul Demny, but rallied for three runs in the top of the third to take a 3-1 lead.
The lead was extended to 5-1 after the top of the fifth inning as third baseman Steven Souza tripled to lead off the frame and first baseman Justin Bloxom followed with a double, driving in Souza. Bloxom then stole third base and scored on a groundout by DH Destin Hood.
However, the 5-1 lead would not hold up as Lakewood score three runs, two of them unearned, in the bottom of the fifth inning against Demny to cut the gap to 5-4.
Lakewood tied the game in the bottom of the sixth inning and took a 7-5 lead with two runs in the bottom of the seventh of Suns reliever Mitchell Clegg (1-0).
The Suns got an unearned run back in the top of the eighth inning before springing for five runs in the top of the ninth.
With two outs in the top of the ninth inning and a runner on first base, left fielder JP Ramirez tripled to left field to tie the game. After right fielder Marcus Jones walked, catcher Adrien Nieto singled, driving in Ramirez. Nieto attempted to advance to second on the relay throw to the plate, but was caught in a rundown.
Jones, seeing Nieto hung up between first and second, broke for the plate and scored with a fantastic slide around the tag by Lakewood catcher Kyle LaFrenz. Nieto would later score on a single by center fielder Eury Perez. Perez also scored in the inning, giving the Suns the 11-7 lead.
Dean Weaver pitched a scoreless bottom of the ninth inning, nailing down the win for Hagerstown.
The lefthander Clegg earned the win with three and one thirds innings of work. Demny, the Suns starter, pitched four and two thirds innings and allowed four runs, but the Suns defense committed four errors and only two of the runs against Demny were earned. The righthander also struck out five batters while walking just two.
The start of the game was delayed by 45 minutes due to rain in Lakewood.
The Suns have now won two out of three games against the BlueClaws in this series. The fourth and final game will come on Friday, April 23rd at 7:05 p.m.
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