Suns Drop Opener to Crawdads
HAGERSTOWN, MD - The Suns offense went quiet after a big fourth inning, resulting in a 6-3 loss to the Hickory Crawdads at Municipal Stadium Thursday.
Each team was able to muster one big inning, but the four-run fourth for Hickory (60-33, 19-8) outgunned Hagerstown's (40-57, 10-17) three-run third as the Crawdads took the series opener. The Suns are now 2-6 against Hickory on the season.
The Suns opened the scoring with a flurry of hits in the third inning. After Jackson Cluff singled to start the frame, Justin Connell roped an RBI double down the left field line to get Hagerstown on the board. Drew Mendoza followed with an RBI double of his own, and then a Kyle Marinconz RBI single later in the inning made it a three-run frame for the Suns.
Those three runs came against Crawdads starter Hans Crouse (W, 3-1), but that was all the Suns would get offensively Thursday night. Crouse ended up going five innings and allowing seven hits while striking out only one.
The four deciding Hickory runs came in the fourth against Suns starter Jake Irvin (L, 5-7). Miguel Aparicio started the frame with his 10th home run of the season, and then the Crawdads offense followed with four-consecutive singles, with the third one off the bat of Melvin Novoa bringing home a run. A Jonathan Ornelas sacrifice fly tied the game, and then Novoa scored on a passed ball that gave the Crawdads the lead 4-3.
Irvin was solid apart from that one big inning, and his day concluded after five innings. The righty allowed six hits and struck out four while only three of the four runs were earned.
The four runs turned out to be enough for Hickory, but they added two more for good measure in the eighth against Angel Guillen. After a leadoff walk, Tyreque Reed hit one in the air to left field that looked to hit off the wall, but it was a called a two-run home run that extended the Crawdads advantage. Guillen was otherwise solid on the night, and allowed just the two runs and struck out five over 2.2 innings of work.
Jacob Howell recorded the last four outs for the Suns, but the offense was not able to put together a late rally.
The lead was enough for the Hickory bullpen to hold after Crouse left the game. Lucas Jacobsenworked a one-two-three sixth inning before Sam Hellinger (S, 2) took over in the seventh. Hellinger spun three scoreless frames, allowed only one hit and struck out five while finishing out the victory for Hickory.
Tomorrow, Hagerstown continues its four-game set against the Hickory Crawdads at 7:05 p.m. The Suns toss RHP Reid Schaller (1-1, 4.20 ERA), while Hickory will send RHP Ronny Henriquez (3-4, 4.41 ERA) to the mound.
The Suns are in the midst of a four-game series with the Hickory Crawdads July 18-21. The homestand is littered with promotions from an Early Halloween Party, Friday, Wrestling Night, with an appearance from Bob Backlund Saturday before we wrap up the homestand with a Kids Sunday Funday.
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