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09/09/2006 12:57 AM ET
Sonnanstine puts Biscuits in charge
Right-hander helps Montgomery take commanding 2-0 lead
Andy Sonnanstine and the Biscuits are one win away from the Southern League Championship Series. (Montgomery Biscuits)

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Andy Sonnanstine tossed seven shutout innings Friday as the Montgomery Biscuits beat the Jacksonville Suns, 4-2, to take a commanding 2-0 lead in their Southern League playoff series.

Sonnanstine (1-0) scattered eight hits, struck out nine and walked one. The 23-year-old right-hander, who led the league in wins, complete games and shutouts during the season, allowed at least one base runner in every inning except the sixth.

"I was able to make a lot of good pitches in crucial situations," said Sonnanstine, who credited his defense for much of his success. "It was tremendous tonight and has been all year."

The 6-foot-3, 185-pounder escaped his biggest jam in seventh, when the Suns had runners on second and third with one out and Tydus Meadows and Craig Brazell coming up.

"They both homered off me in my last start," Sonnanstine said. "Tydus hit a three-run homer and Brazell hit a changeup out of the stadium.

"I wasn't thinking about those homers, but more just don't make a mistake and get beat with your best stuff."

After striking out Meadows, Sonnanstine fanned Brazell on his third 3-2 pitch, a sidearm slider.

"It was the biggest strikeout of the year for me," he said. "It was electrifying."

The Biscuits opened a 4-0 lead with single runs in the second, fourth, fifth and seventh. Justin Ruggiano continued to victimize his former team with three hits and an RBI, Ryan Christianson was 2-for-3 with a solo homer and Elliot Johnson chipped in two hits and an RBI for Montgomery.

The Suns broke up the shutout in the eighth on RBI groundouts by Chin Lung Hu and Wilkin Ruan.

Biscuits reliever Jean Machi closed the door with a perfect ninth to earn his second save of the series.

Brazell had two hits and Anthony Raglani went 2-for-3 for Jacksonville, which has lost seven straight to Montgomery.

Suns starter Scott Elbert (0-1) surrendered three runs -- two earned -- on seven hits over 4 1/3 innings. He struck out seven and walked three.

Game 3 is on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. ET in Montgomery.

Chip Haunss is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.