LAKEWOOD, N.J. - The Hagerstown Suns (2-3) let a three-run lead slip away in the bottom of the ninth on Monday night, only to comeback and defeat the Lakewood Blueclaws (1-4) in 10 innings 7-6. The seven runs is a season-high for the Suns.
The winning run crossed the plate in the top of the tenth thanks to a basses loaded walk issued to DH Wes Schill. Catcher Craig Manuel had begun the inning by singling to left. After SS Stephen Perez walked to put two aboard with no outs, 2B Tony Renda lay down a sacrifice bunt to push both base runners into scoring position. The Blueclaws then elected to intentionally walk 3B Mike McQuillan, leaving no bases open when Schill was at the plate.
The Suns had to regroup quickly following a three-run bottom of the ninth for the Blueclaws, which pushed the game into extras. RHP Will Hudgins (1-0) wound up getting the win, but was also charged with the blown save as he entered the game to begin the ninth and wound up hitting the first batter he faced. He then issued a walk to catcher Chace Numata, putting two on with no outs. Shortstop Roman Quinn lay down a bunt single, which Manuel retrieved but then committed a throwing error on, allowing the first run of the frame to score. Numata scored the second run of the inning on a groundout to second, which pushed Quinn to third. Quinn scored when RF Brian Pointer doubled to right field, evening the game at 6-6.
Hagerstown built its three-run cushion in the middle innings. Tied at 1-1 heading into the fourth, RF Brandon Miller led of the frame with a single to left. Two batters later, CF J.R. Higley sent a triple to right, the first of the season for the Suns. Higley scored when Manuel grounded to first, and Higley beat the throw home to put Hagerstown ahead 3-1.
The lead increased to 4-1 in the fifth without the Suns recording a hit. Left fielder Estarlin Martinez reached base on a fielding error by 1B Art Charles that allowed him to end up at second. Martinez moved to third on a passed ball, and scored on a wild pitch. Each team put up one run in both the sixth and the eighth to keep the margin at three heading into the ninth.
RHP Zach Cooper (0-1) suffered the loss for the Blueclaws. He pitched 2.1 innings and allowed one earned run on one hit, while walking and striking out three. LHP Yoel Mecias started for Lakewood and went four innings, giving up three earned runs on five hits and two walks while striking out six. RHP Pedro Encarnacion started for the Suns. He went five innings, allowing one earned run on three hits and two walks. He struck out five batters and hit two.
The Suns continue their three-game series with Lakewood on Tuesday. Hagerstown will send RHP Dixon Anderson (0-0) to the mound for his second start of the season. He will square off against RHP Jordan Guth (0-1) for Lakewood. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35pm.