Hagerstown, MD - The Delmarva Shorebirds (6-4) scored seven runs in the first three innings and survived a late rally to defeat the Hagerstown Suns (5-5) 7-6 at Municipal Stadium on Saturday night. The Shorebirds lead the series two games to one.
The Shorebirds jumped on Suns starter Ronald Pena in the first inning. Anthony Vega drew a lead off walk. After a single by Joel Hutter, Christian Walker hit a soft flare into shallow right field to score Vega. Creede Simpson followed with a single into center field to stretch the lead to 2-0. Then, Nik Balog launched a double off the bottom of the center field wall to increase the lead to 4-0.
The Shorebirds tacked on a run in the second on a sacrifice fly to left field by Hutter to score Vega, who led off with a lined double to right field.
The Suns got on the board in the bottom of the second. The first two batters reached. Then, Craig Manuel hit a single to score JR Higley. Two batters later, Khayyan Norfork hit an infield single up the middle to score Will Piwnica-Worms.
The Shorebirds added to their lead in the third. Wynston Sawyer doubled off the top of the right field wall to open the inning. Two batters later, Balog singled to left. Then, Gregory Lorenzo lifted a triple off the wall in left field to score two runs and increase the lead to 7-2.
The Suns trimmed the gap in the fourth with two runs. Craig Manuel reached on a one out walk. Then, Khayyan Norfolk lifted a double to left to score Manuel. Vega retrieved the ball and tried to throw the ball back to the infield, but the ball slipped out of his hand and rolled away from him allowing Norfork to score.
The Suns added runs in the fifth and seventh innings to cut the deficit to 7-6.
Shorebirds starter Branden Kline lasted five innings and earned his first professional win. He surrendered six hits and four earned runs. Kline struck out five batters and walked four.
Williams Louico entered in the sixth inning out of the Shorebirds bullpen and allowed two hits and one run.
Shorebirds reliever Mychal Givens maneuvered around a lead off double in the eighth inning to keep the Shorebirds in front. Then, he tossed a scoreless ninth inning to earn his first professional save.
The Shorebirds and Suns square off in the series finale on Sunday, April 14 at 1:05pm. LHP Josh Hader is the scheduled pitcher for the Shorebirds.