The Suns begin their final run at the Southern League South Division title Thursday evening with a five-game series against the Montgomery Biscuits, with the series opener tonight at 7:05 p.m. at Bragan Field.
Thursday Night Throw Down returns to Bragan Field, with fans able to enjoy Buds for a Buck and other cocktail specials at the hottest spot in Jacksonville during the summer. It's also College Night at the Baseball Grounds, meaning college students can get a ticket for just five dollars when they show their College ID at the box office.
In addition, Superman will be landing on the field before the game this evening just before the opening of the new Superman movie in theaters. Special Superman prizes will also be given away throughout the game. Join the Suns in supporting the ALS Association in their fight to raise awareness and provide support for ALS families on ALS Night as well tonight. Finally it's Teacher and Education Worker Appreciation Night, with the Suns inviting all teachers and education workers to the ballpark to celebrate the end of another school year. All educational employees can receive two-for-one tickets with their ID at Bragan Field.
Jacksonville enters this evening's series opener trailing the Mobile BayBears by two games in the Southern League South Division and also rank behind the Mississippi Braves and Montgomery Biscuits with five games remaining for the first half title. The Suns are coming off a 3-2 series loss at Birmingham, while the Biscuits enter tonight's contest having taken four out of five from the Huntsville Stars.
Tonight marks the first time the Suns and Biscuits have faced off against each other during the 2013 campaign. Last season, Jacksonville won the overall season series 13-10, including a 6-2 mark at the Baseball Grounds. The Suns have won six consecutive contests against Montgomery at Bragan Field dating back to July 13, 2012.
Marlins right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (0-0, 7.94 ERA) is slated to take the mound for Jacksonville tonight as part of his Major League Rehab Assignment. The 23-year-old's last rehab outing lasted just one inning on June 9 at Birmingham due to rain, yielding an earned run on two hits while striking out the side in his lone frame pitched.
Montgomery is scheduled to give the ball to RHP Jacob Thompson (6-5, 4.71 ERA) in tonight's first game of the series. Thompson has earned the win in each of his last four starts, including his last outing on June 8 versus Huntsville, allowing just three hits in seven shutout innings of work.
Fans can listen to the games on the Suns Baseball Network, with the "Voice of the Suns" Roger Hoover entering his second season as Jacksonville's Director of Broadcasting. Hoover is assisted by Matt Leland and Andrew Green. Leland and Green will host the UF & Shands Suns Pregame Show beginning at 6:50 p.m. ET on the Suns Baseball Network.
Below are more notes on tonight's game, direct from the official Suns game notes compiled by Roger Hoover. The entire game notes for tonight's contest can be viewed by clicking here.
Two Games Back, Five Games To Go: The Jacksonville Suns enter today's game trailing the Mobile BayBears by two games for first place in the Southern League South Division standings with five games remaining. The Suns are in fourth place, two games back, while the Mississippi Braves are in second at a half game back and Jacksonville's opponent Montgomery is in third place at a game and a half back. The winner of the first half will host the first two games of the South Division Championship Series later this September.
Eovaldi with Suns on MLB Rehab: Right-handed starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi will continue his Major League rehab assignment from the Marlins with the Suns tonight at Bragan Field. This will be Eovaldi's third rehab start with the Suns after he only pitched one inning in Birmingham due to rain on Sunday. Eovaldi made two rehab starts with the Hammerheads, going 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA in nine innings pitched. Eovaldi worked four and two-thirds innings against the Mobile BayBears on Tuesday, taking a no decision as he allowed four runs on six hits with four walks and a strikeout. Eovaldi was expected to be in the starting rotation for the Marlins to begin the season, and he is recovering from a right shoulder injury. Eovaldi was acquired by the Marlins last season in a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and made 12 starts in 2012 with Miami going 3-7 with a 4.43 ERA. Eovaldi pitched in the Southern League in 2011 and 2012 with the Chattanooga Lookouts.
Jensen Southern League Hitter of the Week: The Southern League announced Monday Suns outfielder Kyle Jensen has been named the league's Hitter of the Week for the time frame between June 3-9. During that span, the outfielder compiled a .350 average (7-20) with five runs, two doubles, four homers and six RBI. Jensen launched longballs in four consecutive games between June 3-7. The 25-year-old ranked in a tie for fourth among all Minor Leaguers in homers in that time frame, as well as first in the Southern League. Jensen also led the Southern League in extra-base hits (six), total bases (21) and slugging percentage (1.050), in addition to second in RBI and tied for second in runs scored (five) Jensen becomes the third Sun to be honored with the weekly award by the Southern League this season, joining former Sun and current Miami Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna (April 22-29), as well as current Suns outfielder Christian Yelich (May 6-13).
Welcome Biscuits: This marks the first series of the year between the Suns and the Montgomery Biscuits, the Double-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. Montgomery is also in the mix in the Southern League South Division first half pennant race, only a game and half back of the BayBears coming into today's game. Last season the Suns posted a winning record against the Biscuits, going 13-10 including a 6-2 mark at the Baseball Grounds. At one point last season, the Suns won 10 straight contests against the Biscuits. This will be the Biscuits' only trip to Jacksonville, while the Suns will travel to Montgomery from July 23-27 and August 23-27.
Tonight's broadcast will air on the Suns Baseball Network's flagship station 94.1 Classic Rock WSOS-FM, plus the Suns' mobile app. Click the link below to listen live online.