HAGERSTOWN, M.D. - The Hagerstown Suns (2-1) pounded out 16 hits on Saturday night to knock off the West Virginia Power (1-2) 6-2 in game three of the South Atlantic League Northern Division Championship Series. The win means the Suns advance to the South Atlantic League Championship Series, where they will take on the Savannah Sand Gnats.
The Suns secured the victory with a three-run sixth inning. Shortstop Stephen Perez began the rally with one out by reaching on a third strike wild pitch. That was followed by three straight singles, which brought two runs across the plate. The third run of the inning scored when DH Wander Ramos hit a double to left. In total the Suns sent nine batters to the plate in the inning, and turned a one-run game into a four-run contest.
The winning run for Hagerstown scored in the fourth. Back-to-back singles by Perez and CF Isaac Ballou began the frame. Following a pitching change, 2B Tony Renda grounded into a double play which pushed Perez to third. First baseman Shawn Pleffner drove Perez home with a single up the middle to put the Suns ahead for good.
Hagerstown began the scoring in the first inning. Ballou and Renda led off with back-to-back singles. Pleffner then grounded into a force out at second, putting runners on the corners with one out. Ramos drove Ballou home from third with a single to right, giving the Suns a 1-0 lead in the first for the second straight night.
West Virginia answered with what turned out to be their only runs in the second. Third baseman Eric Wood led off with a ground ball single up the middle. Center fielder Raul Fortunato followed with a double to right, putting runners at second and third with no outs. Left fielder Jonathan Schwind then singled in one run to tie the game at 1-1. Two batters later, 2B Chris Diaz drove in the go-ahead run by grounding out to second.
The Suns knotted the game at 2-2 with a run in the bottom of the second. Renda hit a two-out single to right with Ballou standing at third. Ballou finished the game with four hits in five at-bats and three runs scored.
Starting LHP Kylin Turnbull (1-0) notched the win for Hagerstown. He went five innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits while walking two and striking out three. Starting RHP Luis Heredia (0-1) suffered the loss for the Power. He lasted just three innings, giving up three earned runs on 10 hits while walking one and striking out two. RHP Ronald Pena pitched four scoreless innings of relief for Hagersotwn to record the save.
The Suns and Sand Gnats begin their best-of-five championship series at Municipal Stadium on Monday, September 9. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05p.m. Hagerstown will send RHP Austin Voth (1-0, 0.00) to the mound for his second start of the playoffs.