HAGERSTOWN, MD - The Hagerstown Suns (31-18, 75-44) used a four hit night from 2B Wilmer Difo to secure a 9-4 win over the Kannapolis Intimidators (24-25, 53-63) on Saturday night. The win ensures the Suns of the series win, with still one game remaining in the four-game set.
Difo's biggest hit of the night was a two-run blast in the bottom of the seventh to break a 4-4 tie and put the Suns ahead for good. It was Difo's team-leading 12th homerun of the season, and the first homerun hit by Hagerstown in the series.
Kannapolis had scored three runs in the top of the inning to erase a three-run deficit. Center fielder Jacob Morris began the top of the seventh by getting hit by a pitch. He stole second base, and moved to third on a groundout to first. Morris scored from third on a sacrifice fly to right to make it 4-2. Then, DH Tyler Williams doubled to keep the inning alive, and that was followed by a triple off the bat of SS Ryan Leonards. Leonards scored the final run of the frame on a wild pitch.
The Suns had their first three-run frame of the game in the fourth. Down 1-0 heading into the inning, Difo led off with a double. Two batters later, catcher Spencer Kieboom doubled to right, bringing Difo home to tie the game at 1-1. Later in the inning, DH Carlos Lopez drew a two-out walk, and that was followed by a double hit to center field by 1B Jimmy Yezzo. Yezzo's double plated both Kieboom and Lopez to make it 3-1.
The lead increased to 4-1 in the fifth. Center fielder Rafael Bautista hit a one-out ground rule double to right. Two batters later, LF Narciso Mesa singled to short, and an attempted throw to first by Leonards sailed into the stands, allowing Bautista to trot across the plate.
The final three-run inning for Hagerstown occurred in the eighth, and again Difo was the catalyst. He drove in the final two runs of the frame with a line drive double to right. It was his second double of the night, and he finished a triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
RHP Sam Johns (3-0) tossed the final 2.1 innings for the Suns to pick up the win. He retired all seven hitters he faced, including two strikeouts. Hagerstown used a total of four pitchers in the game, and the four arms combined to throw 11 strikeouts. LHP Felipe Rivero got the start for the Suns after just being added to the roster earlier in the day, and went four innings, surrendering one unearned run on three hits while striking out six. LHP Dylan Chavez (3-4) took the loss for Kannapolis. He gave up five runs (two earned) on four hits and one walk over 2.1 innings.
These two teams conclude their four-game series at Municipal Stadium on Sunday August 10. The Suns will send RHP Wander Suero (3-0) to the mound for his third start and 14th appearance of the year with Hagerstown. He will square off against LHP Jordan Guerrero (6-0) for Kannapolis. First pitch is scheduled for 5:05pm.