HAGERSTOWN, M.D. - The Hagerstown Suns (39-25, 77-54) put up a valiant comeback effort on Tuesday night, but in the end came up one run shy in a 6-5 loss to the Lakewood BlueClaws (28-36, 54-77) in front of 704 at Municipal Stadium. The loss drops the Suns record when trailing after eight innings to 1-38.
Hagerstown managed to get two runners into scoring position with just one out in the bottom of the ninth, but then RHP Chris Burgess shut the door for his fifth save of the season. The Suns got it to a one run game by plating two runs in the bottom of the eighth. With runners on the corners and two outs in the eighth, DH Estarlin Martinez delivered a ground ball single to right to make it a 6-4 ballgame. Following a walk to CF Will Piwnica-Worms to load the bases, catcher Pedro Severino drew a walk to drive in a run and make it 6-5.
The winning run for Lakewood wound up scoring in the top of the eighth. Designated hitter Chace Numata hit a line drive single up the middle with one out in the frame. A wild pitch allowed Numata to get to second, and he scored from second on a double by catcher Gabriel Lino to put the BlueClaws up by three 6-3.
Lakewood looked like it would run away with the game until the bottom of the sixth. With one out 2B Tony Renda hit his league-leading 42nd double of the year. First baseman Shawn Pleffner followed that up with a double of his own, driving in Renda to break up the shutout and make it 5-1. Pleffner then scored on a two-run homerun off the bat of RF Wander Ramos, his team-leading sixth of the season. The homerun sailed over the center field wall and cut the deficit to two, 5-3.
The BlueClaws took their initial 3-0 lead in the first inning thanks to a long ball of their own. With one out in the first and two on, 1B Art Charles drove a pitch over the right field wall for his team-leading 11th homer of the season. Lakewood finished the inning with three runs on three hits.
The BlueClaws built their lead to 5-0 with two unearned runs in the fourth. With one on and none out, Numata reached on a fielding error by Renda. A groundout by LF Larry Greene drove both runners into scoring position, and a sacrifice fly by Lino followed by a missed catch error by Severino on a throw to the plate allowed both runners to score to put Lakewood up by five.
Starting RHP Jeb Stefan (5-7) earned the win for the BlueClaws. He went six innings, giving up three earned runs on four hits while walking and striking out one. Starting RHP Pedro Encarnacion (10-8) suffered the loss for Hagerstown. He pitched six innings, surrendering five runs (two earned) on four hits and two walks while striking out one.
The Suns and BlueClaws continue their three-game series on Wednesday, August 28. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05p.m. Hagerstown will send RHP Dakota Bacus (0-0, 0.00) to the mound for his first start of the season. He will be opposed by RHP Ramon Oviedo (1-3, 5.57) for Lakewood.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.