LAKEWOOD, NJ - Just six days after the Suns (7-5) walked off Lakewood in 15 innings, the BlueClaws (7-5) returned the favor in another marathon with a bases-loaded single by Lucas Williams in the 13th to swipe a 4-3 win at FirstEnergy Park on Monday night.
The game lasted three hours and 32 minutes; the second-longest game for both clubs in a week. Last Tuesday night at Municipal Stadium in Hagerstown, the Suns beat the BlueClaws by the same margin, 4-3, in four hours and 10 minutes.
Suns pitchers combined for nine straight shutout innings, holding Lakewood off the scoreboard from the fourth through the 12th, but the BlueClaws finally broke through against Suns reliever Sam Held (Loss, 1-1) in the bottom of the 13th. Following a single, a sac bunt, and a pair of intentional walks, Williams lined a base hit to left that scored Daniel Brito from third and handed Hagerstown its first walkoff defeat this season.
BlueClaws reliever Will Hibbs (Win, 2-0) picked up the win after slamming the door on the Suns best scoring chance in the top of the 12th. Following singles by Tres Barrera and Angelo LaBruna, shortstop Carter Kieboom drew a two-out walk to load the bases. That's when Lakewood summoned Hibbs out of the pen and the righty forced Suns leading RBI man Sheldon Neuse into a groundout, ending the top half of the inning.
Neuse finished 2-for-6 with an RBI single in the top of the 1st for his team-leading 13th RBI this season. Neuse later scored the tying run on a Lakewood fielding error in the fourth to make it 3-3 before the lengthy scoreless drought by both teams began.
Suns right fielder Daniel Johnson stretched his hitting streak to six games thanks to a 3-for-6 performance at the plate with a double and a run scored.
Lakewood scored one run in each of the first three innings against Suns starter Tyler Watson. The 19-year-old southpaw struck out six BlueClaws in six complete innings. He now leads all Hagerstown pitchers with 19 total strikeouts in 15 2/3 innings of work this season.
Suns reliever Hayden Howard tossed four shutout innings in relief, the longest outing by any Hagerstown bullpen arm in 2017. The 23-year-old lefty struck out a career-high six batters.
The Suns and BlueClaws renew their rivalry on Tuesday night along the Jersey Shore. The second of three games in the midweek series is set to begin at 6:35 ET when southpaw JoJo Romero (0-0, 5.00) throws the first pitch for Lakewood. Hagerstown will counter with reliever-turned-starter Sterling Sharp (0-0, 9.00). The righty from Southfield, Michigan is seeking his first career win in the South Atlantic League.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.