HAGERSTOWN, Md. - For the second consecutive night, the Hagerstown Suns (31-32, 69-63) allowed a multi-run inning late in a tie ballgame to put the Delmarva Shorebirds (29-35, 58-74) ahead for good, 6-4, at Municipal Stadium on Wednesday night.
Any upcoming loss by the Suns or win by the first-place Hickory Crawdads or West Virginia Power will officially eliminate Hagerstown from playoff contention in the South Atlantic League Northern Division with five games remaining in the regular season.
Delmarva plated five runs in the ninth inning on Tuesday and dropped a three spot on the Suns in the seventh on Wednesday. Jake Barnett (Loss, 1-1) allowed two singles before a fielding error by Angelo La Bruna cost the Suns an unearned run and put Delmarva in front, 4-3. The Shorebirds kept swinging as Cole Billingsley tallied an RBI single and a double-play grounder allowed Tanner Kirk to score from third for a 6-3 advantage.
Barnett tossed the final three innings with one earned run on four hits and two strikeouts. Francisco Jimenez (Win, 7-2) held the Suns to two hits in his three innings of relief for Delmarva.
Hagerstown threatened in the ninth by loading the bases against closer Jake Bray (Save, 17) but settled for a lone run on a Telmito Agustin RBI fielder's choice that brought Carter Kieboom home from third. Bray struck out Branden Boggetto to end the proceedings as the Suns finished 3-for-14 at the plate with runners in scoring position.
The Suns left the bases loaded in the fifth and sixth. La Bruna rolled into a double play that scored Agustin and tied the game in the sixth, 3-3. Agustin also tallied an RBI groundout in the first to go 1-for-5 at the plate with two RBI and a run.
Delmarva jumped out to a 2-0 lead against Suns starter Ben Braymer in the top of the first on an RBI single by Gerrion Grim. Blake Perkins unleashed an errant throw on the play to score Jake Ring from first, but the Suns caught Grim in a 1-2-4-5-6 rundown between second and third to end the inning.
Perkins made amends later in the contest with a pair of diving catches in the outfield. Braymer allowed a sac fly RBI in the second to Stuart Levy but rebounded to pitch four scoreless innings and left after six frames with two earned runs on six hits and six strikeouts.
On Thursday, the Suns host their final regular season meeting with the Delmarva Shorebirds, Class A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. Suns righty Brigham Hill (0-1, 5.54) draws the start against Delmarva lefty Travis Seabrooke (3-8, 4.61) at 7:05 p.m. It's the final Thirsty Thursday of 2017 with beer prices starting at just two dollars each. For tickets, call (301) 791-6266 or visit hagerstownsuns.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.