ASHEVILLE, N.C. - The Hagerstown Suns (30-19) took the lead with a three-run first inning on Wednesday and never looked back, defeating the Asheville Tourists (28-23) for the first time this season, 12-5. The win made certain the Suns would not get swept in a series for the first time this season.
In the top of the first the Suns got their first two hitters aboard thanks to back-to-back walks. First baseman Shawn Pleffner drove in the first run of the game when he hit a soft ground ball to left field, driving in 2B Tony Renda from second. Right fielder Brandon Miller followed that up with an RBI double to left, making it 2-0 Hagerstown. Pleffner scored the third run of the frame when he came home on a sacrifice fly hit by DH Will Piwnica-Worms.
Asheville responded with two runs in the bottom of the first. Second baseman Matt Wessinger led off the home half of the inning with a double to center field. Two ground outs later Wessinger crossed the plate to cut the deficit to two. Left fielder Francisco Sosa then made it a one-run game by homering over the left field wall, his 10th long ball this season and the fifth of the series for the Tourists.
The Suns put up another three-spot in the fourth to turn a 4-2 lead into a 7-2 advantage. The first run of the frame was driven in by a triple off the bat of LF Wes Schill. Schill scored from third on a double by Renda. Following a wild pitch that allowed Renda to move to third, he was brought home by 3B Khayyan Norfork, who hit a ground ball single up the middle. Norfork's hit was the fifth straight for Hagerstown to begin the inning.
Asheville trimmed its deficit from 8-2 to 8-5 by plating two runs in the fifth and one in the seventh. In the fifth RF Dillon Thomas doubled to left with two outs and two runners in scoring position. The run in the seventh was scored thanks to a solo homerun off the bat of SS Rosell Herrera, giving him 10 dingers this season.
Hagerstown pushed its final four runs across the plate in the eighth and ninth. In the eighth a Schill double was followed two batters later by a triple from Norfork, who then scored on an RBI single from Pleffner. In the ninth Schill drove in Estarlin Martinez with a single to right. Renda then doubled to right to bring home Schill and bring the score to its final margin.
RHP Brian Rauh (2-2) was the only relief pitcher used for the Suns, and he earned the win, tossing five innings and surrendering three earned runs on three hits and one walk while striking out one. Starting RHP Shane Broyless (1-6) suffered the loss for Asheville. He lasted 3.1 innings, giving up seven earned runs on nine hits and three walks while striking out two. LHP Matt Purke made his first start of the season for Hagerstown and pitched four innings, allowing two earned runs on seven hits while striking out six.
The Suns will next begin a four-game series with the Lexington Legends (26-27) on Thursday, May 30 in Lexington. RHP Dixon Anderson (4-2) will be making his 11th start of the season for Hagerstown. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.