HAGERSTOWN, MD (August 12, 2019) - The Suns pieced together an eighth-inning rally and manufactured a run that propelled them to a 5-4 victory over the Lakewood BlueClaws at Municipal Stadium Monday.
With the game tied at four, Drew Mendoza and Jacob Rhinesmith started the eighth with singles against BlueClaws (49-69, 20-28) reliever Josh Hendrickson (L, 0-1) and Israel Pineda moved them over with a bunt. Kyle Marinconz then came through with a sacrifice fly to put the Suns (54-66, 23-27) on top for good.
With a new lead intact, Nick Wells (W, 1-0), who had already worked a scoreless eighth, came back out for the ninth and locked down the series-opening victory. The lefty allowed the runners to reach the corners with one away, but struck out back-to-back batter to end the ballgame.
Both offenses exploded in the first inning before slowing down down late in this one. After a single and a walk with one away, a wild pitch and an error on a wacky play allowed two Lakewood runners to score. Carlos De La Cruz then delivered an RBI double that capped a three-run first against Suns starter Jake Irvin.
But the Suns responded in the bottom half of the frame. Jackson Cluff singled to start things off, advanced on an error, and then scored on a Justin Connell RBI single. Mendoza singled and Rhinesmith was hit by a pitch to load the bases before Pineda bounced into a double play that plated Connell.
The two-out rally then commentced when a Marinconz RBI single tied the game and Trey Vickers gave the Suns the lead with an RBI double that could have scored two, had Cole Daily not been thrown out at the plate. All four runs came against BlueClaws starter Manuel Silva, but the righty settled down to throw 3.1 scoreless frames before he exited.
For Hagerstown, Irvin did allow one more run. Abrahan Gutierrez tagged the righty for a solo home run in the third to tie the game at four. He allowed those four runs over five innings and struck out six.
Each bullpen took over and kept the game tied through the middle innings. Hendrickson retired the first seven batters he faced before giving up the late run while Matt Cronin tossed two scoreless frames for the Suns.
Tomorrow the Suns and BlueClaws will meet at 7:05 p.m. Hagerstown sends LHP Ryan Williamson (4-0, 3.53 ERA) to mound while RHP Kevin Gowdy (0-4, 4.79 ERA) gets the start for Lakewood. Hagerstown then closes out the quick homestand with a day game at 2:05 p.m. that doubles as Bark in the Park.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.