Rome, GA - The Suns offense came alive on Sunday afternoon with Juan Soto leading the way. His four hits and four RBIs helped Hagerstown avoid a sweep by defeating the Rome Braves 6-2 at State Mutual Stadium. The Suns improve to 1-3 overall and will start a three-game series against the Columbia Fireflies with a 7:00 PM first pitch on Monday.
For the second time in four days, the Suns took a first inning lead via a Soto home run. With two outs, Soto sent a deep fly-ball over the right field fence against Rome starter Huascar Ynoa to give the Suns a 1-0 advantage. The homer was Soto's second of the season and kicked off a big day for the Hagerstown outfielder.
The Suns offense kept their foot on the gas in the second inning against Ynoa. Nick Banks led off with a single and Aldrem Corredor walked with one out. Cole Freeman singled to left, moving Corredor to second and scoring Banks to make it 2-0. Luis Garcia walked to load the bases and Soto cleared them with a triple to right, giving the Suns a 5-0 advantage.
Rome got on the board against Suns starter Tomas Alastre in the fourth. Derian Cruz reached on a throwing error by Antuna and went to second on a wild pitch. Drew Waters cut the Hagerstown lead to three runs with one swing, parking a home run over the right-field fence to make it a 5-2 game.
In the sixth, Soto drew one hit away from hitting for the cycle. With two outs, Soto deposited the second pitch of his at-bat into left field to give him three hits on the day and a double away from his first career cycle.
Hagerstown extended their lead in the seventh inning against Rome reliever Tanner Allison. Kameron Esthay singled to left with one out and Alex Flores legged out a triple to plate Esthay. The score gave Hagerstown a 6-2 advantage.
Soto got to the plate once more in the eighth with two outs. The outfielder sent the second offering back through the middle for a single, his fourth and final hit of the game, but fell short of the cycle. The Suns went on to secure their first win of the season, 6-2.
Alastre went four innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Alex Troop (1-0) threw four scoreless innings while allowing two hits and a walk with three strikeouts. Jared Brasher entered in the ninth and allowed one walk with a strikeout.
Notes: Soto is the first Suns player to have a four-hit game since Paul Panaccione on September 4, 2017 against Lexington… He's also the first Suns hitter to have four RBIs in a game since teammate Anderson Franco, when he had 6 RBI against Kannapolis in an 8-5 win… The four RBI sets a new career high for the outfielder… Hagerstown entered the game with 11 total hits for the season, and had 10 hits in the game to nearly double their total for 2018… Yasel Antuna had his first multi-hit game this season… Soto had his second multi-RBI game and first multi-hit game… Both of Soto's long balls this season have been go-ahead homers… Franco's three walks ties a career-high… Esthay's three strikeouts also ties a career-high for him… Troop is the first Suns reliever to earn a decision this season… The Suns remain on the road, heading to Columbia for a three-game set against the Columbia Fireflies with a 7:05 PM first pitch at Spirit Communications Park… Hagerstown will send LHP Jackson Stoeckinger (0-0, 0.00 ERA) to the mound for his first start, while Columbia will counter with RHP Chris Viall (0-0, 0.00 ERA) on Monday…
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.