JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jacksonville Suns (25-16, 59-49) won their ninth straight game and their second straight over the Tennessee Smokies (24-17, 58-52), hanging on for a 4-3 win in game two of a five-game series at Bragan Field.
Jacksonville extended its season-long winning streak behind left-hander Adam Conley (11-4), who tossed six strong innings and allowed just two runs on five hits. Conley also ran his streak of innings without allowing an earned run to 28.
"He gave up two [runs] early, but he battled," said Suns manager Andy Barkett following the victory. "He seemed to labor at times, but an excellent job coming back."
Behind 2-0 into the fourth, the Suns battled back against Smokies starter Dae Eun Rhee (3-1) with a sacrifice fly from Mark Canha and an RBI double from Zack Cox to tie the game.
Jacksonville would take the lead for good when Rhee and the Tennessee bullpen became wild in the sixth inning. The Suns put five consecutive batters on base without the benefit of a hit, at one point drawing four consecutive walks. Two of the free passes forced in runs to give Jacksonville a 4-2 lead.
"It was a great group at bats by a couple of guys there," Barkett said. "Our guys showed great patience in that inning."
After scoreless innings from Edgar Olmos and Grant Dayton, Michael Brady took over in the ninth and promptly retired the first two batters. Brady then walked Arismendy Alcantara before facing Javier Baez. Baez grounded to shortstop, but Chris Gutierrez's throw to second base sailed low and into right field. Alcantara scored, but Baez was subsequently caught in between second and third and eventually tagged out to end the game.
"I think [Baez] was just being overaggressive in that situation," Barkett said. "J.T. [Realmuto] made a great play to execute the rundown."
The Suns will try to extend their winning streak to ten games in game three of the five-game series on Sunday. Jacksonville is scheduled to tab right-hander Bryan Evans (3-3, 3.91) as its starter, while Tennessee counters with righty A.J. Morris (3-1, 4.33). First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. ET.
Suns fans can listen to Sunday's game on the Suns Baseball Network, 94.1 WSOS-FM or through jaxsuns.com, MiLB.com or the Suns iPhone or Android app, beginning at 5:35 p.m. ET with Suns Sunday on the UF Health Suns Pre-Game Show. The game will also be televised locally on The CW 17 in Jacksonville, with the voice of the Suns Roger Hoover on the call alongside Suns owner and president Peter Bragan Jr.
Sunday is Dog Daze of Summer #2 & Library Day. All dogs get in for just $2.50 and get access to the Suns' pet expo with prizes and giveaways. Plus, fans can bring the pooches early for our pre-game dog parade on Bragan field at 5:30, courtesy of RadioNOW 97.9. It's also Library Day and one lucky boy and lucky girl will win a bicycle courtesy of the Jacksonville Public Library summer reading program. Also kids should be sure to bring their library card to the ticket windows for special admission to the game. Plus, fans may stop by their local Jiffy Lube for Free General Admission Tickets. Fans should also be sure to stick around after the game for Kids Run the Bases, presented by VyStar Credit Union.