Best Baseball Grounds crowd since 2012 sees Nimnicht Family of Dealerships Independence Day Eve Fireworks
By Marco LaNave / Jacksonville Suns | July 3, 2016 10:53 PM ET
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jacksonville Suns right-hander Jake Esch pitched seven innings and hit a go-ahead RBI double, before center fielder Alex Glenn homered and drove in four runs for a second straight night, giving the Suns a 9-2 win over the Tennessee Smokies in front of a season-best sellout of 10,238 at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville Sunday night.
In front of the largest Suns home crowd in exactly four years, Esch (8-6) began the first inning by allowing a single to Smokies left fielder Bijan Rademacher, but right fielder Ronnie Mitchell threw from the warning track to shortstop J.T. Riddle, who tagged out Rademacher at second base. Esch set down the next eight batters in order and 15 of the next 16. He matched a season long with his seven-inning start, allowing two earned runs on four hits and a walk with four strikeouts.
Jacksonville (4-6 second half, 34-46 overall) took the lead for good in the second inning. Smokies right-hander Tyler Skulina (3-7) began by walking first baseman Garrett Weber. Second baseman Peter Mooney hit a single to right field, and catcher Francisco Arcia's flyout sent Weber to third base. Esch then hit a double to the right-field corner, scoring Weber.
The lead grew in the third inning, as Riddle doubled to right field and scored on Glenn's single to right field. A single by third baseman Brian Anderson and Mooney's groundout scored Glenn for a 3-0 lead. In the fifth inning, Glenn hit a one-out solo home run to right field, and Weber tripled to left-center field before scoring on Mooney's sacrifice fly for a 5-0 lead.
Tennessee (6-4, 34-46) scored its runs in the sixth inning, as first baseman Ben Carhart walked, Rademacher hit an RBI double, and second baseman Ian Happ hit a sacrifice fly. The Suns responded with Glenn's sixth-inning, two-run single. Arcia added an RBI single, and pinch hitter Chris Curley had an RBI groundout in the seventh inning for a 9-2 lead. Suns right-hander Austin Brice followed Esch with the last two scoreless innings, allowing one hit and one walk with a strikeout.
UP NEXT: The Suns open a 10-game road trip and a five-game series in Biloxi at 8:10 p.m. Monday, when right-hander Hunter Adkins (1-2) is scheduled to face Shuckers right-hander Brooks Hall (2-1). The Suns return to the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville Thursday, July 14, against the Pensacola Blue Wahoos for a Mavericks Live Thirsty Thursday fueled by Budweiser, when fans can purchase $1 12-oz. and $2 24-oz. beers adjacent to the new Budweiser Tiki Terrace, on the left-field berm, at the right-field bleachers, and behind section 115. The theme is Get Lei'd Night.
ABOUT THE SUNS: The Jacksonville Suns are beginning a new era of affordable family fun under new ownership in 2016. With a FUNdamentally Different promotional schedule and a new lineup of ticket and group options for this season, there is a reason for everyone to get part of the action by calling the Suns at (904) 358-2846 or visiting www.jaxsuns.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.