JACKSONVILLE, FL - After Andrew Heaney stifled the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (7-10) through seven innings, the Suns withstood a late Pensacola push, with Rich Poythress walking the Jacksonville Suns (8-9) off as 5-4 winners on Easter Sunday at Bragan Field.
Hear manager Andy Barkett's postgame comments here:
Pensacola trailed 4-1 entering the ninth but rallied to score three runs with two outs to tie the ballgame, courtesy of a Travis Mattair two-run double and a Juan Duran RBI single.
However, the Suns proved to be unfazed by Pensacola's furious comeback. J.T. Realmuto reached on an infield single to the left side with two outs, promptly stole second and forced a costly throwing error to reach third on the same play. Rich Poythress then drove a three-ball, two-strike offering from Drew Hayes (L, 1-1) into right field to secure the Suns of their fourth consecutive victory.
Heaney needed just 87 pitches to work through a season-best seven innings in Sunday's contest, allowing just one run on three hits, while not walking a single batter and tying a career-high with nine strikeouts. Heaney would not factor into the decision despite exiting with a 4-1 advantage through seven innings.
Edgar Olmos (H, 2) fired a hitless eighth inning before Pensacola scored three times in the ninth against Nick Wittgren to tie the ballgame at 4-4. Greg Nappo (W, 1-0) ultimately earned the win after nailing down the final out in the top of the ninth inning.
Along with stellar starting pitching, J.T. Realmuto has been a major catalyst in Jacksonville's four-game winning streak, with the Suns' catcher finishing 3-for-5 with 2 RBI while swiping three stolen bases on Sunday.
Andrew Heaney's nine strikeouts on Sunday tied his career high set twice before, as he struck out nine Hagerstown Suns in six innings on August 30, 2012 as a member of the Greensboro Grasshoppers. Heaney also struck out nine Daytona Cubs in just 4.1 innings on May 20, 2013 in his first start of the year with Jupiter after missing time due to injury.
After edging out Pensacola 10-8 in the hit column on Sunday, Jacksonville improved to 7-0 when outhitting their opponents.
The Suns and Blue Wahoos will be back at it tomorrow night for the middle game of this five-game series, with Monday's first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. ET. Jacksonville will send the righty Angel Sanchez to the hill (0-3, 4.20) Monday night, and he'll be countered by the Cincinnati Reds' #1 prospect in right-hander Robert Stephenson (1-1, 5.56).
Suns fans can listen to Monday's game on the Suns Baseball Network, 94.1 WSOS-FM or through www.jaxsuns.com, MiLB.com or the Suns iPhone or Android app, beginning at 6:50 p.m. ET with the Memorial Hospital Suns Pregame Show.
The 2014 season of Suns baseball is presented by EverBank, the official banking partner of the Jacksonville Suns. Sponsorships, group outings, and season / individual game tickets are currently available by calling the Suns front office at (904) 358-2846.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.