Asheville, NC-The Hagerstown Suns (71-61, 31-31) were crushed by the Asheville Tourists (65-67, 34-29) at McCormick Field on Sunday afternoon by a score of 15-5. After collecting 16 base hits in game three, Asheville has now scored 36 runs and bashed 39 hits in the last two games and fell one home run shy of the South Atlantic League record for most deep flies in two consecutive games after hitting ten in the last two contests. Asheville won the five game series with this triumph on the strength of two home runs and a pair of crooked frames that plated seven runs in the 3rd inning and eight runs in the 5th frame. Eleven Tourists got to bat in the both of their run scoring innings.
Asheville RHP Peter Tago, a first round draft pick in the 2010 MLB First-Year Player Draft, went just 3.0 innings and allowed four earned runs on one hit, but six walks, while fanning a pair. Tago was pulled from the game after walking the bases loaded in the 4th inning in favor of the eventual winning pitcher, RHP Juan Gonzalez (2-7), who tossed 4.0 innings and allowed one earned run on four hits with no walks and two strikeouts.
The losing pitcher of record, LHP Matt Grace (12-7) surrendered eleven earned runs on fourteen hits with one walk and one home run allowed.
The Suns plated the game's first run in the 3rd inning as RF Wade Moore drew a leadoff walk and stole second base, and with two outs, Tago yanked a wild pitch to the backstop allowing Moore to score.
The Tourists exploded for seven runs in the last of the 3rd stanza on a bases loaded hit batsman giving an RBI to C Dustin Garneau, a wild pitch thrown by Grace to bring in 2B Helder Velazquez, who singled to left field, and an RBI sacrifice fly to right field off the bat of RF Corey Dickerson to summon home SS Cristhian Adames, who wrapped a bunt single to get aboard. Then, DH Mark Tracy nailed an RBI double into left center field to plate Garneau, 3B Joey Wong ripped an RBI single to right field, and 1B Dominic Altobelli banged a two-run double off the left field wall to give the Tourists a 7-1 lead.
Hagerstown answered right away with four runs in the 4th inning after Tago walked LF Randolph Oduber, SS Jason Martinson, and C Adrian Nieto. Gonzalez served up a two-RBI double sliced to the left center field gap by 1B Brett Newsome. A wild pitch slung by Gonzalez brought in Nieto before 3B Justino Cuevas knocked an RBI groundout to Adames at shortstop waving in Newsome to cut the Tourists' advantage to 7-5.
An eight run home half of the 5th inning put the game away early. Tracy singled into left field as part of a 4-for-, three runs scored, 5 RBI day at the plate, coming up a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. LF Chandler Laurent, the next hitter up, cranked a two-run four-bagger to the right of the batter's eye, his 13th of the season off Grace. Back-to-back doubles off the sticks of Wong to the left field corner and Altobelli to deep center brought in the third run. After LHP Paul Applebee entered the contest, Velazquez lazered an RBI double to right center field to plate the fourth run. The bases became loaded as Applebee walked Adames and hit Dickerson by a pitch. Tracy then blasted his second hit of the inning, a majestic grand slam homer into the tree line behind the left field wall, his ninth screamer of the season. Asheville would hold the ten run lead for the duration.
Applebee gave up four earned runs in 3.0 innings on a pair of hits, while walking two.
Hagerstown RHP Sam Brown fanned the side in the 8th inning, the only bright spot for the Suns bullpen.
The Suns continue their five-game bus trip series, the final road set of the campaign in Asheville with the Tourists at 7:05pm on Monday night. Hagerstown will bring RHP A.J. Cole (4-7, 3.70) to the hill to pitch against Asheville RHP Josh Mueller (6-6, 4.97) in series game three. Live radio broadcast coverage will begin with the 6:50pm Break Away 2 Sports Lounge Pre-game Show on the Radio Flagship of Suns Baseball, WJEJ AM 1240.
The Hagerstown Suns play at Municipal Stadium in Hagerstown, MD and are a Class "A" affiliate of the Washington Nationals. Season ticket packages, group outings, and corporate sponsorships are available by calling the Suns at 301-791-6266. Visit the Suns on the web at www.hagerstownsuns.com. The Suns are owned by Hagerstown Baseball, LLC.
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