Hagerstown, MD-The Hagerstown Suns (71-64, 31-34) losing slide was extended to eight games after a 10-1 defeat in game one with the Lakewood BlueClaws (68-65, 35-30) on Thursday evening at Municipal Stadium. After losing the last two contests of their penultimate 2011 homestand against the Hickory Crawdads and being swept in their final road series this season at Asheville, the Suns will look to finish strong in the next four to finish out the campaign and turn around the season's longest winless streak.
BlueClaws RHP Garett Claypool (5-7), the winning pitcher, was outstanding though 6.0 scoreless stanzas, allowing just three singles, no walks, and six strikeouts. Claypool was perfect through 3.1 innings before LF Randolph Oduber poked a line drive single into right field. CF Michael Taylor blooped a two-out single up the right field line in the 6th frame before Oduber ripped another single to center field.
Hagerstown RHP Chris McKenzie (4-7), the losing pitcher of record, faced all nine members of the Lakewood lineup in the 1st inning, giving up four runs on six hits. LF Bill Rice singled to the left of SS Jason Martinson to lead off the game and stole second base. 2B Carlos Alonso, who was 3-for-4 with two runs and three RBI in the contest, nailed an RBI single to RF Wade Moore, with one out. Then, 1B Jeff Lanning singled the other way to right field to put runners on the corners. RF Anthony Hewitt crushed an RBI double to the left center field gap and with C Cameron Rupp, McKenzie tossed a wild pitch to the backstop scoring Lanning. Rupp served an RBI single into right summoning home Hewitt. 3B Drew Hillman also singled through the four hole, but was a part of two left stranded.
McKenzie allowed six runs, four earned, on eight hits in 4.0 innings, while walking two, and fanning a pair.
Lakewood poured on two more runs in the 4th inning as Rice drew a two-out walk and was pushed to second base on a passed ball charged to C Adrian Nieto. DH Miguel Alvarez swatted an RBI single to left field bringing in Rice and 3B Justino Cuevas fired a ball into right center field with Alvarez caught in a rundown to send Alvarez to third base. Alonso then dribbled an RBI infield single up the third base line to give the 'Claws a 6-0 lead.
In the 6th inning off Suns LHP Paul Applebee, the BlueClaws plated another pair of runs on an Alonso RBI two-bagger to the wall in left field and an infield RBI one-base knock by Lanning.
The Suns only run came in the 7th frame on a leadoff solo home run blast cranked by RF Kevin Keyes off RHP Chase Johnson into the right center field visiting bullpen, his 16th of the season.
Hagerstown would leave the bases loaded in the 8th inning after Taylor was hit by a pitch and with two down, Keyes and Martinson drew walks. Nieto grounded into a force out for Martinson at second base.
Hagerstown RHP Dean Weaver surrendered a solo bomb to Lanning to begin the 9th , his fifth of the '11 campaign onto the yellow line to the right of the old-school scoreboard. After Hewitt lofted his second double of the game off the batter's eye in center field, CF Zach Collier laced an RBI single into right center field to grab the 10-lead that would stand as the final score.
On Friday, the Suns will continue the final homestand of the 2011 campaign as the Lakewood BlueClaws will be hosted at Municipal Stadium for a 7:05pm first pitch. Hagerstown will send LHP Robbie Ray (2-3, 2.75) to the bump to face Philadelphia Phillies RHP Joe Blanton, making a rehabilitation start with the BlueClaws in series game two. 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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