Hagerstown, MD-The Hagerstown Suns (56-44, 16-14) were stifled by the Greenville Drive (53-48, 15-16) on Monday afternoon at Municipal Stadium, losing 6-4. Suns LHP Robbie Ray spun 4.0 scoreless innings while allowing just one base hit and walking three, amidst six strikeouts.
Hagerstown struck first with a run in the opening inning as 2B Adrian Sanchez laced a double into the right field corner before C David Freitas lifted his first RBI sacrifice fly of the season to left center field to plate Sanchez.
RHP Keith Couch (4-3), the winning pitcher, surrendered two runs, one earned, on four hits and one walk, while fanning seven.
Greenville exploded with four runs in the 6th inning as seven members of the Drive came to swing against RHP Shane McCatty (1-3), the losing pitcher of record. McCatty allowed four earned runs on four hits. RF Wilfred Pichardo cued an RBI double up the left field line to score DH Felix Sanchez, who singled through the left side to get aboard. LF Brandon Jacobs, as part of a 2-for-3 day at the plate, skipped a single through the six hole to put runners on the corner. Then, CF Henry Ramos yanked a three-run home run over the right center field wall to plate Pichardo and Jacobs, his fourth long-ball of the season.
The Suns started chipping away at their deficit with an RBI two-base hit by Sanchez to the wall in left field scoring 3B Blake Kelso, who reached on an error by SS Xander Bogaerts to cut the Drive lead to 4-2.
Greenville grabbed the run they lost right back with a double off the stick of 3B David Renfroe to the gap in right center field that clipped off the glove of CF Chris Curran, diving and almost making a stellar catch. 2B Drew Dominguez lined a soft drive into left center field to score Renfroe putting Greenville up 5-2.
The Suns had more offense after 7th inning stretch time as 1B Brett Newsome led off with a sharp grounder off the glove of Bogaerts for an infield single towards the middle of the diamond. LF Wade Moore, who earned his third consecutive multi-hit effort, punched a double up the left field line, and with one out, RF Michael Taylor roped an opposite field single in front of Pichardo in right field. Newsome scored easily and Moore was able to take home plate when Pichardo's errant throw sailed to the third base barrier, crossing the midpoint between third base and home to make the contest a 5-4 lead for the Drive.
However, in the 9th inning off LHP Chris Manno, who holds the lowest batting average against in the South Atlantic League (.135), gave up his first home run of the season in his staff leading 34th appearance. Manno elevated a fastball to 1B Drew Hedman, who scraped a rainbow shot over the right field fence to give Greenville an insurance run.
RHP Michael Olmstead (2 SV) earned his second save of the season by throwing a perfect bottom of the 9th inning. Newsome went down swinging, Moore grounded out to Dominguez at second base, and Curran hacked at strike three to end the game.
Hagerstown and Greenville will square off for an early afternoon 11:05am first pitch for the Game Four finale. Wall-to-wall radio broadcast coverage will begin with a 10:50am Break Away 2 Sports Lounge Pre-game Show on MiLB.com. The starting pitching matchup will bring Greenville RHP Scott Swinson (2-2, 2.67) to the mound to face a hurler to be named for Hagerstown.
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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