Salisbury, MD-The Hagerstown Suns (56-46, 16-16) fell just short of a come-from-behind rally as the Delmarva Shorebirds (36-35, 13-20) took the series opener at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium 5-4. The opening game of an eight-game road trip, after the Suns went (3-4) on their latest homestand, featured the visitors scoring first but unable to hold the advantage.
The Suns got two runs in the 2nd inning off LHP Jarret Martin (5-6), the eventual winning pitcher, when LF Wade Moore ripped an RBI double down the first base line to score SS Jason Martinson, who walked to get aboard. Then, 3B Justin Cuevas, in his first game with Hagerstown this season, laced an RBI single into left center field, summoning home Moore.
Martin went 6.0 stanzas and despite walking five, he allowed just two earned runs on four base hits.
Delmarva countered with two runs in their half of the 2nd frame as DH Michael Ohlman lined a single into left field, C Joe Oliveira walked, and 3B Garabez Rosa knocked a sacrifice bunt to the right of the pitcher's mound to force both runners into scoring position. 1B Adam Gaylord lofted an RBI sacrifice fly to right field bringing home Ohlman, before SS Michael Rooney teed an RBI single up the left field line churning Oliveira to the plate.
Hagerstown RHP A.J. Cole (2-6), the losing pitcher, surrendered five earned runs on four hits, while walking five and fanning five.
In the 3rd inning Cole served up an RBI double to Oliveira that was shot to the left field corner, waving home LF Ty Kelly, who walked, and Rosa ripped a two-run double into the left field alley way to score Ohlman and Oliveira. Rosa was cut down at the third base bag on a play off the wall by CF Michael Taylor that was rocketed to Martinson, the cutoff man in shallow left center, relayed on to Cuevas at third base.
The Shorebirds held onto a 5-2 lead until RHP Luis Noel gave up a pair of runs in the 8th inning. RF Kevin Keyes reached on an errant throw by Rosa that allowed him to take second base. Moore drew a walk to set up a run scoring double up the left field chalk yanked by 1B Mills Rogers. Cuevas then lazered a hard line drive to left field for a sacrifice RBI as Moore fleeted to home plate.
Suns LHP Paul Applebee was terrific in relief to keep the game within striking distance for Hagerstown, tossing 5.0 scoreless innings, retiring 13 in a row through the 8th inning, allowing just one walk and no hits.
In the 9th inning, RHP David Walters (24 SV), the South Atlantic League's save leader, notched his 24th save of the 2011 campaign, despite allowing a single to C David Freitas through the hole at shortstop. Keyes struck out on a sharp breaking ball to the end the series opener.
Game Two will feature a 7:05pm first pitch as the SAL's Battle for Maryland continues as the Delmarva Shorebirds host the Hagerstown Suns once again. Wall-to-wall radio broadcast coverage on Friday night will begin with a 6:50pm Break Away 2 Sports Lounge Pre-game Show the Suns radio flagship station, WJEJ 1240 AM. The starting pitching matchup will feature LHP Tim Berry (3-6, 5.81) tossing against LHP Robbie Ray (2-1, 2.00).
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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