Hagerstown, MD-The Hagerstown Suns (71-57, 31-27) came up short on Wednesday night at Municipal Stadium as the Hickory Crawdads (73-53, 33-25) used the performance of SS Jurickson Profar in conjunction with solid pitching to garner a 5-2 game three victory. Profar went 2-for-4 with three RBI and one run scored, while Crawdads tossers struck out 13 Suns hitters and walked just one. Hickory takes a three games to one lead in the four game set and pushes the Suns to 4th place behind the division leading Kannapolis Intimidators in the South Atlantic League Northern Division playoff race.
Hickory RHP Nick Tepesch, who did not factor into the decision, went 4.0 innings and allowed two earned runs on six hits, while walking none, fanning six batters, and surrendering one home run. Tepesch fanned the side in the 4th frame.
Suns RHP A.J. Cole (4-7), the losing pitcher of record, made it through 4.1 innings and gave up five runs, four earned, on six hits, amidst one walk and five strikeouts, including striking out the side in the 3rd inning.
Hickory tagged the scoreboard first with one run in the 4th frame on an RBI double lashed to the left field corner by C Tomas Telis to score 2B Odubel Herrera, who reached on an error by 2B Adrian Sanchez. The Venezuelan second baseman had a ball go through his legs to put Herrera aboard, and stole second base to get in scoring position.
The Suns threw up a pair of runs in the bottom of the 4th inning as RF Kevin Keyes blasted a solo homer on the first pitch by Tepesch that sailed over the left field wall to the base of the old-school scoreboard. SS Jason Martinson was hit by a pitch before he swiped second base. Then, with two outs LF Wade Moore hooked an opposite field RBI double up the left field chalk to give Hagerstown a 2-1 advantage.
Cole would give up four runs to the Crawdads on four consecutive base hits in the 5th inning which was his undoing in the contest. With one out LF Braxton Lane singled through the right side of the infield, CF Jacob Skole lashed a single into left center field, and Herrera singled through the deep hole at shortstop. Profar came up with the bases loaded and emptied the sacks on a three-run triple over the head of Moore in left field to surge Hickory to a 4-2 lead they would not relinquish. Profar now has 57 runs batted in this season. Profar scored on an RBI sacrifice fly by 3B Christian Villanueva to left field. Villanueva collected his 79th RBI of the season.
The Suns' bullpen was stellar as RHP Shane McCatty, RHP Wilson Eusebio, and RHP Ben Graham combined for 4.2 scoreless innings, allowing just two base hits and walking just one.
Hickory's 'pen featured RHP Jose Monegro (2-0), the winning pitcher, grooving through 3.0 perfect innings with no walks and five strikeouts before sidewinder setup man, RHP Ben Rowen spun a scoreless 8th inning. Francisco Mendoza (5 SV) earned his second save of the series and fifth of the campaign after fanning two in the 9th inning and inducing a groundout off the bat of 1B Brett Newsome to Alejandro Selen at first base to end the game.
The Suns welcome Hickory to Municipal Stadium for a Thursday evening game four finale, featuring a 7:05pm first pitch and a 6:50pm Break Away 2 Sports Lounge Pre-game Show on the radio flagship of the Hagerstown Suns, WJEJ AM 1240. The Suns will summon RHP Matt Swynenberg (6-2, 3.45) to the hill to square off with RHP Cody Buckel (7-3, 2.49). Thursday night is a Break Away 2 Sports Lounge Thirsty Thursday at the Muni in which fans will enjoy drink specials and concessions exclusives.
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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