Hagerstown, MD-The Hagerstown Suns (71-58, 31-28) dropped their series finale 5-3 on Thursday night at Municipal Stadium as the Hickory Crawdads (74-53, 34-25) were propelled by solid starting pitching from RHP Cody Buckel (8-3), the winning pitcher. The Suns outhit the Crawdads 11-10 but Hickory benefited from a three-run frame in the 2nd inning, while the 'dads played pristine defense en route to the set triumph.
Hickory scored first with one run in the 1st frame on back-to-back doubles by SS Jurickson Profar and 3B Christian Villanueva. Profar scorched a line drive up the right field chalk and Villanueva lifted a high arching blast off the center field padding to drive in the game's first run.
Suns RHP Matt Swynenberg (6-3), the losing pitcher, narrowly missed a quality start after tossing 6.0 stanzas and allowing four earned runs on seven hits, while walking one and fanning four.
The Suns answered in the home half of the 1st inning when CF Chris Curran blooped a single into center field and stole second base, SS Blake Kelso knocked a bouncer into center, and 2B Adrian Sanchez grounded into a 6-3 double play allowing the Suns' first run to score.
Buckel went 5.0 innings and surrendered three earned runs on eight hits with one walk and eight strikeouts.
The Crawdads tagged Swynenberg for three runs in the 2nd inning as RF Josh Richmond singled into left field, LF Jonathan Roof banged a grounder through the left side, and 1B Jhonny Gomez served a one-out single into right field to set up a scoring opportunity. Suns C Adrian Nieto threw a ball off the glove of 3B Justino Cuevas, an error on the toss, to allow Richmond to score. A wild pitch summoned home Roof, and an infield RBI single behind the mound struck by CF Jacob Skole brought in Gomez.
Hagerstown responded with a pair of runs in the last of the 2nd inning as Nieto drew a walk before LF Mills Rogers smoked a double up the right field chalk. Nieto was 3-for-3 with one run scored. Then, Cuevas ripped a two-RBI single back up the middle to plate Nieto and Rogers to cut the Crawdads lead to 4-3.
Suns LHP Ryan Demmin pitched the 7th and 8th innings, allowing a solo home run blast over both tiers of signage in right field crushed by C Kellin Deglan, his sixth dingers of the year.
Hickory's bullpen combined for 4.0 scoreless innings between RHP Joe Van Meter, RHP Ben Rowen, and RHP Francisco Mendoza (4 SV).
Mendoza got his third save of the series and sixth save of the season, throwing a lights out one-two-three 9th inning.
The Suns will make their final road trip of the season to Asheville, North Carolina to face the Asheville Tourists in a five game bus series as Hurricane Irene creeps up the East Coast. Hagerstown will bring RHP Chris McKenzie (4-5, 6.97) to the mound to face Asheville LHP Tyler Matzek (3-4, 5.40) in the series opener on Friday night, a 7:05pm first pitch. 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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