By: Kyle Crooks / Jacksonville Suns
The Jacksonville Suns (18-27) and Birmingham Barons (21-25) will shift their series to Regions Field for game two of their five-game set tonight with a first pitch slated for 8:05 p.m. ET.
The Suns earned their second victory in three trips to the Rickwood Classic, and America’s oldest ballpark Rickwood Field, yesterday by an 8-2 score.
Suns starter Kendry Flores (W, 3-3) earned the victory tossing six innings allowing two runs (all earned) on four hits while walking two and striking out three. Myles Jaye (L, 2-3) generated four and two-thirds frames surrendering five runs (three earned) on seven hits while walking one and striking out a solo batter in his start for the Barons.
The scoring would begin in the top of the second, after a two-out single by David Adams set the table for Terrance Dayleg’s RBI double leaping the Suns out to a 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the third the Barons tied the score at one. Adrian Nieto blasted a lead off double, and subsequently moved to third after a wild pitch from Flores. Next batter Jeremy Farrell, cashed in with a RBI sacrifice fly to knot the score through three innings at Rickwood Field. In the first of the fifth inning the Suns created separation on the scoreboard. First Danny Black, in his first game back in Jacksonville in 2015, lined a RBI single to put the Suns in front 2-1. Two batters later, with the bases loaded, Kenny Wilson reached courtesy of a fielding error by Barons third baseman Jeremy Farrell, that scored Black and Sharif Othman to make the tally 4-1. Now two runners on for Austin Nola, he would provide a productive groundout to shortstop that brought home Othman and completed the five-run rally, setting the score at 5-1.
To the bottom of fifth and Birmingham tacked on a run after Nieto’s (HR, 3) solo blast crept the Barons to within three runs, now trailing 5-2. In the eighth, against Barons reliever Kyle Hansen, Matt Juengel (HR, 5) delivered a solo home run over the left field wall to swell the Suns edge to 6-2. Flashing to the first of the eighth frame Danny Black added a pair of runs on one swing courtesy of his two-run single that put Jacksonville in front 8-2. Out of the Suns bullpen Brian Ellington worked a pair of scoreless frames while relinquishing two hits. Juancito Martinez hurled a scoreless ninth in his double-A debut.
Tonight’s pitching matchup will feature Jacksonville right-hander Jake Esch taking the ball against Birmingham righty Mark Blackmar. Esch enters tonight’s start 3-3 with a 2.83 ERA. The Georgia Tech product in his last start against Mississippi, took the loss in six innings of work only allowing three runs (all earned) on two hits while walking two and striking out seven. The former 11th round draft pick of the Marlins in 2011 enters with the fifth-best WHIP (1.06) in the Southern League. In the month of May, he has worked to a 1-3 record attached alongside a 4.03 earned-run mark. Esch spent a pair of starts with triple-A New Orleans in which he went 0-1 while sporting a 5.23 ERA over a span of 10 and one-third innings for the Zephyrs.
Blackmar steps to the hill for Birmingham not having picked up a victory in 2015, posting a 0-3 record saddled with a 4.30 ERA. He took a losing decision in his last start on 5/22 against Biloxi, in which he would manufacture seven frames relinquishing four runs (all earned) on six hits while walking two and striking out three. Blackmar did make one start against the Suns on April 26th,and would toss a stellar seven frames while being tagged for one earned run on two hits. He’s a former 16th round draft pick of the Baltimore Orioles in 2011, and entered the White Sox organization along with right-hander Miguel Chalas, in a deal that sent major-league outfielder Alejandro De Aza to Baltimore in 2014. A year ago the Texas native put together a 10-1 campaign with the Fredrick Keys (A+) of the Carolina League.
Fans can listen to the game live on the Suns Baseball Network, with Roger Hoover providing play by play. Roger Hoover and Kyle Crooks will host the Memorial Hospital Suns Pre-Game Show beginning at 7:50 p.m. ET on the Suns Baseball Network.
The 2015 season of Suns baseball is presented by EverBank, the official banking partner of the Jacksonville Suns. Sponsorships, group outings, and season/individual game tickets are currently available by calling the Suns front office at (904) 358-2846.
Matchup: Jacksonville Suns (18-27) @ Birmingham Barons (21-25)
Starters: JAX: RHP Jake Esch (3-3, 2.83 ERA) vs. BIR: RHP Mark Blackmar (0-3, 4.03 ERA)
Who’s Hot: David Adams went 5-for-5 with four singles and a double in yesterday’s 8-2 win, and it marked the first time a Sun has gone for five hits in a single contest this year. The last Sun to produce five hits in one game, came from former Jacksonville standout, and now current Los Angeles Dodger, Austin Barnes, who manufactured a 5-for-6 night at the plate on August 10th, 2013 against the Pensacola Blue Wahoos.
Suns Spots: Here’s a note from the official Jacksonville Suns game notes:
-Starter Kendry Flores is second in WHIP (0.85), second in batting average against (.172), second in fewest baserunners allowed per nine innings (7.94), and fourth in ERA (2.06) in the Southern League. Jake Esch sits fifth in WHIP (1.06). Closer Sean Donatello is first in saves (12) in the S.L. Reliever Lay Batista has generated the league’s lowest average against holding opposing batters to a .103 average. Zack Cox rests tied for fourth in on-base percentage (.409).