Suns Win Sixth Straight Game, 2-1 Over Lookouts

Game Recap

by Matt Leland / Jacksonville Suns

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Suns (22-16, 56-49) ran their season-high winning streak to six games, beating the Chattanooga Lookouts (14-24, 49-59) by a score of 2-1 in a rain-shortened six-inning game at Bragan Field.

Suns left-hander Jusin Nicolino earned his first career Double-A victory with six strong innings, allowing just one run on four hits, picking up six strikeouts along the way.

“I thought he pitched great,” Suns manager Andy Barkett said following the game. “I see why he’s so regarded as a prospect. I was impressed with the way he changed speeds.”

Jacksonville took advantage of one of its few chances against Lookouts starter Zach Lee (8-8), who held the Suns scoreless through the first three innings. In the fourth, however, Lee hit Derek Dietrich with a pitch to begin the fourth inning, starting the eventual winning rally.

With two outs, Danny Pertusati doubled down the left field line to score Dietrich and tie the game 1-1. Taylor Krick followed with an RBI single into center to plate Pertusati and put Jacksonville on top 2-1.

“Any time you can beat [Lee], it’s a big deal,” Barkett said of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ number five prospect. “We got a big hit there [in the fourth] and that’s all we needed.”

The game went into a rain delay after the completion of six innings, and was called off by the umpiring crew a short time later, giving the Suns their fourth straight victory over Chattanooga.

The Suns can go for their seventh straight victory and first sweep of the season on Thursday in the finale of the five-game series against the Lookouts. Chattanooga will try to salvage the final game behind right-hander Ross Stripling (5-1, 3.36), while the Suns have not yet determined a starter. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.

Suns fans can listen to Wednesday’s game on the Suns Baseball Network, 94.1 WSOS-FM or through jaxsuns.com, MiLB.com or the Suns iPhone or Android app, beginning at 6:50 p.m. ET with the UF Health Suns Pre-Game Show.

Suns’ Nicolino Moves On Up To The Double-A Level

Player Profiles

Suns left-hander Justin Nicolino. Photo Courtesy: Jeff Roberson / AP

By Andrew Green / Jacksonville Suns

Suns southpaw starter Justin Nicolino has gone through several unexpected moves this past year.

There was the phone call last November he got when he was shopping at a Nordstrom’s and there was also the meeting in Daytona earlier this month.

It was only a couple of weeks ago the left-hander was in Daytona on a road trip with the High-A Jupiter Hammerheads when he was called into the office.

“I wasn’t expecting it,” he recalls. “We had had a few rough games in Daytona and it was down in the clubhouse so I wasn’t expecting anything.”

“We came out the next night and we were playing great and everyone had good vibes,” he continued. “The next thing you know I’m called into the office and they said I’m coming to Jacksonville. It really caught me off guard.”

Getting settled in is part of every move, whether that be a new home, new school or new level. With two starts under his belt at the Double-A level, Nicolino is still in that phase in what many consider the toughest move talent-wise in the Minor Leagues.

“I was always told the biggest jump in baseball is High-A to Double-A and right now through my first two starts I’m kind of seeing that,” he says. “My mistakes that I was having in Jupiter were either foul balls or deep flies.”

“Here, they’re turning into home runs and doubles.”

It’s all part of a learning experience for the 21-year-old as he continues to make strides.

“You live and you learn through your mistakes and right now that’s what I’m doing, that’s what I’m trying to work on these past four days is trying to minimize them,” he says. “Nobody’s perfect and you’re going to have mistakes and stuff like that.”

“I think that’s the biggest thing for me.”

As for the biggest move in Nicolino’s professional career, that came last November, when he was part of the package the Toronto Blue Jays sent to the Miami Marlins in last year’s blockbuster deal.

“It’s like yesterday,” he recalls. “I was in a Nordstrom shopping and I’m getting ready for my trip to Vegas and I get a call from an unknown number, let it go to voicemail, then listened to it.”

“Right after I listened to it I knew I’d been traded.”

Instead of a trip to Vegas, he was making a trip to Miami for a physical. A week later, he got a call from a familiar voice. His former manager with the Lansing Lugnuts in 2011- current Marlins manager Mike Redmond.

“It’s not any different, he’s the same exact person he was when I was in Low-A in 2011 when I was 19-years-old,” he says. “I came into Spring Training and he’s the same exact guy.”

Nicolino hopes to one day soon make at least one more big move, that promotion to the Major Leagues. One of his former teammates, who was also included in that trade with Toronto last November is already there in former Suns outfielder Jake Marisnick.

“That’s the craziest thing, in 2011 we were both in Low-A,” Nicolino says. “It just goes to show you how fast things can change in a year in a half.”

Suns This Morning (7/31)

Suns This Morning

Suns outfielder Danny Pertusati’s bases-clearing triple led Jacksonville to their fifth straight win last night. Photo Courtesy: Bob Self / The Times-Union

By Andrew Green / Jacksonville Suns

The Suns defeated the Chattanooga Lookouts 6-5 in comeback fashion on Tuesday night, with Jacksonville left fielder Danny Pertusati delivering the key bases-clearing triple in the bottom of the seventh.

The win was the fifth straight for the Suns, which matches a season-high. Jacksonville also remains in first place in the Southern League South Division by a game and a half over the Mississippi Braves.

Entering the last of the seventh down by four, 3B Chris Gutierrez and 2B Derek Dietrich helped narrow the gap with two-out RBI singles, before Pertusati came to the plate with the bases full and cleared them with a triple down the right field line.

The win marked the second time the Suns have entered the seventh inning or later down four runs to Chattanooga and come out victorious at Bragan Field. The last occasion came on April 28, when Jacksonville came into the last of the ninth down 9-5 before topping the Lookouts 12-9, with former OF Marcell Ozuna’s three-run walkoff homer capping the win.

1B Mark Canha’s hit streak came to an end after an 0-for-2 effort and was forced to come out of the game after being hit by a pitch. During his streak, Canha hit .576 (19-33) with eight runs, five doubles, three homers and 12 RBI from July 20-29.

Suns reliever Grant Dayton (1.2 IP, 2 H, 4 SO) earned the win after firing 1.2 scoreless frames, while closer Michael Brady (1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 SO) notched his 17th save of the season with a shutout final frame.

Jacksonville and Chattanooga square off in the fourth game of their series this afternoon at Bragan Field, with first pitch set for 1:05 p.m. The Suns are expected to give the nod to LHP Justin Nicolino (0-2, 10.13 ERA), while the Lookouts are anticipated to send RHP Zach Lee (8-7, 3.23 ERA) to the mound.

The Suns’ parent club, the Miami Marlins, fell to the New York Mets in ten innings last night, despite mounting a comeback effort of their own. Going into the bottom of the seventh without a hit and trailing 2-0, the Fish plated two tallies, with former Suns outfielder Jake Marisnick delivering the game-tying RBI single to center.

New York, however, would bring across two scores in the extra frame courtesy of former Marlins catcher John Buck’s two-run base hit.

The two teams will face off tonight in the third game of their series at Marlins Park, with first pitch slated for 7:10 p.m. RHP Henderson Alvarez (1-1, 2.64 ERA) is set to toe the rubber for Miami, while the Mets are expected to to give the ball to RHP Jenrry Mejia (1-0, 0.00 ERA).

Below is today’s Suns This Morning.

Florida Times-Union: “Two-Out Rally Leads To Suns’ Five-Run Seventh Inning In Win
Chattanooga Times Free Press: “Suns Shade Lookouts 6-5
MiLB.com: “SL Notes: Jacobs Enjoying New Scenery
Miami Herald: “All Quiet With Marlins As Trade Deadline Nears
Sun Sentinel: “Marlins Tumble In Extra Innings To Mets
Palm Beach Post: “Buck’s Two-Run Single In The 10th Lifts Mets
MLB.com: “Alvarez Looks To Keep Scoreless String Going Against Mets
Big League Stew: “Jake Peavy Headed To Boston Red Sox In Three-Team Trade Involving Detroit Tigers
New York Times: “After A Spring To Forget, A Summer To Remember
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Brewers To Repay Fans’ Loyalty During Tough Season With $10 Voucher

Suns Rally Late to Beat Lookouts 6-5

Game Recap

by Matt Leland / Jacksonville Suns

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A five-run, seventh inning rally helped the Jacksonville Suns (21-16, 55-49) overcome a late four-run deficit and beat the Chattanooga Lookouts (14-23, 49-58) by a score of 6-5 in game three of a five-game series at Bragan Field.

Danny Pertusati’s three-run double capped Jacksonville’s stirring rally against the Lookouts bullpen, securing a series win for the Suns in front of [ ] fans at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.

“That was a great win,” said Suns manager Andy Barkett. “Never say die. The guys kept battling. The dugout energy was great.”

For the first six innings of the game, it looked as though Chattanooga would collect its first win of the series. The Lookouts jumped out to a 3-0 lead on Suns starter Robert Morey, scoring their second and third runs on Ozzie Martinez’s two-run homer in the fourth.

Morey escaped his eighth loss of the season when the Suns completed their comeback. The right-hander lasted five and a third innings, allowing five earned runs on nine hits with four strikeouts and a pair of walks before giving way to Grant Dayton (4-3).

“He battled and kept us in it,” Barkett said. “He burned through a few too many pitches but the rest of the guys closed it out.”

Meanwhile, Chattanooga left-hander Chris Reed held the Suns offense at bay. The southpaw allowed just one run on three hits over five innings, but also walked three batters and hit three, as well.

The Suns began to claw back against Lookouts reliever Onelki Garcia. With two outs and the bases empty, Jacksonville strung together three straight singles and scored two runs to bring its deficit to 5-3.

Pinch-hitter Audy Ciriaco and Derek Dietrich then drew consecutive walks that loaded the bases for Pertusati, who lined Hector Nelo’s (5-2) pitch down the right field line, placing it right on the chalk of the foul line for a bases-clearing double that gave the Suns a 6-5 lead.

Arquimedes Caminero tossed a scoreless eighth and Michael Brady earned his 17th save in 19 chances with a spotless ninth.

Having already secured a series victory, the Suns will seek their sixth straight win behind left-hander Justin Nicolino (0-2, 10.13) on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m. ET. The Lookouts look to right-hander Zach Lee (8-7, 3.23) in search of their first win of the series.

Suns fans can listen to Wednesday’s game on the Suns Baseball Network, 94.1 WSOS-FM or through jaxsuns.com, MiLB.com or the Suns iPhone or Android app, beginning at 12:50 p.m. ET with the UF Health Suns Pre-Game Show.

Wednesday afternoon is Baseball in the SUNShine with a Businessperson Special & Senior Citizens Day. $15.50 gets a home plate box seat, large hot dog and large beverage of choice, courtesy of WOKV. Also senior citizens get the Businessperson special package for just $10.50 and can stroll the bases from 12:15-12:30.

New Sun Isaac Galloway Looks to Make an Impact

Player Profiles

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by Matt Leland / Jacksonville Suns

When former Jacksonville Suns’ standouts Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick suddenly found themselves on their way to Miami to don Marlins uniforms, the Suns just as quickly found themselves with a major hole in their outfield.

Jacksonville is hoping that new call up Isaac Galloway, who until Friday had spent the entire 2013 season with the High-A Jupiter Hammerheads, can help fill the void that the departure of Yelich and Marisnick created. While it’s unlikely that Galloway will hit with the power that two of the top prospects in Miami’s system displayed, the team believes he will bring his own type of production to Jacksonville’s lineup.

“Isaac has a lot of speed and can do a lot of things,” said Suns manager Andy Barkett. “He’s getting a little baptism into Double-A. He’s handling it well and doing a good job for us.”

Galloway was on the road with the Hammerheads in Dunedin, Fla. when he found out that he would become a Double-A baseball player for the first time in his professional career.

“[Jupiter manager] Andy Haines told me I was going to Double-A,” Galloway said of the moment. “I was more shocked than anything. I’ve always been in A-ball, so to be called up, it’s real exciting.”

Galloway was immediately inserted in centerfield and at the top of Barkett’s lineup. After beginning his Suns career on the road out in Montgomery, he returned to Jacksonville with the team for his first action in the River City on Sunday. The 23-year old Galloway went 2-for-5 in his home debut in game one of the team’s series against the Chattanooga Lookouts, then did one better on Monday by hitting his first career Double-A home run off Duke von Schamann.

“It felt good. I’ve been a little nervous being here,” Galloway admitted. “Just hitting that home run made me feel a little bit more comfortable. I don’t hit too many, but that felt good.”

The two-run blast was just Galloway’s 28th career tater, but the native of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. noted that playing long ball is not among his primary strengths.

“Good defense,” Galloway answered when asked about his identity as a player. “I like to run and steal bags and get on base. That’s pretty much my game.”

Galloway has already stolen two bases in two attempts as a member of the Suns, and his speed will also come in handy out in center field, which in the vast expanses of Bragan Field can be a difficult position to play.

“I’ve played a lot of different positions, and I’m comfortable in left or right,” Galloway said. “But I have the most fun in center. That’s where I’m most comfortable.”

It may take some time for Galloway, a former eighth round pick who has played in the lower levels since he was 18, to feel completely at home in the Southern League, but he has also tempered his goals and expectations, instead focusing on letting his game develop naturally.

“My goal is just to play hard and get better,” Galloway said. “I’m going to experience it all and do my best.”

Listen as Suns go for fifth straight win tonight

Game Preview

Right-hander Robert Morey is expected to get the nod for the Suns tonight (Jay Metz).

By Andrew Green / Jacksonville Suns

The Suns look to continue their winning ways this evening at Bragan Field, with the third game of the series on tap against the Chattanooga Lookouts at 7:05 p.m.

Jacksonville has won four in a row and look to go on a five-game winning streak for the first time since April. The Suns also enter tonight leading the Southern League South Division standings by a game and a half over the Mississippi Braves.

The Fifty-Cent Family Feast returns to Bragan Field, with fifty-cent hot dogs, peanuts and ice cream treats available. Fans can also receive Buy-One-Get-One Tickets with any receipt from any Gate store. It’s also Social Media Night, allowing fans to interact with the Suns through Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare on this special night.

Right-hander Robert Morey (4-7, 4.63 ERA) is expected to take to the mound tonight for the Suns in the third game of the series. The Virginia native suffered the loss in his last outing on July 25 at Montgomery after allowing four earned runs on ten hits in four innings pitched. In two starts against the Lookouts this season, Morey has compiled an 0-1 record and 1.69 ERA (2 ER in 10.2 IP).

Chattanooga is anticipated to oppose Morey with southpaw Chris Reed (3-8, 3.62 ERA) tonight as they look to avoid a series loss. In his most recent outing on July 25 versus Jackson, Reed suffered the loss after relinquishing four earned runs on five hits, in addition to six walks, in three frames. In his two starts versus Jacskonville in 2013, the lefty owns no record and 0.00 ERA (0 ER in 11.0 IP).

Fans can listen to the game on the Suns Baseball Network, with the “Voice of the Suns” Roger Hoover entering his second season as Jacksonville’s Director of Broadcasting. Hoover is assisted by Matt Leland and Andrew Green. Leland and Green will host the UF Health Suns Pregame Show beginning at 6:50 p.m. ET on the Suns Baseball Network.

Below are more notes on tonight’s game, direct from the official Suns game notes compiled by Roger Hoover. The entire game notes for tonight’s contest can be viewed by clicking here.

You Can’t Stop Him, You Can(ha) Only Hope To Contain Him: First baseman Mark Canha continued his torrid streak at the plate Monday night, recording two hits to extend his hit streak to nine. Dating back to July 20, Canha has batted .576 (19-33) during the stretch with eight runs, five doubles, three homers and 12 RBI. The 23-year-old has raised his batting average 36 points during the streak from .234 entering July 20 action to its current peak of .270. Canha has also recorded six multi-hit games in that span, including five straight from July 20-25. The California native since July 20 ranks first in baseball (including the Minor and Major Leagues) in batting average (.576), as well as tied for first in his (19) and sixth in on-base percentage (.622).

…And Four To Go!: Catcher J.T. Realmuto busted out of an 0-for-13 slump in a big way last night, tying a career-high by collecting four hits in Jacksonville’s 12-4 victory. It marked the third time in the backstop’s career he has tallied four base knocks in a game and first since earlier this season on April 17. The 22-year-old also recorded a four-hit effort on August 23, 2011 for Single-A Greensboro. Prior to his four game slump, Realmuto had hit in eight straight games between July 10-21.

Home Sweet Home: In the friendly confines of Bragan Field this season, the Jacksonville Suns own a 28-23 record, as opposed to an even 26-26 mark on the road. More recently, Jacksonville has been victorious in 12 of their last 17 home games dating back to June 19, including each of their last four. Both Suns pitching and hitting has been better at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville this season, having launched 49 longballs in 51 games at home, compared to 38 in 52 road contests. As a team, Jacksonville has recorded a 3.11 ERA (160 ER in 462.1 IP) at home, in comparison to a 3.77 ERA (176 ER in 420.0 IP) on the road.

High Five?: With a victory tonight, the Jacksonville Suns would tie a season-high with their fifth straight win. The Suns earlier this season won five in a row between April 12-15, including a four-game sweep of the Huntsville Stars at Joe W. Davis Stadium. In this most recent stretch since July 26, Jacksonville as a team has launched six home runs, while starting pitchers have allowed a lone earned run in 19.2 innings pitched, equating to a 0.46 earned-run average.

Tonight’s broadcast will air on the Suns Baseball Network’s flagship station 94.1 Classic Rock WSOS-FM, plus the Suns’ mobile app. Click the link below to listen live online.

Listen live to the Suns and Lookouts July 30, 2013

You can also follow along with the game by following the Suns Baseball Network on Twitter and liking us on Facebook.

Highly touted left-hander Andrew Heaney joins Suns

Marlins News

The Marlins announced lefty starter Andrew Heaney has been transferred to Jacksonville from High-A Jupiter. Photo Courtesy: Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports

By Andrew Green / Jacksonville Suns

The Miami Marlins announced today that left-handed starter Andrew Heaney has been transferred to Jacksonville from High-A Jupiter. Since making his first start of the year on May 20 with Jupiter, the southpaw has recorded a 5-2 mark and 0.88 ERA (6 ER in 61.2 IP).

Heaney prior to this season was rated by Baseball America as the No. 43 overall prospect, as well as the third-best prospect in the Marlins system. The 22-year-old was selected by the Marlins with the ninth overall pick in the first round of the 2012 MLB Draft out of Oklahoma State University.

Here’s what the publication had to say about the lefty:
“Heaney got better with every start [last year], with his fastball climbing from 88-90 after the layoff to touching 97 in his final pro outing. It should settle at 90-94, and he commands it easily to both sides of the plate. His 83-85 mph slider is already at least a plus pitch, though he’s working to give it more deception with late, hard break that will finish out of the hitting zone…Heaney has a loose arm, effortless delivery and excellent control

Heaney enjoyed a stellar Junior season with OSU in 2012, accumulating an NCAA-best 140 strikeouts in 118.1 innings pitched. In 15 starts, Heaney compiled an 8-2 record and 1.60 ERA, including six complete games. After signing with the Marlins, the Oklahoma native made six professional starts last year, including four with Single-A Greensboro, combining for a 1-2 mark and 4.33 ERA.

With Heaney’s addition, the Suns now have three left-handed starters who were rated among the Marlins’ top ten prospects before the season by Baseball America. Justin Nicolino (sixth) was transferred to Jacksonville earlier this season, while Adam Conley (tenth) has been with the Suns all season and ranks tied for second in the Southern League with ten victories this year.

Suns This Morning (7/30)

Suns This Morning

Suns pitcher Matt Neil fired six scoreless innings in Jacksonville’s 12-4 win last night. Photo Courtesy: Kelly Jordan / The Times-Union

By Andrew Green / Jacksonville Suns

Jacksonville took their fourth consecutive game last night, powered by home runs from catcher J.T. Realmuto, center fielder Isaac Galloway and left fielder Danny Pertusati, in a 12-4 victory over the Chattanooga Lookouts at Bragan Field.

Realmuto got the barrage started with his leadoff longball in the second, while Galloway followed later in the frame with a two-run blast. Galloway’s roundtripper was hit first at the Double-A level since being promoted to the Suns from High-A Jupiter last week.

Following Pertusati’s RBI double in the third, Jacksonville would pile on five in the subsequent frame to make it 9-0. Run-scoring hits from 1B Mark Canha and 3B Zack Cox, in addition to Realmuto highlighted the inning before Pertusati struck again with a two-run shot to left, capping the five score frame.

Realmuto drove in another tally in the sixth with a double before an RBI groundout made it 11-0. The Suns would make it a dozen in the seventh courtesy of Canha’s run-scoring double to center.

Chattanooga would get their four scores in the eighth off the Suns’ bullpen, which suffered from control issues in the frame.

Jacksonville starter Matt Neil (6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 SO) fired six solid innings to earn the victory, yielding just two hits and two walks, adding four punchouts in six scoreless frames. Lookouts starter Duke von Schamann (3.2 IP, 11 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO) suffered the loss to fall to 2-4.

Realmuto (4-5, 3 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI) led the way for Suns batters by tying a career-high with four hits, wihle Galloway (2-5, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI), Canha (2-5, 2 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI), Cox (2-5, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI) and Pertusati (2-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI) all collected multi-hit efforts. Canha extended his hitting streak to nine games and is now hitting .576 (19-33) in that span with three homers and 12 RBI.

Jacksonville and Chattanooga are expected to meet again tonight in the third game of their series, with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. The Suns are anticipated to give the nod to RHP Robert Morey (4-7, 4.63 ERA), while the Lookouts are slated to send LHP Chris Reed (3-8, 3.62 ERA) to the mound.

The Miami Marlins, the Suns’ parent club, dropped their series opener to the New York Mets at Marlins Park last night, falling by a score of 6-5. Former Suns outfielder Jake Marisnick recorded his first multi-hit game in the Major Leagues as part of a 2-for-3 evening, in addition to a walk, while Giancarlo Stanton also reached base three times.

With Miami up 5-3 going into the seventh, the Mets plated three unanswered tallies thanks to RBI singles from Daniel Murphy and Marlon Byrd, while Ike Davis delivered what would be the game-winning hit with a run-scoring double to right.

The Marlins and Mets are set to square off tonight in the second game of their four-game set at 7:10 p.m. in Miami. The Fish are scheduled to give the ball to RHP Nathan Eovaldi (2-1, 3.54 ERA), while RHP Zack Wheeler (4-1, 3.72 ERA) is set to toe the rubber for New York.

Below is today’s Suns This Morning.

Florida Times-Union: “Suns Find Offense In 12-4 Victory
Chattanooga Times Free Press: “Suns Pounce On Lookouts In 12-4 Win
MiLB.com: “Suns Embrace Roles After Promotions
Miami Herald: “Marlins Relievers Falter In Loss To Mets
Sun Sentinel: “Mets Use Two 3-Run Innings To Nip Marlins 6-5
Palm Beach Post: “Marlins’ Slowey Out 4-6 Weeks
MLB.com: “Eovaldi Looks To Build On Strong Outing Facing Mets
Big League Stew: “All In A Day’s Work: Scott Downs Gets Traded To The Braves, Makes A Good Play, Earns First Win
New York Times: “For Baseball Old-Timer, Numbers Aren’t The Story
Sports Illustrated: “What Is Dead May Never Die: Inside The Resurgence Of Francisco Liriano

Suns’ Bats Explode in 12-4 Victory Over Lookouts

Game Recap

by Matt Leland / Jacksonville Suns

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Suns (20-16, 54-49) scored the first 12 runs of the second game of their series against the Chattanooga Lookouts (14-22, 49-57), eventually holding on for a 12-4 win at Bragan Field, the team’s fourth victory in a row.

The Suns jumped on Lookouts starter Duke von Schamann (2-4) for eight runs in fewer than four innings, launching a pair of home runs and handing starter Matt Neil (2-2) plenty of run support in front of 3,141 fans at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.

“We swung it well tonight,” Barkett said. “It was a real nice win.”

J.T. Realmuto began the scoring onslaught with his fourth home run of the season, a solo blast in the bottom of the second that put Jacksonville on top 1-0. Realmuto, who did not play in Sunday’s series opener, finished 4-for-5 with a pair of RBI’s.

“For him to get four knocks tonight was huge,” Barkett said. “He needed a rest [yesterday], but he looked real comfortable at the plate [tonight].”

Three batters later, after Neil extended the inning with his second hit of the season, Isaac Galloway crushed his first career Double-A home run to give the Suns a 3-0 advantage.

The Suns would add a run in the third, and then broke the game open with a five-run fourth. Danny Pertusati’s fourth home run of the season capped the quintet of runs, a two-run tater that gave the Suns a 9-0 lead.

Mark Canha extended his hitting streak to nine games in the victory, finishing 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored.

Meanwhile, Neil put together his best start of the season. The right-hander threw six scoreless innings and allowed just one hit, a first inning single.

“He pitched well,” Barkett said. “We needed him to do the job for us, and he did. I was proud of his effort.”

The Lookouts scored four runs in the eighth inning to avoid their sixth shutout since the Southern League All-Star Game on July 17 but could not escape their second straight loss to the Suns.

Suns right-hander Robert Morey (4-7, 4.63) is scheduled to make the start for Jacksonville in game three of the five-game series on Tuesday, set for a 7:05 p.m. ET start. Morey will be opposed by Chattanooga left-hander Chris Reed (3-8, 2.82) as the Suns seek to clinch a series win.

Suns fans can listen to Tuesday’s game on the Suns Baseball Network, 94.1 WSOS-FM or through jaxsuns.com, MiLB.com or the Suns iPhone or Android app, beginning at 6:50 p.m. ET with the UF Health Suns Pre-Game Show.

Fifty Cent Family Feast returns on Tuesday, and it’s also Social Media Night & Gate Tuesday Night Tickets. Fans can enjoy $.50 hot dogs, peanuts and ice cream treats, sponsored by Oscar Mayer, Hampton Farms, Blue Bell Ice Cream, Folio Weekly and 99.9 Gator Country. Also, fans should be sure to connect with the Suns on social media throughout the game for special prizes. Fans may present a receipt from any local GATE Convenience Store at the Suns Box Office for Buy One-Get-One Tickets.

Listen as Suns face Lookouts in game 2

Game Preview

Suns 1B Mark Canha carries an eight-game hit streak into tonight’s game (Roger C. Hoover).

By Andrew Green / Jacksonville Suns

The first-place Jacksonville Suns face the Chattanooga Lookouts in the second game of their series this evening at 7:05 p.m. at Bragan Field.

The Suns shut out Chattanooga 3-0 in the series opener last night behind six scoreless innings from lefty Adam Conley, while 1B Mark Canha continued his hot streak with a two-run double in the opening frame. The win coupled with Mobile’s loss last night means Jacksonville now owns a game and a half lead in the South Division standings.

It’s Belly Buster Monday at Bragan Field, meaning for only $20, fans get a Home Plate Box ticket and an all-you-can-eat buffet of hamburgers, hot dogs, popcorn, ice cream treats and soft drinks from 6-8 p.m. It’s also Clay County Night at the ballpark, with special ticket packages for the citizens and businesses of the Clay County area.

Right-hander Matt Neil (1-2, 3.95 ERA) is expected to take the hill for Jacksonville tonight in the second game of the series. Neil struck out both batters he faced in his last start on July 26 at Montgomery before being forced out of the game due to an ejection. In his prior outing versus Chattanooga this year, the 26-year-old suffered the loss after yielding four runs (three earned) on six hits in five innings pitched.

Set to face off against Neil this evening for Chattanooga is right-hander Duke von Schamann (2-3, 3.42 ERA). The 22-year-old suffered the defeat in his last start on July 24 versus Jackson after allowing four earned runs on six hits, fanning five in 5.2 innings of work. In his only outing of the year against Jacksonville, the Oklahoma native suffered the loss after relinquishing four earned runs on eight hits in five frames.

Fans can listen to the game on the Suns Baseball Network, with the “Voice of the Suns” Roger Hoover entering his second season as Jacksonville’s Director of Broadcasting. Hoover is assisted by Matt Leland and Andrew Green. Leland and Green will host the UF Health Suns Pregame Show beginning at 6:50 p.m. ET on the Suns Baseball Network.

Below are more notes on tonight’s game, direct from the official Suns game notes compiled by Roger Hoover. The entire game notes for tonight’s contest can be viewed byclicking here.

Neil Returns after Prompt Ejection Friday: Tonight Matt Neil starts against the Chattanooga Lookouts for the first time since April at Bragan Field. Neil only worked two thirds of an inning in his last outing at Montgomery before he was ejected after hitting Mikie Mahtook in the first inning by home plate umpire Shane Livensparger. Neil went 1-2 with a 4.09 ERA in six starts to start the season with Jacksonville before being promoted to Triple-A New Orleans on May 20. With the Zephyrs he made nine appearances and seven starts, going 2-3 with a 5.08 ERA, pitching in just over 44 innings. Since a doubleheader start on July 14 against Mobile, Neil has also worked a game in relief against Tennessee, tossing two innings on Saturday while allowing a run.

On the Mark CanhaMark Canha continues to do what he wants at the plate, he won’t stop. By going 1-for-4 with a two-RBI double last night, Canha has hit safely in his last eight games at the plate and has hits in 17 of his last 29 at-bats, one of the most dominant stretches you’ll see for a Southern League hitter during the 2013 season. Over his last 10 games, Canha is hitting .514 (17-for-33) with three homers, 11 RBI, and five doubles. Canha, who hit .230 in June, is now hitting .373 in July with four homers and 15 RBI in 22 games played.

Dietrich Returns to Jacksonville: Second baseman Derek Dietrich is 1-for-18 in his return to the Jacksonville Suns, with the one hit being a game-tying home run in the seventh inning of Saturday night’s game in Montgomery. Dietrich was added to the Suns roster from the Major League Miami Marlins on Monday, and in the big leagues was hitting .214 with nine homers and 16 RBI. Dietrich began the season with the Jacksonville Suns, and earned his first promotion to the Marlins on May 8, collecting his first big league hit later that day in San Diego. Dietrich has struck out 10 times in his 18 at-bats to this point in his return, and he had struck out 13 times in his last 14 games with the Marlins.

Tonight’s broadcast will air on the Suns Baseball Network’s flagship station 94.1 Classic Rock WSOS-FM, plus the Suns’ mobile app. Click the link below to listen live online.

Listen live to the Suns and Lookouts July 29, 2013

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