Two very important games are on tap tonight at The Baseball Grounds. (Photo courtesy: Brian DeLettre)
By Jason Patterson / Jacksonville Suns
The Suns (41-25, 77-59) and BayBears (37-27, 79-54) continue the final regular season series of 2014 with a consequential double-header tonight at Bragan Field. The first of two seven inning contests is scheduled to get underway at 5:05 p.m. ET.
Jacksonville’s six consecutive wins have served only to pull them within one-half game of division leading Mississippi in the standings. That “half-game” will be dealt with tonight as the Suns and BayBears play a pair. The ultimate direction that half game swings could determine the second half division race.
By the time all of Saturday’s Southern League action is complete a much clearer picture of what it will take for Jacksonville to reach the post-season will have emerged. Keep in mind, the Suns only remaining entrance route for playoff baseball is winning the South Division’s second half crown outright.
Should the Suns sweep the BayBears, they could wake up Sunday morning in sole possession of first place with a Braves loss against Huntsville. This scenario illustrates how tight this race has become at the wire. Anything short of being swept and seeing Mississippi win tonight will keep Jacksonville in the race for at least another day.
Whatever the case, only two games will remain in the regular season following tonight’s twin-bill. Jacksonville is still in position to cross the eighty win threshold with just three more victories in their final four games.
Mobile enters today’s double-dip on the brink of second-half elimination. While the BayBears are already assured of post-season play by virtue of winning the first-half race, any further losses will end their hopes of sweeping both halves and securing an even greater home field advantage in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Winning the opener placed the Suns in position to take the current series from the BayBears with a sweep tonight. Jacksonville also remained alive in the overall series, shrinking the BayBears advantage to 7-4 on the year. Mobile took four of five from the Suns at Bragan Field in May, then followed with a three games to two series win at Hank Aaron Stadium in June.
Jay Rogers (6-5, 4.67) will take the ball in game one for Jacksonville. The Suns right-hander will be opposed by BayBears righty Braden Shipley (1-1, 3.00). Game two will feature another matchup of righties, Jacksonville is expected to send Jon Link (1-0, 4.50) to the hill against Mobile’s Aaron Blair (4-1, 2.18)
Tonight’s games will be carried live in high-definition as part of an eleven game package on Jacksonville’s CW-17. Roger Hoover will provide the play by play. He will be joined on the broadcast by Suns owner Peter Bragan Jr. The television broadcast will air beginning at 5:00 p.m. ET for the 5:05 p.m. ET first pitch.
Fans can also listen to the game live on the Suns Baseball Network, with Michael West providing play by play. West will be joined on the broadcast by Jason Patterson. West and Patterson will host the Memorial Hospital Pre-game Show, beginning at 4:50 p.m. ET on the Suns Baseball Network.
Matchup: Mobile BayBears (37-27, 79-54) @ Jacksonville Suns (41-25, 77-59)
Starters: MOB: RHP Archie Bradley (2-2, 3.31) JAX: RHP Jose Urena (12-8, 3.37)
Who’s Hot: Isaac Galloway (Galloway enters Saturday riding a ten game hitting streak – His two-run single capped the Suns tone-setting five run first-inning on Friday night)
Sun Spots: Here are a few key pieces of information to consider heading into tonight’s game, direct from the official Jacksonville Suns game notes compiled by Michael West:
– Entering Saturday’s pair of games, the Suns find themselves 0.5 games back of the Mississippi Braves for the top spot in the second half Southern League South Division standings.
– After going seven strong innings in his winning effort on Friday, Jose Urena now moves into a tie with teammate Justin Nicolino for the Southern League lead in wins with 13.
– Jacksonville improved its record to 51-21 when scoring first in a given ballgame.
– With his first inning single on Friday, Isaac Galloway (10 games) is now one of four Suns to post double-digit hitting streaks on the 2014 season (Austin Nola, 17 games; Joe Benson, 10 games; Danny Black, 10 games).
Today’s broadcast will air on the Suns Baseball Network’s flagship station 94.1 Classic Rock WSOS-FM. It can also be found via the Jacksonville Suns mobile app. Click the link below to listen online.
Listen to Suns and BayBears: Live – August 30, 2014
You can also keep up with all the game action on the Suns Baseball Network and by following the Suns on Twitter and liking us on Facebook.
Here’s a look at today’s outstanding promotions for fans making the trip to Bragan Field:
DOUBLEHEADER: Due to the Jacksonville Jaguars game on Aug. 28, the Suns rescheduled their contest for that day to Aug. 30 for two seven-inning games. First pitch is 5:05 p.m.
CHRISTMAS IS AUGUST: Be sure to arrive early as the first 2,000 fans get a Southpaw Snowglobe, courtesy of Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront & First Coast News 12 & 25. Also all fans get a 2014 Suns Team Photo, courtesy of The Salvation Army.
BIRDZERK APPEARANCE: Catch all of the crazy antics of everyone’s favorite fowl, Birdzerk, who will be on hand and performing throughout the games. SPONSORS: Memorial Hospital and 96.9 The Eagle.
SEA BEST SATURDAY SHRIMP DINNER: Enjoy the Sea Best Unlimited Shrimp Dinner in the Sundowner Lounge from 6-8 p.m. Get unlimited Butterfly Breaded Shrimp, sides and a soda for only $16.50.
SOUTHERN FORD DEALERS SHOWCASE: Check out the hottest rides from your Southern Ford Dealers which will be on hand.
BLOOD ALLIANCE BLOOD DRIVE: The Suns encourage all fans to donate blood. The first 25 donors receive two tickets to the game, a hot dog and soda voucher and a special Suns gift.
The 2014 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.