By Jason Patterson / Jacksonville Suns
Rain forced the suspension of Game Four in the Southern League’s South Division Championship Series Sunday evening. If the weather holds Monday, one of the two rivals will emerge from the series with a ticket into the Southern League Championship by the end of the night. Jacksonville (2-1) and Mobile (1-2) are scheduled to resume play at Noon ET.
The Suns hold a 2-1 series advantage and 4-1 lead in the ballgame. Play will resume in the bottom of the 5th inning with Viosergy Rosa at second base and Joe Benson at the plate. Benson will be facing a 3-2 count with two outs in the frame. If Jacksonville holds the lead for the duration of the game, the Suns become South Division Champions.
Should Mobile battle back from the three-run deficit to claim the suspended game, the BayBears would force a fifth an decisive game in the SDCS. The potential winner-take-all Game Five, if necessary, would immediately follow the conclusion of suspended contest.
Jacksonville handed the ball to Jay Rogers (7-5, 4.40) in Game Four. The righty was opposed by Mobile right-hander A.J. Schugel (6-4, 3.47) tonight. Now the contest will be handed over to the bullpens the rest of the way.
If the Suns are able to close things out today, they would face the winner of the North Division matchup. That series is tied 2-2 with a decisive game five set to be played at 7:15 ET tonight. The Southern League Championship Series also has a best of five format. It is slated to begin either Tuesday or Wednesday, based on the actual finish date of round one.
As a special promotion during the first round of the playoffs, the Suns are allowing all Kids 12 and under in free. Kids will also be invited to run the bases following the conclusion of tonight’s game. All fans entering the gates in this series will receive 2014 Suns Team Photo.
Fans can listen to all playoff games live on the Suns Baseball Network, with Roger Hoover providing play by play. Hoover will be joined by Michael West and Jason Patterson. West and Patterson will host a post-season edition of the Memorial Hospital Pre-game Show, beginning at 11:45 p.m. ET on the Suns Baseball Network.
Previewing The South Division Series
The success of these two clubs in recent years is well documented. Four of the past five Southern League Championships have been won by the two South Division rivals. They possess nine total Championship trophies between them.
Jacksonville last won the league in 2010, capping a run to back to back titles. It was a victory over Mobile which propelled the Suns into their successful title match with Tennessee. Jacksonville took that previous playoff meeting by a count of three games to one.
Mobile is attempting to claim a fourth straight South Division crown. The BayBears are already making an remarkable fifth consecutive appearance in the division series. The first-half winners also claimed their two most recent Southern League titles in back to back fashion during the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
The last time someone besides Jacksonville or Mobile represented the South Division in the Southern League Championship Series was all the way back in 2008, when Mississippi won the league championship. Whatever the results of this series, one of the two competitors will run this notable streak to at least six seasons.
Jacksonville finished twenty games over .500 (45-25) in the second half. This included a 15-3 mark down the stretch. The club posted an impressive 19-10 record across the season’s final month.
Mobile closed out the second half six games over the .500 (37-31) benchmark, after claiming the first half crown with a 42-27 record. Both clubs finished in third position, behind second place Mississippi, in the final standings of the half they did not claim.
Today’s Key Information
Matchup: Jacksonville Suns (81-59, Second-Half Champions) @ Mobile BayBears (79-58, First-Half Champions)
Starters: MOB: RHP A.J. Schugel (4-1, 1.94) JAX: RHP Jay Rogers (7-5, 4.40)
Current Series: Jacksonville leads series 2-1.
Who’s Hot: Viosergy Rosa, Brady Shoemaker, Joe Benson and Terrence Dayleg (Combined for the Suns only four home run performance of the season. Rosa, Shoemaker and Benson started things with back to back to back home runs in the 2nd inning to give Jacksonville a 3-0 lead)
Season Series: Jacksonville took the regular season series 8 games to 7.
Southern League Titles: Jacksonville, 5 (1996, 2001, 2005, 2009, 2010)
Mobile, 4 (1998, 2004*, 2011, 2012)
*weather issues forced the cancellation of the 2004 Championship Series, Mobile and Tennessee were named co-champions
Sun Spots: Here are a few pieces of valuable information to consider heading into tonight’s game, direct from the official Jacksonville Suns game notes compiled by Michael West:
– With home runs from Viosergy Rosa, Brady Shoemaker, Joe Benson and Terrence Dayleg, Jacksonville’s four homers in game three of the SDCS set a new single-game high for the Suns on the 2014 season.
– After hitting three straight homers in the second inning, it marked the first time Jacksonville hitters went back-to-back-to-back since July 27, 2013 (Derek Dietrich, Mark Canha, Zack Cox). The Suns previously had not had back-to-back home runs at any point in the 2014 season.
– With seven runs in game three’s victory, the Suns improved to 51-9 overall on the year when scoring 5+ runs.
– Additionally, Jacksonville improved its record to 56-6 overall on the year when leading after six innings.
– Despite being outhit by Mobile 11-8, the Suns are now 31-43 altogether on the year when being outhit.
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.
The 2014 season of Suns baseball is presented by EverBank, the official banking partner of the Jacksonville Suns. Playoff tickets are currently on sale through the Suns Box Office. Post-Season tickets are sold at premium pricing with $10.50 for general admission, $12.50 for reserved seating and $16.50 for Homeplate Box seating. Tickets can be purchased by calling (904) 358-2846, or online at http://www.jaxsuns.com.