By: Kyle Crooks / Jacksonville Suns
The Jacksonville Suns (0-0) open up their 2015 season tonight when they welcome in the Jackson Generals (0-0) for a first pitch of 7:05 p.m. ET. Jacksonville finished 2014 as Southern League Champions, finishing 81-59 in a season that saw the Suns win 16 of their final 17 games.
Tonight’s matchup marks the first of 20 straight at Bragan Field in April for the Suns. Jacksonville will welcome in Montgomery, Biloxi, and Birmingham after the Generals series. The unusual scheduling quirk is thanks in-part to construction being done to Biloxi’s MGM Park in Biloxi, Miss. This will force the Shuckers to play a series as the “home team” at the Baseball Grounds between April 20-24.
The Suns will look to capitalize on the extended homestand starting tonight, when Trevor Williams Miami’s #8 ranked prospect according to Baseball America, takes the mound. Last year the right-hander finished 0-1 in three starts while posting a 6.00 earned-run average. The Suns opening night starter’s first stop came with advanced-A Jupiter where he amassed an 8-6 record to go along with a 2.79 ERA. Those numbers were good enough to earn him a 2014 mid-season all-star honor with the club.
For the guys who will help provide run support for Williams: Viosergy Rosa, Austin Nola, Terrance Dayleg, Ryan Rieger, and Isaac Galloway will return to try and defend their 2014 Southern League Championship.
Rosa after claiming the 2014 Southern League Championship Series MVP, in a postseason where he hit .379 (11-for-29), is returning back to where he had burst on the scene. The Suns standout is coming into the 2015 campaign as the Marlins #23 ranked prospect according to Baseball America.
Nola played a full season in Jacksonville last year and lead Miami’s farm system in games played (134). The 2015 non-roster invitee into Marlins spring training was fourth on the team in doubles (21) and second in triples (5).
Dayleg posted a .241 B.A. in a Suns uniform in ’14. He split the season between Jacksonville and Jupiter, and as a Hammerhead he hit .278 in 55 games.
Rieger, finished the season with the double-A club hitting to a tune of .250 in 100 at-bats. This will be his fifth season in the minors.
Galloway sported a Jacksonville uniform for all of last season and in 110 games tallied 11 doubles which was good for third in Miami’s farm system.
The Suns will welcome in the Jackson Generals who finished 63-76 in 2014 which was good for third in the S.L.’s north division.
Jackson will send right-hander Stephen Landazuri who made all 19 starts with the Generals last year finishing 6-5 with a 4.33 ERA in 95 IP. He face an injury riddled 2014, but the 22nd round draft pick of the Mariners looks to rebound when he takes the ball in the opener tonight.
The Generals roster will feature two top prospects in INF D.J. Peterson and OF Gabby Guerrero.
Peterson is labeled as the Mariners’ top prospect according to Baseball America heading into 2015 and last year the slugger mashed 31 HR and 111 RBI combined in stops between advanced-A High Desert and double-A Jackson.
Guerrero the nephew of retired major leaguer Vladimir Guerrero, is ranked as the parent club’s fourth best prospect via Baseball America. He blasted a career-best 18 long balls last year with High Desert, and participated in the Arizona Fall League’s all-star game.
Fans can listen to the game live on the Suns Baseball Network, with the “Voice of the Suns” Roger Hoover providing play by play. Hoover is now in his fourth season as Jacksonville’s Director of Broadcasting. He is joined by Kyle Crooks and Allison Banko. Hoover and Crooks will host the Memorial Hospital Suns Pre-Game Show, beginning at 6:50 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.