By: Kyle Crooks / Jacksonville Suns
The Jacksonville Suns (13-16) head back home to face the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (11-19) in the “Battle of the Golden Skillet” with a first pitch slated for 11:05 a.m. ET Monday morning from Bragan Field.
Since 2012, the Suns and Wahoos have fought for the “Golden Skillet” in which Jacksonville has won every year since its inception. Last year the Suns dominated the season series between the in-state rivals winning 20 out of the 30 meetings.
The Suns are coming back from a 10-game road trip in which they went 4-6. After dropping four out of five games to Chattanooga, Jacksonville would then go on and win their series in Mobile three games to two.
The Wahoos come in 11-19 after earning a series victory against the Tennessee Smokies, claiming three of the five games played. The Suns and Wahoos are sitting in fourth and fifth place respectively in the Southern League South Division standings.
Today’s pitching matchup will feature right-hander Austin Brice on the mound for Jacksonville to be opposed by Pensacola’s righty Keyvius Sampson. Brice in his last start on 5/5 against Mobile, earned his third losing decision in 2015. The North Carolina native lasted 4 and 2/3 innings allowing seven earned runs on six hits while walking two and striking out four. The former 9th round draft pick of the Marlins comes into this start with a 0-3 mark attached with a 8.02 ERA. For the double-A newcomer, since his opening start against Jackson on 4/10, he has not lasted five innings in any of his next four trips to the hill.
Sampson will get the ball for the Wahoos after earning a victory in his last outing on 5/5 against the Tennessee Smokies. In that start the righty lasted six frames surrendering two runs (none earned) on five hits while walking a pair of batters and striking out four. Sampson was claimed by the Cincinnati Reds organization in January of 2015, after the San Diego Padres designated him for assignment. The native of Gainesville Fla., was once the #9-ranked prospect within the Padres prior to the 2014 season, and upon signing with the Reds, General Manager Walt Jocketty said, “it was a low-risk, high-reward move for us.”
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 10:50 a.m. ET on the Suns Baseball Network.
Monday is Celebration of Reading Day #1! This special 11:05am late morning game welcomes school kids from across the area for a day of baseball plus a special banner contest and no beer will be sold.
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: Pensacola Blue Wahoos (11-19) @ Jacksonville Suns (13-16)
Starters: PEN: RHP Keyvius Sampson (1-0, 0.90 ERA) vs. JAX: Austin Brice (0-3, 8.02 ERA)
Who’s Hot: Kenny Wilson provided a 4-for-5 performance at the plate for Jacksonville in their win on Saturday night, which would be the first time a Suns player tallied four hits in a single game since Austin Nola on 8/1/14. Carlos Lopez has a five-game hit streak going in which he is 8-for-21 (.381) with five RBI. Matt Juengel has a four-game hitting streak and finished the Mobile series 6-for-19 (.316).
Suns Spots: Here’s a note from the official Jacksonville Suns game notes:
-Starter Kendry Flores is first in batting average against (.161) and WHIP (0.79) while closer Sean Donatello sits first in saves (8) in the Southern League. Suns starter Jake Esch has posted the seventh-best ERA (1.93). Matt Juengel is tied for second in games played (29), third in total at-bats (116), and knotted in third in total bases (52). Lay Batista is second in average against for relievers (.081).