By: Kyle Crooks / Jacksonville Suns
The Jacksonville Suns (15-26) will look to stop a season-worst six-game losing streak when they take on the Mississippi Braves (23-18) tonight with a first pitch slated for 7:05 p.m. ET from Bragan Field.
The Suns losing 3-2 last night to the Braves now moves them to 6-9 in one run contests.
Tyrell Jenkins (W, 3-2) earned the victory lasting seven frames allowing two runs (all earned) on five hits while walking three and striking out seven. Suns starter Jake Esch (L, 3-3) generated six innings surrendering three runs (all earned) on two hits while walking a pair of batters and fanning seven men. Ryan Kelly (S, 10) notched his tenth save of the year after working a scoreless ninth and stranding the tying run on second base for Jacksonville.
The scoring would begin in the top of the first after two runners were set in scoring position for Seth Loman, who provided a RBI groundout to bring home Mallex Smith beginning the frame with a single. The Braves would jump out to the early 1-0 lead. In the top of the third with runners on the corners for Mississippi, the Braves executed a double steal plating Matt Lipka from third to take a 2-0 scoreboard advantage through two innings of play at Bragan Field. The first of the fifth frame saw the Braves score a solo run after a one-out double off the bat of Smith, who subsequently stole third base, to then be knocked in courtesy of a Lipka RBI sacrifice fly to give the Braves a 3-0 edge. In the eighth stanza Jacksonville worked the bases loaded with a trio of infield base hits against Braves starter Jenkins. With reliever Tyler Jones now on the mound with nobody out, Kenny Wilson got the Suns on the board with a RBI sac fly to center making it a 3-1 deficit. After Austin Nola’s infield single loaded the bases once again, Zack Cox arched a RBI sac fly of his own to bring his squad to within a run with the score now 3-2.
Tonight’s pitching matchup will feature right-hander Austin Brice taking the ball for the Suns to be opposed by Braves righty Jorge Reyes. Brice enters 1-3 with a 8.19 ERA, and in his last start on 5/17 against Biloxi he only lasted 3 and 1/3 innings (tied for his shortest outing) allowing six runs (all earned) on five hits while walking four and striking out a batter in a no decision. The North Carolina native entered 2015 as the Marlins 29th ranked prospect according to Baseball America, and has faced a rough month of May currently 1-1 with a 10.38 earned run mark surrendering 15 runs (all earned) on 13 hits while walking 12 and striking out nine in 13 frames of work. The scouting report on Brice is that he has not been able work deep into ballgames; his longest outings on 4/13 and 5/11 both lasted five innings. This is his first year in double-A after providing 27 starts with Jupiter (A+) a year ago, posting an 8-9 record with a 3.60 ERA over 127 and 1/3 innings pitched for the Hammerheads.
Reyes will be making his first start for the Braves tonight after building a 4-2 record and a 1.73 ERA in 10 games out of the bullpen. The righty took a losing decision in his last trip to the hill against Pensacola on 5/18, churning out four innings allowing one run (earned) on three hits while walking a batter and striking out five. Reyes is a former 17th round draft pick of the San Diego Padres in 2009 out of Oregon State, and was acquired by the Braves for cash considerations. Off the field Reyes may be recognized as the main component of a month long prank, that convinced major-league veteran Jeff Francoeur he was deaf with the help of his teammates and coaches. This all came after Francoeur saw Reyes remain completely still after a foul ball was headed in his direction, and while everybody yelled “heads up” the current Mississippi Brave remained still.
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 6:50 p.m. ET on the Suns Baseball Network.
Saturday is the Bragan Field debut of Team Ghost Riders, Bark in the Park, Blood Alliance Blood Drive, Pre-Game Miracle League Game & Saturday Night Shrimp Dinner! You won’t want to miss the first of three performances from America’s favorite dog riding monkeys and rodeo act, Team Ghost Riders who will perform following the game, courtesy of Underwood’s Jewelers, FOX 30 & 96.9 The Eagle! Plus it’s Bark in the Park and all dogs get in for just $2.50 and can run the bases after the game! The Blood Alliance Bloodmobile will be on hand and the Suns encourage all fans to donate blood! The first 25 donors receive 2 tickets to the game plus a hot dog and soda voucher! Before the game the Suns will host their annual Miracle League Game on the Field! Check out the hottest rides from your Southern Ford Dealers which will be on hand and it’s also the Saturday Night Shrimp Buffet courtesy of Sea Best! Get unlimited Butterfly Breaded Shrimp and sides from 6-8 in the Sundowner Lounge! Also check out the hottest rides from your Southern Ford Dealers!
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: Jacksonville Suns (15-26) @ Mississippi Braves (23-18)
Starters: JAX: RHP Austin Brice (1-3, 8.19 ERA) vs. MIS: RHP Jorge Reyes (4-2, 1.73 ERA)
Who’s Hot: David Adams is now batting .338 on the year with 12 RBI, which is good for third on the team. Adams has only played in 25 games because of a DL stint to start the year due to a right wrist injury. Carlos Lopez has put together a .368 average over the last five games and has tallied a hit in 15 of his last 17 games. The Suns bullpen tossed a scoreless two frames thanks to the work of lefty Frankie Reed (2.0 IP) and right-hander Casey McCarthy (1.0 IP).
Suns Spots: Here’s a note from the official Jacksonville Suns game notes:
-Starter Kendry Flores is second in batting average against (.169), second in WHIP (0.83), third in fewest baserunners allowed per nine innings (7.82), fifth in innings pitched (50.2), and controls the sixth-best ERA (1.95) in the Southern League. Closer Sean Donatello is tied for first in saves (10) in the S.L. Reliever Lay Batista has generated the league’s lowest average against holding opposing batters to a .115 average. Jacksonville has worked to only the league’s ninth-best batting average (.240) and sits middle of the pack in the S.L. with the sixth-best ERA (3.92).