By: Kyle Crooks / Jacksonville Suns
The Jacksonville Suns (17-27) will take part in the 20th annual Rickwood Classic this afternoon when they take on the Birmingham Barons (21-24) at America’s oldest professional ballpark Rickwood Field with a first pitch slated for 1:30 p.m. ET.
This annual tradition in Birmingham, Ala. has been regarded as “MiLB’s most anticipated game” according to MiLB.com in 2009, and has garnered the attention of ESPN having been labeled as “One of the 101 Things All Sports Fans Must Experience Before They Die” in a column written by Jim Caple, while in 2010 it was voted as “Promotion of the Year” by MiLB.com at the conclusion of the season. The Suns have participated in this event twice, first in 2007 losing 3-2, then once again in 2008 in which they picked up a 4-2 victory. Jacksonville will wear their all-yellow uniforms they had debuted a year ago for Sunday “throwback games.”
Today’s pitching matchup will feature Kendry Flores taking the ball for Jacksonville to be opposed by Barons righty Myles Jaye. Flores in the month of May has been one of the best pitchers in the S.L., and he currently controls the 3rd best ERA (1.95) in the league. In May, the right-hander has put together a 1-0 mark attached with a 0.64 ERA in 28 innings of work offering up six walks compared to 22 strikeouts over four starts. He’s the only Sun that is currently on the Miami Marlins 40-man roster.
Jaye enters play with a 2-2 mark and a 4.50 ERA for Birmingham. In his last start against Chattanooga on 5/13, he took a losing decision after tossing six innings allowing three runs (all earned) on four hits. This is his second go-around with the Barons after making 24 starts a year ago working to a 5.32 earned run mark.
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 1:15 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.
Matchup: Jacksonville Suns (17-27) @ Birmingham Barons (21-24)
Starters: JAX: RHP Kendry Flores (2-3, 1.95 ERA) vs. BIR: RHP Myles Jaye (2-2, 4.05 ERA)
Who’s Hot: Matt Juengel in the series finale with Mississippi on Monday finished 3-for-4 with a trio of RBI singles. That marked Juengel’s first three-hit performance and his fifth multi-hit game this season. The Suns bullpen in the final three games of the Mississippi series had churned out a stretch of 8 and 2/3 innings in scoreless fashion. Zack Cox saw one plate appearance on Sunday and belted a double, and in his last 10 games he has posted a .375 average. Carlos Lopez has tallied at least one hit in 17 of his last 20 games with a plate appearance.
Suns Spots: Here’s a note from the official Jacksonville Suns game notes:
-Starter Kendry Flores is first in WHIP (0.83), second in batting average against (.169), second in fewest baserunners allowed per nine innings (7.82), and third in ERA (1.95) in the Southern League. Jake Esch sits fifth in WHIP (1.06). Closer Sean Donatello is first in saves (12) in the S.L. Reliever Lay Batista has generated the league’s lowest average against holding opposing batters to a .103 average. Zack Cox rests fourth in on-base percentage (.409).