By: Kyle Crooks / Jacksonville Suns
The Jacksonville Suns (19-29) will get set for the rubber match against the Birmingham Barons (23-26) this afternoon from Regions Field with a first pitch set for 4:00 p.m. ET.
The Suns have faced a pair of walk off losses in this series with Danny Hayes providing the game-winning single in both Barons victories.
J.B. Wendelken (W, 3-2) (BS, 2) earned the win in an inning of relief in which he surrendered two runs (both earned) on three hits including Matt Juengel’s game-tying two-run home run in the ninth while not walking or striking out a batter. Casey McCarthy (L, 0-3) took the loss out of the bullpen for the Suns allowing one run (earned) on four hits while not walking or striking out a batter.
The scoring would begin in the top of the second when the Suns worked the bases loaded. A passed ball getting away from the catcher Rob Brantly brought in Viosergy Rosa, then that was followed up by a wild pitch from Montas, that sent home Zack Cox, and moved the Suns out to a 2-0 lead. Moving to the first of the third frame Kenny Wilson would lead off with a single to then steal second and move to third on a Carlos Lopez groundout. Next batter to the plate was major league rehabber Jeff Mathis, who would arch a RBI sacrifice fly to right scoring Wilson and providing Jacksonville with a 3-0 advantage. Onto the third and the Barons got on the board after Jacob May grounded a run-scoring single through the left side plating Jeremy Farrell from second. The Suns lead was now trimmed to 3-1 through three frames at Regions Field. Flashing to the bottom of the fourth, and the Barons would work to within a run after Farrell’s RBI single scored Joey DiMichele, who singled and stole second to get into scoring position. The Suns lead was now 3-2.
Lay Batista in relief for the Suns got into trouble in the eighth after hitting a pair of batters and walking one which loaded the bases for Birmingham. Next batter Adrian Nieto would manufacture a walk against the right-hander to tie the game at three. Now with Jacksonville turning to McCarthy out of the bullpen, he would relinquish a two RBI base hit to Farrell that leaped the Barons out to a 5-3 scoreboard advantage. The final chance for the Suns in the bottom of the ninth, saw Cox single to set up Matt Juengel (HR, 6) for a two-run blast off of Birmingham reliever Wendelken that tied the score at five.
Then in the bottom of the ninth with two men on, Danny Hayes would knock in the winning run with a walk off RBI single en route to the 6-5 win. Trevor Williams worked six innings surrendering two runs (both earned) on 10 hits while not walking a batter and striking out five in his start for the Suns.
Today’s pitching matchup will feature Jacksonville left-hander Chipper Smith opposed by Birmingham righty Tyler Danish. Smith enters this start with a 2-1 record attached alongside a 4.50 ERA. In his last start the southpaw collected a no decision in five innings of work in which he allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits while walking three and striking out a batter against Mississippi on 5/25. The former 38th round pick of the Marlins made one start against Birmingham this season that came on 4/28, that turned out to be a no decision after hurling six and two-thirds innings surrendering five runs (all earned) on six hits. This is Smith’s second go around with double-A Jacksonville after toeing the rubber in 14 starts a year ago posting a 3-4 record with a 4.27 earned run mark.
Danish takes the ball 4-2 sporting a 4.40 ERA. His last trip to the hill came on 5/25 against Biloxi, and in a losing effort, he worked four frames surrendering seven runs (four earned) on seven hits while walking one and not striking out a batter. After a hot start in April that saw the righty work to a 2.86 ERA, the month of May has seen that figure rise to 5.76 over five starts in the current calendar month. The former 2nd round draft pick of the White Sox in 2013, shined in 2014, earning ‘Pitcher of the Week’ honors on two separate occasions, first on 5/5 with Kannapolis, then on 8/11 with Winston-Salem. Overall that season Danish went 8-3 pitching to a 2.08 ERA in a span of 25 starts.
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 a special “Suns Sunday” edition of the Memorial Hospital Suns Pre-Game Show beginning at 3:30 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 (19-29) @ Birmingham Barons (23-26)
Starters: JAX: LHP Chipper Smith (2-1, 4.50 ERA) vs. BIR: RHP Tyler Danish (4-2, 4.40 ERA)
Who’s Hot: Matt Juengel has enjoyed playing Birmingham this year, mashing four of his six home runs on the season (two in this series) against the Barons to go along with eight of his 22 RBI. Zack Cox continues to creep up the S.L. in batting moving from eighth to sixth after last night’s game. The lefty-slugger is batting .524 over his last 10 games and is 5-for-8 (.625) in this series.
Suns Spots: Here’s a note from the official Jacksonville Suns game notes:
-Starter Kendry Flores is first in WHIP (0.85), first in batting average against (.172), first in fewest baserunners allowed per nine innings (7.94), and fourth in ERA (2.06) in the Southern League. 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 .097 average. Zack Cox rests in third in on-base percentage (.420) and sixth in batting average (.331).