By: Kyle Crooks / Jacksonville Suns
The Jacksonville Suns (19-31) square off with the Montgomery Biscuits (24-26) for game two tonight with first pitch slated for 7:05 p.m. ET from Bragan Field.
Austin Pruitt (W, 3-4) hurled six frames in a winning decision allowing one run (earned) while walking a batter and fanning five men in his start for Montgomery. Craig Stem (L, 1-1) tossed three innings in his spot start for the Suns surrendering three runs (one earned) while not walking a batter and striking out two.
The scoring would begin the top of the second after a pair of singles from Johnny Field and Patrick Leonard, set the table for Justin O’Conner’s two-run double that leaped Montgomery out to a 2-0 lead. Now with two runners on, Boog Powell laced a RBI double to right that pushed their advantage to 3-0 through one inning of play. Flashing to the bottom of the fourth and the Suns got on the board on Sharif Othman’s RBI single plated major league rehabber Jeff Mathis, after his double placed him at second to start off the frame. Jacksonville trailed 3-1 through four innings at Bragan Field. The first of the fifth featured a lead off triple for Daniel Robertson, which allowed next batter Cameron Seitzer to cash in with a RBI sacrifice fly off of Suns reliever Casey McCarthy. To the seventh, with Jacksonville reliever Juancito Martinez on the mound, he would walk the first three Biscuits to the plate to load the bases. Tyler Goeddel then would ground into a RBI fielder’s choice to send home Robertson and push the Biscuits advantage to 5-1. Moving to the bottom of the ninth, with a pair of runners on, Carlos Lopez singled to left to drive in Othman and cut the deficit to 5-2. With Danny Black on third, Austin Nola arched a run scoring sacrifice fly that brought home Black and made the tally 5-3. Biscuits reliever Parker Markel got Zack Cox to ground out and end the ballgame.
Tonight’s pitching matchup will feature Jake Esch taking the ball for Jacksonville opposed by Montgomery’s righty Jared Mortensen. Esch enters tonight 3-3 alongside a 3.04 earned run mark. In his last start the Georgia Tech product earned a no decision generating six innings allowing three runs (all earned) on seven hits while walking one and striking out five. The former 11th round draft pick of the Marlins in 2011, ran into trouble in the month of May working to a 1-3 record while sporting a 4.11 ERA in six starts. He had a short stint with triple-A New Orleans making a pair of starts for the Zephyrs finishing 0-1 with a 5.23 ERA in 10 and one-third frames before being called back down to Jacksonville on April 23rd.
The right-hander Mortensen takes the ball for Montgomery 3-3 with a 3.27 earned run mark. The righty snapped a streak of two straight losing decisions in his last start on 5/24 against Tennessee. That night he would work seven scoreless innings relinquishing five hits while walking one and tying a season high with nine strikeouts. He earned pitcher of the week honors on 5/4 after a pair of scoreless outings against Jackson and Mississippi in which he generated a total of 13 frames between those two starts. He signed with the Tampa Bay Rays organization as a minor league free agent on 8/15/13, and in both years in the Rays organization, he has spent time with double-A Montgomery after last year finishing 5-1 accompanied with a 5.73 ERA in nine 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 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.
Matchup: Montgomery Biscuits (24-26) @ Jacksonville Suns (19-31)
Starters: MTG: RHP Jared Mortensen: (3-3, 3.27 ERA) vs. JAX: Jake Esch (3-3 3.04 ERA)
Who’s Hot: Major-league rehabber Jeff Mathis picked up his first professional hit of his season when he ripped a double to lead off the fourth, and would finish 2-for-4. Kenny Wilson followed up his strong series in Birmingham with his 13th multi hit game of the year and now controls a six-game hit streak. The Suns centerfielder is now hitting .325 over his last 10 games. Zack Cox continues his torrid pace offensively after his team-leading 15th multi-hit contest last night, and over his last 10 games he’s posted a .444 average which has helped catapult him to control the S.L.’s fifth best B.A. (.329).
Suns Spots: Here’s a note from the official Jacksonville Suns game notes:
-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 .106 average. Zack Cox rests in fourth in on-base percentage (.413), and fifth in batting average (.329).