By: Kyle Crooks / Jacksonville Suns
The Jacksonville Suns (23-32) look to take the first two games of the series against their in-state rival Pensacola Blue Wahoos (22-32) tonight with a first pitch slated for 5:05 p.m. ET from Pensacola Bayfront Statdium.
The Suns carried a no-hitter into the seventh in last night’s 5-1 win. Suns reliever Craig Stem, in relief of Matt Tomshaw, relinquished the first hit of the ballgame to the Wahoos in the seventh, as Jesse Winker led off the frame with a triple.
Tomshaw (W, 2-4) in his start for Jacksonville threw six no hit innings in a spot start while walking one and striking out two. Wandy Peralta (L, 2-5) for Pensacola lasted six frames surrendering three runs (all earned) on six hits while walking two and fanning four.
The scoring would begin in the top of the fourth after Carlos Lopez led off the frame with a single that was soon followed up by a walk to Austin Nola. Next batter, Zack Cox, then lined a single off of the leg of Wahoos starter Wandy Peralta to reach safely and load the bases. Matt Juengel then would send a RBI fielder’s choice groundball to second to score Lopez and give the Suns a 1-0 lead. To the top of the fifth, and Jacksonville added to their lead, after a Chadd Krist walk started off the frame, to then get bunted into scoring position by Tomshaw. That was soon followed up by back-to-back RBI singles by Kenny Wilson and Lopez that ballooned the Suns advantage to 3-0.
To the seventh, and the Wahoos still without a hit, they would now face Suns reliever Craig Stem who relinquished a triple to the first batter he saw Jesse Winker, to end the Suns no-hit bid and claim at history. Kyle Waldrop then got the Wahoos on the board after his RBI sac fly brought the Wahoos to within a 3-1 deficit. In the top of the ninth the Suns tacked on insurance with Matt Juengel’s (HR, 9) deep blast that put his squad out in front 4-1. Then Wilson later in the frame added on a run scoring single to now make the tally 5-1 in the Suns favor. Stem out of the bullpen for Jacksonville generated a pair of innings allowing one run (earned) on one hit. Sean Donatello worked a scoreless ninth in a non-save situation for Jacksonville.
Tonight’s pitching matchup will feature Jacksonville right-hander Jake Esch to be opposed by Pensacola righty Keyvius Sampson. Esch enters tonight 4-3 attached alongside a 2.65 ERA over nine starts with Jacksonville. The right-hander picked up a winning decision his last time out against Montgomery in seven scoreless innings of work allowing five hits while walking two and striking out five. The Georgia Tech product spent a short stint with triple-A New Orleans operating in a pair of starts for the Zephyrs finishing 0-1 with a 5.23 ERA. Esch, against Pensacola on 5/12, lasted seven innings allowing four earned runs on four hits while walking three and striking out four in his second losing decision. Over his minor league career Esch has generated a record of 19-24 while sporting a 3.84 earned run mark.
Sampson takes the ball 1-2 with a 1.91 ERA in seven starts for the Wahoos. His last trip to the hill came against Mobile, and he would earn a no decision in five and two-thirds frames of work surrendering one run (earned) on four hits while walking one and striking out seven. Against Jacksonville on 5/11, Sampson manufactured six frames allowing three runs (all earned) on seven hits while walking one and striking out seven. He was originally a fourth round draft pick of the San Diego Padres in 2009, and was designated for assignment by the Padres, to then be claimed off of waivers by the Reds organization in January of this year.
Fans can listen to the game live on the Suns Baseball Network, with Roger Hoover and Jason Patterson providing play by play. Roger Hoover and Kyle Crooks will host a special “Suns Sunday” edition of Memorial Hospital Suns Pre-Game Show beginning at 4:35 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 (23-32) @ Pensacola Blue Wahoos (22-32)
Starters: PEN: RHP Keyvius Sampson (1-2, 1.91 ERA) vs. JAX: RHP Jake Esch (4-3, 2.65 ERA)
Who’s Hot: Carlos Lopez picked up his first double-A home run on Thursday night, and has put together a seven-game hit streak going 10-for-29 (.345) in that stretch. Kenny Wilson has collected a hit in nine of his last 11 games, and posted a .378 average over his last five. Zack Cox over his last 10 has manufactured a .393 average, which has helped him control a share of the S.L.’s third best B.A. (.327). Terrance Dayleg finished last night 2-for-4 with a double and a triple.
Suns Spots: Here’s a note from the official Jacksonville Suns game notes:
-Closer Sean Donatello is first in saves (13) in the Southern League. Starter Jake Esch now controls the seventh-best ERA (2.65) in the S.L. Zack Cox rests tied for third in batting average (.327) and third in on-base percentage (.410). Matt Juengel is now tied for fourth in home runs (9).