By: Kyle Crooks / Jacksonville Suns
The Jacksonville Suns (28-33) can earn their third series victory in the month of June with a win over the Tennessee Smokies (32-29) and first pitch will be slated for 12:05 p.m. from Bragan Field.
After a rough month of May that saw Jacksonville finish 9-20, they have rebounded in June, posting an 9-3 record while coming up on the winning end of both series they have played. In May, the Suns were only able to grab one five-game set that was played in Mobile between 5/5-5/9 subsequently to drop the next four series.
Jake Esch (W, 5-3) in his start for Jacksonville worked six scoreless innings allowing only a solo hit while walking one and striking out six in a winning decision. Smokies starter Frank Batista (L, 6-2) hurled seven frames surrendering two runs (both earned) on a pair of walks and four strikeouts. Steve Cishek (S, 2) collected his second save with Jacksonville after providing a perfect ninth inning that was accompanied with a strikeout.
In this pitcher’s duel, the scoring would begin in the bottom of sixth, after Viosergy Rosa worked a lead off walk, to then get driven in by Matt Juengel’s RBI triple to leap the Suns in front 1-0. Next batter Terrance Dayleg, subsequently grounded a RBI infield single to shortstop that sent home Juengel and doubled up Jacksonville’s lead to 2-0 through six innings of play. Out of the bullpen for the Suns Frankie Reed tossed a scoreless seventh inning while Craig Stem provided a perfect 1-2-3 eighth.
Today’s pitching matchup will feature Jacksonville right-hander Austin Brice to be opposed by Tennessee righty Ivan Pineyro. Brice enters this start 2-4 attached alongside a 6.57 ERA in 11 starts. The native of North Carolina has looked better as of his last three starts working six innings in a pair of starts, and five in another. His last trip to the hill came against Pensacola on 6/8, in which he would allow only one run (earned) on four hits in a no decision. The former ninth-round draft pick of the Marlins in 2010 has trimmed down his ERA close to a full run since his last losing effort on 5/23 against Mississippi. He was pre-noted entering 2015 as the Marlins 29th best prospect according to Baseball America.
Pineyro takes the ball 4-3 with a 3.61 earned run mark in 11 starts. The 23-year old in his last start generated six innings relinquishing four runs (all earned) on seven hits while walking one and striking out six in a no decision against Chattanooga on 6/5. The native of the Dominican Republic has twirled a pair of scoreless gems this year against Pensacola (4/17) and Jackson (5/19). Pineyro was acquired by the Cubs organization courtesy of a trade with the Washington Nationals in 2013, that sent veteran major-leaguer Scott Hairston to Washington.
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 11:50 a.m. ET on the Suns Baseball Network.
Saturday is a special 12:05 matinee at Bragan Field and it’s Comic-Con Day & our Pet Friendly Weekend Continues! On this day $10 parking will be available only in Lot P and Lot X for Suns fans. Don’t miss the first ever Comic-Con Day at the Baseball Grounds as the Suns encourage all fans to dress up for the game! The first 1,000 kids get a free light sword and see lightsaber dueling by Master Will’s Jedi Academy of North Florida, courtesy of Folio Weekly & 96.9 The Eagle! Plus Pet Friendly Weekend at the Baseball Grounds continues and all dog’s get in to the game for just $2.50, courtesy of Pedigree.
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: Tennessee Smokies (32-29) @ Jacksonville Suns (28-33)
Starters: PEN: RHP Ivan Pineyro (4-3, 3.61 ERA) vs. JAX: RHP Austin Brice (2-4, 6.57 ERA)
Who’s Hot: Carlos Lopez has hit safely in twelve of his last thirteen games and during that stretch has manufactured a .327 average (16-for-49). Matt Juengel blasted his tenth home run of the season while also producing a double in Wednesday night’s loss to Pensacola, He has followed up that performance up with a solo RBI in Thursday’s and Friday’s victories over Tennessee. Juengel now has seven RBI in a seven-game span. Sharif Othman has collected a hit in six of his last seven games while batting 9-for-26 (.346) at the plate.
Suns Spots: Here’s a note from the official Jacksonville Suns game notes:
-Closer Sean Donatello is first in saves (14) in the Southern League. Zack Cox rests fourth in batting average (.322) while Matt Juengel is fourth in home runs (10), and Viosergy Rosa sits second in walks generated (36).