By: Kyle Crooks / Jacksonville Suns
The Jacksonville Suns (0-0, 29-40) will try to generate some of their second half season magic from a year ago when they take on the Biloxi Shuckers (0-0, 43-25) at Bragan Field tonight with a first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. ET.
In 2014 Jacksonville would finish two games over .500 (36-34) and in third in the South Division standings for the first half. It wasn’t until the second half when the Suns would make their mark, ending the latter portion 45-25 and beating out the Mississippi Braves by a solo game for the top spot in the division. The Suns would win 14 of their last 16 games of the regular season to grab a postseason birth, then to go on to defeat Mobile in the Division Series in four games, and sweep Chattanooga in the Championship Series in three contests earning Jacksonville’s sixth Southern League title.
The Suns will welcome in the Southern League South Division champion Biloxi Shuckers for a five-game set. After having to face a 55-game road trip to start the year due to construction of their brand new ballpark, the club would persevere, finishing the first half 43-25 which helped them cruise away with the division title. Including late additions, the Shuckers sent 12 men to the all-star game. They tallied the league’s best batting average (.269) and its’ second-best ERA (3.20).
Tonight’s pitching matchup will feature left-hander Matt Tomshaw to be opposed by Biloxi lefty Brent Suter. Tomshaw enters this start after a first half that saw him work to a 2-4 record alongside a 3.02 ERA. In the month of June Tomshaw’s numbers have been eye opening, sporting a 2-0 mark and an impressive 1.93 ERA in four appearances and three starts. He’s made 11 appearances as a reliever prior to entering the starting rotation.
Suter takes the ball 4-2 alongside a 1.73 earned run mark in 12 appearances and eight starts with the Shuckers. In the month of June the southpaw has been impressive in four starts sporting an ERA of .75. He’s a former 31st round draft pick of the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2012 MLB First-Year Player draft out of Harvard. Suter worked a large portion of May out of the bullpen for Biloxi.
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 homestand kicks off with the return of the biggest party in town on Thursday with Thursday Night Throwdown and College Night! Enjoy Buds for a Buck and 2 for 1 Cocktails at the hottest spot in Jacksonville! Plus it’s College Night and all college students get in for $5 Dollars with ID! Sponsored by Budweiser, Jameson, Jim Beam, Jagermeister, Malibu Rum, Maverick’s, 95.1 WAPE & X102.9!
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: Biloxi Shuckers (0-0, 43-25) @ Jacksonville Suns (0-0, 29-40)
Starters: BLX: LHP Brent Suter (4-2, 1.73 ERA) vs. JAX: LHP Matt Tomshaw (2-4, 3.02 ERA)
Who’s Hot: Matt Juengel blasted his 13th home run of the season on 6/18, homered twice in this Chattanooga series while collecting seven RBI. Juengel’s 13th home run already surpassed all individual home run totals from any member of the 2014 Suns roster. The right-handed slugger is hitting .276 in his last 10 games with three home runs and 10 RBI. Carlos Lopez has hit safely in 19 of his last 21 games, and during that stretch he has manufactured a .351 average (27-for-77). Backup catcher Chadd Krist has set his longest hitting streak of the year at four games while hitting .300 in his last five games.
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 ninth in batting average (.308). Matt Juengel sits knotted in second for home runs (13), third in total bases (118) while he’s fourth in RBI (42), extra base hits (27), and slugging percentage (.520). Viosergy Rosa sits tied for fourth in walks generated (37). Austin Nola is tied for third in games played (66). For relievers, Brian Ellington controls the third-best ratio (9.57) of fewest baserunners/9IP and the third-best average against (.206).