By: Kyle Crooks / Jacksonville Suns
The Jacksonville Suns (9-11, 38-51) will look to bounce back after a wild 15-14 loss in extra innings to the Mississippi Braves (11-9, 44-44) tonight with a first pitch set for 8:00 p.m. ET from Trustmark Park.
In a night that saw the Suns rack up their highest run and hit total of the year, they would fall 15-14 in 10 innings. The two squads would combine for 29 runs on 33 hits in the four hour and six minute 10-inning marathon on Thursday night. Jacksonville would also blow their biggest lead of the year in the contest after controlling a 10-0 scoreboard advantage before heading into the home half of the third. Mississippi made up ground in just one half frame laying down a 10-spot against a combination of Suns’ pitchers Austin Brice and Blake Logan. Everyone in the Suns original starting lineup except for Ryan Rieger collected a hit, and everyone in the starting nine tallied at least one RBI except for Rieger. Between the two clubs, they would collect a total of 10 extra base hits that included seven doubles, one triple, and a pair of home runs. In the loss JAX picked up their 17th one-run loss of the 2015 season, and in extra inning games this year the Suns are now 3-5 overall and 1-1 in the second half.
Tonight’s pitching matchup will feature Jacksonville right-hander Josh Hodges to be opposed by Mississippi righty Greg Ross. Hodges is making a spot start for Jake Esch who was sent to the seven-day disabled list with a strained left oblique. Hodges has made a pair of appearances with Jacksonville in relief prior to his call up from single-A Greensboro, and has generated a 1-0 mark attached with a 2.57 ERA. His last trip to the hill came on 7/11 in an extra innings contest against Mobile that lasted 14 innings, and the 24-year old would toss four scoreless frames en route to his first double-A victory, while saving the bullpen in the four hour and 50 minute marathon ballgame. Prior to entering the double-A level he made 25 appearances with Greensboro this year, and would impress after posting a 3-2 mark alongside a 1.17 ERA over 38 and a third innings pitched, while holding batters to an average against of .229. Hodges is a former seventh round draft pick of the Marlins out of Ingomar Attendance Center H.S. in New Albany, Miss., in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.
Ross will take the ball 3-8 with a 5.19 ERA in 17 appearances and 15 starts with the Braves. He did make one start against Jacksonville this year on 5/24, and would take the loss after six frames of work in which he offered up two runs (one earned) on four hits while walking one and striking out two. He’s a former 18th round selection of the Braves organization in 2011 out of Frostburg State University. The 25-year old has worked a career record of 39-33 while sporting a 3.74 earned run mark in 113 games and 89 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 7:45 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 (9-11, 38-51) @ Mississippi Braves (11-9, 44-44)
Starters: MIS: RHP Greg Ross (3-8, 5.19 ERA) vs. JAX: RHP Josh Hodges (1-0, 2.57 ERA)
Who’s Hot: Carlos Lopez has hit safely in 33 of his last 41 games, and during the stretch he has manufactured a .335 average (53-for-158). David Adams has hit safely in 13 of his last 18 games, and during that span for Adams, he is hitting .345 (19-for-55). Sharif Othman controls a six-game hit streak in which he is 7-for-23 (.304) at the plate. Kenny Wilson has gotten off to a red-hot start in this series going 4-for-8 at the dish while collected a home run, four RBI, five runs scored, and a pair of doubles. Viosergy Rosa broke out of a power struggle when blasting his third home run of the year Thursday night, in what was his first long ball since May 11th against Pensacola.
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. Matt Juengel rests second in home runs (15), third in RBI (54), and total bases (144). Carlos Lopez has tallied 93 hits, which is good for second in the S.L. Viosergy Rosa sits third in walks generated (50). For relievers, Brian Ellington controls the second-best ratio of fewest baserunners/9IP (9.00), average against (.196), while controlling the third-best K/9 ratio (9.69). Starter Austin Brice has the third-best K/9 ratio for starters (9.76). Kenny Wilson and Carlos Lopez are knotted in third in games played (85). Zack Cox controls the ninth-best batting average in the league (.303).