By: Kyle Crooks / Jacksonville Suns
The Jacksonville Suns (24-40, 53-80) will battle with the Tennessee Smokies (34-30, 73-60) tonight in the series finale with a first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. ET from Smokies Stadium.
With the Suns dropping the first four games in this series, they risk coming up on the wrong end of a five-game sweep. The last clean sweep in a five-game set in which the Suns came up on the losing end occurred between the dates of August 14-18 against Chattanooga in 2013.
The month of August has included the ‘highs’ of a season-best six-game winning streak (8/16-8/22), and a pair of 10-game road trips in which the Suns have finished below the .500 watermark. In the calendar month the club finished 12-18.
Tonight’s pitching matchup will feature Jacksonville right-hander Austin Brice to be opposed by Tennessee lefty Jeffry Antigua. Brice takes the ball 5-9 attached with a 4.86 ERA in 24 starts with the Suns. The last time he took the hill came in a start on 8/27 against Birmingham, in which he shouldered a losing decision in six innings allowing three runs (all earned) on six hits while walking four and striking out one in a 100-pitch effort. Brice has made one prior start against Tennessee this year on 6/13, and took the loss in four frames of work surrendering four runs (three earned) on seven hits. In the second half of the year the North Carolina native has worked to an ERA of 3.39 in 11 starts and 61 innings on the mound. The 23-year old is a former ninth-round selection of the Marlins organization in the 2010 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of Northwood High School in Pittsboro, North Carolina.
Antigua will step to the mound 5-4 while sporting a 4.50 earned run mark in 18 games and 14 starts with the Smokies. His last start was on 8/27 against Chattanooga, in which he posted a winning decision in six scoreless frames allowing four hits while walking three and fanning two. The southpaw has spent ample time this season at the Triple-A level with the Iowa Cubs, and in the Pacific Coast League, he would put together a 10-6 mark to go along with an ERA of 2.61 in 10 games and six starts. Since 2012, Antigua has spent some time at the Double-A level with Tennessee. The native of the Dominican Republic was signed as a non-drafted free agent by Cubs in the 2006 offseason.
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 (24-40, 53-80) @ Tennessee Smokies (34-30, 73-60)
Starters: TNS: LHP Jeffry Antigua (5-4, 4.50 ERA) vs. JAX: RHP Austin Brice (5-9, 4.86 ERA)
Who’s Hot: Centerfielder Kenny Wilson has hit safely in 12 of his last 14 games. Infielder Eudy Pina in his last six games has generated a .313 batting mark attached with two RBI and a solo run scored. Reliever Tyler Bremer since getting the call up to AA JAX on 8/23 has tossed a total of seven scoreless frames in relief. Ryan Rieger over his last four games has been swinging a red hot bat, posting an average of .556, and over his last seven contests he’s batting .350.
Suns Spots: Here’s a note from the official Jacksonville Suns game notes:
-Matt Juengel currently rests tied for second in home runs (16). Outfielder Kenny Wilson is second in stolen bases (36). Viosergy Rosa (74) sits third in walks generated while Elliot Soto (66) is fifth. Starter Austin Brice has the third-best K/9 ratio for starters (9.05) and is fifth in K’s (121). David Adams possesses the fifth-best on-base percentage (.388).