Suns edge Shorebirds, 2-1, in SAL first-round opener Hagerstown scores in 8th to take 1-0 series lead

Minor Leagues

September 01, 1998|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

SALISBURY -- The defending South Atlantic League champions are within a loss of relinquishing their title.

A tough 2-1 defeat to Hagerstown last night at Perdue Stadium insures that the Delmarva Shorebirds will have to stay alive in the playoffs on the road.

And they are 4-9 this season at Hagerstown, where the best-of-3, first-round series switches for Game 2 tonight.

The Suns, first-half winners of the Northern Division, came from behind with two eighth-inning runs to capture the opener with the winner scoring on Eddy Garabito's throwing error.

Bobby Cripps started the decisive rally with a solid single against losing pitcher Jay Spurgeon and Mike Strange pinch ran for him. Spurgeon then walked Josh Phelps and left the game in favor of Shorebirds closer Derek Brown.

It appeared Brown, a Hagerstown native, might escape the jam when Cesar Izturis failed to bunt on three straight attempts and struck out.

But Tony Peters lined a single to left field to tie the game. Then, Mike Young hit what appeared to be an inning-ending double-play ball to shortstop Eddy Martinez.

Martinez got the force, but Garabito's throw went wild after Peters came in hard to second and Phelps scored.

The Shorebirds' only run against winner John Sneed came in the fourth when Franky Figueroa was hit by a pitch, Jason Werth followed with one of his three singles and Garabito delivered a clutch two-out hit on an 0-2 pitch.

Delmarva took the second-half crown in the division with a 10-6 win at Hagerstown on Sunday, its second in the season-ending, three-game series.

"I don't remember the others up there, only those last three," said Delmarva manager Dave Machemer. "And we've got [Matt] Riley going, so we're confident."

Riley, who just turned 19, is the pitching phenom of the Orioles' farm system at the moment. He struck out 136 batters in 83 innings and compiled a 1.19 ERA in 16 starts.

Pub Date: 9/01/98

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