Miscues wound M-Braves in loss

Published 11:39 am Thursday, July 21, 2011

Two costly seventh-inning errors led to three unearned runs for the Jacksonville Suns as they downed the Mississippi Braves 6-5 on Wednesday in the series opener at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, Fla.

With a runner on first and one out in the bottom of the seventh and the M-Braves leading 5-3, back-to-back errors by Ed Lucas and Dan Nelson kept the inning alive and allowed a run to score. Luke Montz singled to load the bases and former M-Brave Alex Romero hit an RBI fielder’s choice to tie the game. Jake Smolinski singled to give the Suns a 6-5 lead they would never relinquish.

None of the three runs in the seventh was earned. Richard Sullivan was the pitcher of record, suffering his fifth loss and blowing his third save. Dallas Trahern earned his second win for Jacksonville (11-14, 48-47), pitching three innings in long relief. Chris Hatcher earned his second save, pitching the final 11⁄3 innings and striking out three.

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The Braves (12-14, 37-59) trailed after the first inning, but a four-run fourth stole the lead away. Lucas led off the inning with a solo home run to left, his first home run as an M-Brave. Then with two outs and two on, Willie Cabrera hit his fourth home run of the season, a high fly ball to right-center to give the Braves a 4-3 lead.

A Cory Harrilchak RBI single in the fifth plated Nelson to expand the lead to 5-3.

Randall Delgado pitched six strong innings. He allowed just three first-inning runs on six hits. He struck out six in the no-decision.

The Suns hit the board first when Kevin Mattison tripled in the first and scored on a Jim Negrych sacrifice fly. Montz then doubled and Romero homered to give Jacksonville a 3-0 lead.