HAGERSTOWN, MD (July 31, 2019) - Drew Mendoza delivered a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth to give the Suns a 5-4 win over the Rome Braves at Municipal Stadium Wednesday. With Armond Upshaw at second base and two outs in the ninth, Mendoza grounded a single through the right
HAGERSTOWN, MD (July 31, 2019) - Drew Mendoza delivered a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth to give the Suns a 5-4 win over the Rome Braves at Municipal Stadium Wednesday.
With Armond Upshaw at second base and two outs in the ninth, Mendoza grounded a single through the right side, scoring Upshaw and giving the Suns (49-59, 19-19) their seventh consecutive victory. The run came against Rome (49-59, 19-20) reliever Gabriel Noguera (L, 4-5), who had been solid through 3.2 innings, but issued a lead-off walk in the inning that came back to bite him.
The Suns were one out away from victory in the top of the ninth, but Rome was able to tie the game. After Ryan Williamson (W, 3-0) allowed two singles to put runners on the corners, Justin Dean delivered an RBI knock with two strikes and two outs to even the score. Hagerstown took a late lead that put them in the lead heading into the ninth, but couldn't hold it. With two on and two outs in the seventh, Jacob Rhinesmith lined a two-RBI double off the wall in right field to give the Suns a 4-3 lead.
The Braves wasted no time getting on the scoreboard against Suns starter Jake Irvin. Dean led-off the game with a home run - the first leadoff long ball Hagerstown has allowed this season. After losing the lead in the bottom of the first, Rome took it back with two more runs in the second. After a leadoff walk, Griffin Benson sent a two-run home run over the centerfield fence to put the Braves up 3-2.
Irvin settled in after the second, and strung together four consecutive scoreless frames to end his outing. The righty posted six innings on the day, allowed three earned runs on four hits and struck out seven.
The Suns got Irvin two runs of early insurance in the first inning, but that was all they would get while their starter was in the game. Jackson Cluff started it off with a triple against Rome starter Alan Rangel and Justin Connell followed with an RBI single. Then, after a wild pitch, Mendoza brought Connell home with an RBI knock of his own to put Hagerstown on top.
The Suns loaded the bases later in that inning, but Rangel got out of it. However, that would end the day for the righty, who lasted only one inning before giving way to Jake Higginbotham out of the bullpen. Higginbotham came in and shut down the Suns bats over four scoreless innings - his longest outing of the season.
The Suns and Braves will continue their three-game series tomorrow at 7:05 p.m. RHP Reid Schaller (1-1, 4.01 ERA) gets the ball for Hagerstown while Rome has yet to name a starting pitcher.
The Suns are in the midst of a seven-game homestand against the Rome Braves and Columbia Fireflies. The stretch includes plenty of exciting promotions, including Bark in the Park, Thirsty Thursday, a Juan Soto Bobblehead giveaway, Sunday Funday and Summer Camp Day. For tickets or more information visit hagerstownsuns.com or call 301-791-6266.