Monday July 9, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- On a near-perfect Sunday afternoon for baseball, things started pretty well for the Pittsfield Suns.

The Suns, who were shut out in Brockton on Saturday night, got a pair of first-inning singles but didn't score. Maybe the bats were waking up.

The Rox, meanwhile got two hits to open the top of the second and scored two runs. That kind of started things rolling in a bad direction for the Suns, who were torched for seven runs on eight hits in the fifth inning and went on to drop a 9-2 decision at Wahconah Park.

It was the Suns' third consecutive loss after winning on July 4. Pittsfield did get two runs in the sixth inning to end a 16-frame scoreless streak.

"We put up 10 hits, we hit the ball hard a couple of times, and sometimes it just doesn't fall for you," Pittsfield catcher Anthony Corona said.

The loss came less than 24 hours after Brockton starter Joe Fasano and two relievers held the Suns to seven hits in a 7-0 shutout Saturday night at Campanelli Stadium.

"It's never fun to lose. It's kind of frustrating actually," said Suns designated hitter Josh Theulen. "We just can't seem to get anything going."

Neither could Pittsfield starting pitcher Dan Bradley. Bradley, who was coming off a one-run, two-hit win in a seven-inning performance, got rocked for nine earned runs on 10 hits in 42 3 innings. He was chased after the Rox batted around in the fifth.


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The key blow of the inning was a two-run home run by Rox designated hitter Greg Baggett on an 0-2 pitch by Bradley.

"He kept the ball up in the zone a couple of times. We made a couple of mistakes up in the zone in that inning and they took care of him," Suns manager Jamie Keefe said. "Too many two-strike hits right now. That's been a couple of starts in a row."

The seven-run inning made things academic for the announced crowd of 511.

Bradley, a right-hander from Assumption, started off just fine. He had a seven-pitch first inning, retiring the side in order. Baggett led off the second with a two-strike single and Vito Perna did the same. After Tanner Reibenspies struck out looking, Mike Lupia tripled home two runs. Center fielder Mike Rueger dove to catch the sinking liner, but couldn't come up with the ball and it rolled to the wall by the batter's eye in center.

The Suns had their early chance when Ryan Deitrich and Brendan Slattery both singled with two outs. Jimmy Ricoy, who came into the game batting .211 in the last seven games, hit a grounder to second and Slattery was forced at second to end the threat.

After that, Brockton starter Jonathan Rosenberger shut the Suns down cold. He retired 10 straight batters until Theulen hit a leadoff single in the fifth inning. The Suns got to Rosenberger for a pair of runs in the home sixth. Slattery's sacrifice fly plated Corona and Deitrich scored from third on a single between short and third by Ricoy.

A ray of light in the dark cloud of Sunday's game was the Pittsfield bullpen. Zach Ferris gave up two hits in 11 3 innings and Jason Condit pitched three shutout frames.

Saturday night, the Rox chased starter Tom Darby after he gave up five runs on six hits in three innings of work. Brockton had 11 hits against four Suns pitchers. Luis Gonzalez was 4 for 5 with three RBI, while Lupia was 3 for 3 with two RBI.

"Once you get something going, it's hard to stop," said Corona. "I just think as a team and as a group, we need to start putting the ball in play with guys on base and we can start driving runs in.

"We're playing some pretty good defense and we're hitting the ball. We just need to get the runs in."

To reach Howard Herman:
hherman@berkshireeagle.com,
(413) 496-6253.
On Twitter: @howardherman.