Wednesday July 25, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- On the Pittsfield Suns' recent six-game winning streak, things came together nicely. That streak ended on Tuesday, because things kind of fell apart.

Pittsfield managed only five hits against four Brockton pitchers and gave up three unearned runs as the Rox beat the Suns 4-2 at Wahconah Park.

"It just didn't come together," Pittsfield second baseman Chad Funkhouser said. "It's baseball. We come out tomorrow and get after it again."

The Suns led 1-0 after five innings, but gave up a pair of unearned runs in the top of the sixth and never caught up.

That made a loser of Jason Condit (3-1), who pitched 52 3 innings of two-run, four-hit baseball. He walked two and struck out three. Since Condit didn't give up an earned run, he has yet to surrender one to Brockton in three appearances.

John Sheehan, the third of four Rox pitchers, went 21 3 innings and got credit for the win. Vito Perna, who started the game at third, pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his second save.

"We were hitting the ball pretty well, but right at people the whole game," Suns left fielder Rob McLam said. "You're going to have those games during the season."

Despite the loss, the Suns remain right in the thick of the Futures League playoff race. Both North Shore and Seacoast lost, so the Suns remain 11 2 games behind the Navigators for the final playoff spot, and are still tied with the Mavericks.


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"We get back after it tomorrow and finish on the strong side," said Suns manager Jamie Keefe. "We didn't lose any ground tonight. We're still a game and a half back. That's the way we've got to look at it."

The Suns had more chances to get on the board than they were able to convert. They stranded runners in five innings and were 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position.

"We didn't do anything offensively to give ourselves a chance," said Keefe. "We kind of shot ourselves in the foot earlier with guys in scoring position. We threw the ball around tonight for the first time in 10 games. So there you go."

In fact, it took the Suns five innings to get their first hit, a single to center by McLam. It loaded the bases and after Zach Theulen was forced at home on a grounder by Funkhouser, Brandon Howard scampered home when reliever Michael Romano's pitch found catcher Luis Gonzalez's five hole for a passed ball.

Condit, meanwhile, had scuffled through five innings but kept the Rox off the scoreboad. He loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth and struck out Jordan Berry to end the fourth inning. Two frames later, Berry came back to haunt Condit and the Suns.

Mike Lupia was hit by a pitch with one out. Gonzalez then drove the ball off the manual scoreboard in left center for a double. Lupia tried to score but Funkhouser caught the throw from center fielder Ryan Deitrich and relayed home, where catcher Steve Dill slapped the tag on for the second out.

Greg Baggett reached on an error by shortstop Howard, and Berry drove a double down the left-field line to plate Gonzalez. That was it for Condit.

The Suns' Jeff Thomas walked Joe Gallub and surrendered an infield hit to Brendan Doonan, who just beat the throw from Howard. Baggett scored on the play and it was 2-1.

Trailing 3-1, the Suns threatened in the eighth. Brendan Slattery took third on a one out double and error. He scored on Jimmy Ricoy's single. Brockton's Perna moved over from third base and struck out Travis Smith and Zach Theulen to quell the threat. Then Perna retired the side in order in the ninth to end the game.

"It feels good that we can get six [wins] in a row. I know what our team is capable of," said Funkhouser. "We can come back from this and just start it all over again."