JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Down 10-2 after five innings, the Jacksonville Suns (34-33) rallied to pull within two but ultimately fell short against the Montgomery Biscuits (37-33), losing the rubber match of a five-game series 11-8.
The loss dropped the Suns to fourth place and one game above .500 to finish the first half of the 2013 season, a half that saw Jacksonville contend for a division title but ultimately fall short. The Biscuits victory also gave Montgomery a series win over the Suns despite the road team having lost the first two games at Bragan Field.
“I loved the fact that we fought back and made it a game,” said Suns manager Andy Barkett following the loss. “We just didn’t get a good start out of [Robert] Morey today and got behind early. The guys kept battling and kept playing.”
Starter Robert Morey (2-4) struggled for the second consecutive outing for the Suns, surrendering an early 2-1 Suns lead on Riccio Torrez’s two-run single that put Montgomery on top 3-2. The Suns had fought off an early 1-0 disadvantage thanks to a Biscuits first inning error and an RBI from Danny Pertusati.
Morey’s outing took another wrong turn in the top half of the fifth, as Montgomery put together what would prove to be the deciding rally. The Biscuits scored seven times in the inning, highlighted by a two-run home run by Robi Estrada. Morey departed in the middle of the inning and finished his outing with seven runs allowed on eight hits and three strikeouts.
The Suns began their comeback in the bottom of the sixth, scoring a run on Ryan Fisher’s RBI double to make the score 10-3. Then in the seventh, Jake Marisnick doubled home a pair of runs, and Kyle Jensen soon followed with a three-run home run to cut the deficit to 10-8. The long ball was Jensen’s eighth in June.
The Biscuits, however, prevailed as C.J. Riefenhauser pitched the final two innings for his ninth save, sealing the win for right-hander Jake Floethe . Montgomery tacked on one last insurance run on Kyeong Kang’s solo home run off Arquimedes Caminero in the top of the ninth.
The loss ends the first half of the season for the Suns, who finish 34-33 and in fourth place in the Southern League South division. The second half of the 2013 campaign begins on Wednesday after an off day Tuesday. The Suns will take on the Huntsville Stars in game one of a five-game series at Bragan Field at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. The starting pitchers for both clubs have not yet been determined. First pitch on Wednesday is set for 7:05 p.m. E.T.