By: Kyle Crooks / Jacksonville Suns
The Jacksonville Suns (25-40, 54-80) will clash with the Mississippi Braves (35-29, 68-64) in the series opener of the final five-game set in the 2015 regular season with a first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. ET from Bragan Field.
The Suns are fresh off a 10-game road trip that saw them travel between Birmingham and Tennessee. In their first five games of the trip against the Barons, they dropped three out of five including a rubber match on 8/27, 5-3. Jacksonville began the latter portion of the trip against the Smokies falling in the first four contests. It wasn’t until the series finale on Tuesday night when the Suns bats awoke in an 11-0 shutout, in which the club posted a season-best 20 hits. That game featured Kenny Wilson coming a double shy of the cycle and Eudy Pina collecting the second five-hit performance from a Sun all year.
It was announced by the league office Wednesday afternoon, Jacksonville Suns second baseman David Adams and third baseman Zack Cox have been named to the 2015 Southern League Postseason All-Star Team.
The Mississippi Braves enter tonight’s series opener 35-28 in the second half, and 68-63 overall. The club is tied for first in the Southern League South Division standings with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. Currently the Braves sit seventh in batting average (.248) and second in ERA (3.49) in the S.L. Infielder Emerson Landoni highlight’s the lineup sitting eighth in the S.L. in batting average (.297).
Tonight’s pitching matchup will feature Jacksonville left-hander Chipper Smith to be opposed by Mississippi righty Lucas Sims. Smith takes the ball 3-4 attached with a 4.35 ERA in 20 games and 15 starts with the Suns. His last trip to the hill came on 8/28 against Tennessee, in which he shouldered a losing decision in five frames allowing two runs (both earned) on four hits while walking three and striking out seven in a 90-pitch effort. In August, he posted a 1-2 mark while sporting an ERA of 2.91 in four starts after his call up from High-A Jupiter on 8/7. At the advanced-A level, Smith mustered up a record of 2-3 alongside a 4.66 earned-run mark in five games and four starts with the Hammerheads. The southpaw has made one start against the Braves this year on 5/25, and earned a no decision in five frames of work surrendering three runs (two earned) on six hits. The native of California is a former 38th round draft pick of the Marlins in the 2012 MLB-First Year Player Draft out of Cumberland University.
Sims will step to the mound 4-2 while sporting a 3.54 ERA in eight starts with the Braves. His last start was on 8/28 against Biloxi, in which he earned a winning decision after six and a third innings relinquishing one run (unearned) on five hits. The 21-year old has spent time at the High-A and rookie ball levels in 2015. With the Carolina Mudcats (A+) he put together a 3-4 mark along with a 5.18 ERA over nine starts, while with the GCL Braves he had a nine ERA in a pair of starts. Sims is a former first-round draft pick of the Braves in 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of Brookwood High School (Snellville, Ga.).
The 2015 season of Suns baseball is presented by EverBank, the official banking partner of the Jacksonville Suns. Sponsorships, group outings, and season/individual game tickets are currently available by calling the Suns front office at (904) 358-2846.
The final homestand of the 2015 season kicks off with the biggest party in town and the last Thursday Night Throwdown of the year and College Night! It’s your last chance this year to Enjoy Buds for a Buck and 2 for 1 Cocktails at the hottest spot in Jacksonville! Plus it’s College Night and all college students get in for $5 Dollars with ID! Sponsored by Budweiser, Jameson, Jim Beam, Jagermeister, Malibu Rum, Maverick’s, 95.1 WAPE & X102.9!
Matchup: Mississippi Braves (35-29, 68-64) @ Jacksonville Suns (25-40, 54-80)
Starters: MIS: RHP Lucas Sims (4-2, 3.54 ERA) vs. JAX: LHP Chipper Smith (3-4, 4.35 ERA)
Who’s Hot: Centerfielder Kenny Wilson has hit safely in 13 of his last 15 games, including coming up a double shy of the cycle on Tuesday night in Tennessee, in a game where he collected a homer and four RBI. Infielder Eudy Pina in his last six games has generated a .476 batting mark attached with three RBI and four runs scored. Pina finished Tuesday night’s win in Tennessee 5-for-6. Reliever Tyler Bremer since getting the call up to AA JAX on 8/23 has tossed a total of seven scoreless frames in relief. Ryan Rieger over his last five games has been swinging a red hot bat, posting an average of .500, and over his last seven contests, he’s batting .333.
Suns Spots: Here’s a note from the official Jacksonville Suns game notes:
-Matt Juengel currently rests tied for second in home runs (17) and knotted in fifth in RBI (66). Outfielder Kenny Wilson is second in stolen bases (36). Viosergy Rosa (75) sits third in walks generated while Elliot Soto (66) is fifth. Starter Austin Brice has the third-best K/9 ratio for starters (9.12) and is fourth in K’s (127). David Adams possesses the third-best on-base percentage (.395) and 10th best batting average (.287).