By Roger Hoover / Jacksonville Suns
The Jacksonville Suns return to action tonight, facing the Pensacola Blue Wahoos in the second game of the series at Blue Wahoos Stadium at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Last night the Suns fell to the Wahoos 4-3 in a tight contest that featured a home run from Suns starting pitcher Jake Esch. Donald Lutz was the difference in the game, hitting a two-run single off Esch in the bottom of the fifth that gave the Wahoos a 4-2 lead, and Pensacola held on to win 4-3.
Now Jacksonville looks to even the series with Marlins No. 3 prospect left-handed pitcher Jarlin Garica (0-0, 2.25 ERA) taking the mound for the Suns. Garcia had a no decision in his last outing, working four innings against the Birmingham Barons last Friday. Garcia will be opposed by Wahoos left-hander Amir Garrett (0-1, 3.00 ERA).
Here are more notes on tonight’s contest from the official Suns game notes:
Speedy Suns: Jacksonville’s first two hitters in the batting order Yefri Perez and Jeremias Pineda are tied atop the Southern League with five stolen bases each through the first six games of the season. Pineda had an impressive performance on Sunday with four stolen bases, as the Suns combined to steal six bases, the most that Jacksonville head done in a game since 2008.
Best Fans in the Southern League: The Jacksonville Suns welcomed 26,336 fans to the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville during the first homestand, for an average of 5,267 each night. Both the total attendance and average attendance are the best marks the Southern League, and the second-highest in all of Double-A baseball (Corpus Christi Hooks welcomed 27.510 fans in the Texas League). The Suns Thursday through Sunday were tops in Double-A Baseball with 24,508 fans. The Opening Night crowd of 8,367 fans was the highest the Suns have had for Opening Night since 2007, and this was the best opening series crowd since the 2011 season.
RBI Riddle: Infielder J.T. Riddle leads the Southern League with seven runs batted in. Riddle’s RBI production against the Barons started on Thursday, when his three-run homer helped propel Jacksonville to a 6-1 victory. On Sunday, Riddle drove in two runs despite going 0-for4 at the plate thanks to RBI groundouts. Riddle also drove in two runs in Monday’s game, part of a 2-for-4 performance at the plate. Last season Riddle drove in 20 runs in 44 games played with Jacksonville during the second half. Riddle is listed by Baseball America as the No. 22 Marlins prospect.
Hello Wahoos: This series the Suns renew their in-state rivalry with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. This is the first of four series between the clubs, and the first of two played in Penscola. The Suns will next welcome to the Wahoos to the Baseball Grounds from May 19-23, and July 14-18, before making a return trip to Pensacola from August 27-31. Last year the Suns and Wahoos also played 20 games, with Pensacola winning the season series 12-8. The Suns won the first three season series between the clubs in 2012, 2013, and 2014.
Fans can listen to the game live on the Suns Baseball Network, with Roger Hoover providing play by play. Hoover and Andrew Gibson will host the pregame show Suns On Deck beginning at 7:15 p.m. ET. The game can be heard locally on FM 102.3 The Beach, on the TuneIn Radio app, as well as online by clicking the link below:
ABOUT THE SUNS: The Jacksonville Suns are beginning a new era of affordable family fun under new ownership in 2016. With a FUNdamentally Different promotional schedule and a new lineup of ticket packages for the upcoming season, there is a reason for everyone to get part of the action by calling the Suns at (904) 358-2846 or visiting http://www.jaxsuns.com.