JACKSONVILLE, Fla. –
The Mobile BayBears scored two runs in the top of the ninth to break a 2-2 tie and end the Jacksonville Suns' three-game winning streak, winning by a final of 4-2.
The Suns had won three straight games on walk off hits entering Saturday's contest, but could not make it four in a row in front of 6,037 fans at Bragan Field at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.
Jacksonville and Mobile exchanged scoreless frames through the first four innings, as Suns starter Matt Neil and BayBears hurler Zeke Spruill both held the opposition at bay. But Mobile broke through first, thanks in part to a throwing error by Neil, in the top of the fifth. With runners on second and third, Rossmel Perez hit a fly ball to center to score the game's first run. Spruill then helped his own causes with a base hit to right, putting the BayBears ahead 2-0.
"[Neil] was really good early on, making pitches," Suns manager Andy Barkett said following the game. "Obviously the error hurt him. Overall, he threw the ball well and gave us a chance to win."
The Suns responded the very next half inning. J.T. Realmuto led off the frame with a double to center, and scored on Mark Canha's RBI double two batters later. Jacksonville had a chance to tie the game or take the lead later in the inning, but Christian Yelich grounded into an inning ending double play with the bases loaded to end the threat.
Each starter lasted five innings, and the bullpens continued to keep the score 2-1 until the eighth. With two outs in the bottom of the inning, Derek Dietrich, who had blasted a walk off home run in Friday's win over Mobile, hit a game-tying solo home run off reliever Steve Garrison to knot the ledger at 2.
"I thought we were going to work some more magic," manager Andy Barkett said. "But overall, good effort. We had them on the ropes.
"We had our opportunities, just didn't get the big blow."
There would be no walk off win for the Suns on Sunday, however, as Mobile took the lead for good in the top of the ninth facing Mike Ojala (1-1). Jon Griffin doubled down the left field line to begin the inning and scored the go-ahead run on Brent Clevlen's triple over the head of center fielder Christian Yelich.
The BayBears would make it 4-2 later in the inning on Raywilly Gomez's sacrifice fly, and Derek Eitel (2-0) recorded a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth inning to earn the victory for himself and Mobile.
The Suns will attempt to find the winning path again on Sunday in game four of the five game series behind right-hander starter Robert Morey (0-0, 3.38 ERA), while Mobile will counter with a right-hander of their own, Anthony Meo (0-1, 4.15). First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 p.m.