For the second straight night, the Asheville Tourists’ offense overwhelmed Hagerstown to coast to a victory.
Matt Wessinger had three hits and three RBIs to lift Asheville to a 9-4 victory on Tuesday, taking the game to the Suns.
Asheville (28-22) has scored in 10 of the 16 innings it has batted in and outscored a Hagerstown team known for playing tight games by a 21-8 count through the first two games.
With the loss, the Suns (29-19) saw their South Atlantic League Northern Division lead shrink to one game after Hickory’s 7-4 win over Augusta.
The Suns jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning as Tony Renda led off with a triple and scored on Khayyan Norfork’s grounder to third off Asheville starter Ben Hughes (5-4).
It was Hagerstown’s only lead as the Tourists scored in the bottom of the inning to tie the game against Ivan Pineyro (4-3).
Juan Ciriaco hit a one-out double to center before Rosell Herrera walked. Both runners advanced on steals to set up Tom Murphy’s RBI grounder.
Asheville added two runs in the second when Dillon Thomas reached on a one-out fielding error by Hagerstown first baseman Shawn Pleffner. Jose Rivera followed with a single before Wessinger and Ciriaco hit two-out, run-scoring singles for the 3-1 lead.
The Tourists made it 4-1 in the third when Murphy singled and took second on a wild pitch before scoring on Francisco Sosa’s RBI single.
The Suns got a run back in the fourth when Brandon Miller led off with a double and scored on J.R. Higley’s single to cut the deficit to 4-2.
Asheville added two runs in the sixth on a double by Wessinger off Suns reliever Jason Smith to make it 6-2.
The Suns scored runs in the eighth and ninth innings.
Hagerstown scored off reliever Michael Mason when Norfolk led off with a single, took second when Miller walked and scored on Will Piwnica-Worms’ single to move Hagerstown to within 6-3.
Asheville scored three in the eighth, highlighted by Herrera’s two-run home run.
The Suns got a final run off Rayan Gonzalez in the ninth on doubles by Pedro Severino and Renda.
Hughes went seven innings, allowing two runs on six hits and a walk, while striking out four.
Pineyro pitched five innings, allowing four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks, while striking out six.
Renda and Miller had two hits each to lead the Suns 10-hit attack.