Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Suns Score Early and Often in Shutout; Esch Continues Strong Pitching to Start Season

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Suns Score Early and Often in Shutout; Esch Continues Strong Pitching to Start Season

Article excerpt

Byline: Jeff Elliott

The Jacksonville Suns experienced a number of season-firsts in Friday's 7-0 win over the Jackson Generals at the Baseball Grounds.

The Suns scored their first run, hit their first home run, produced their first double-digit hit game and encountered their initial rain delay.

What was similar to Jacksonville's game the night before, however, was the pitching performance by Suns' starter Jake Esch. The 25-year-old right-hander allowed one hit and two walks over the first five innings, nearly matching the showing by Trevor Williams a day earlier. Williams threw a one-hit shutout for six innings.

Esch allowed singles to Jackson's first two batters in the sixth inning before retiring the next batter on a flyout. He never had a chance to get out of trouble, however, as a sudden downpour sent both teams scrambling for cover and resulted in a 61-minute delay. Once play resumed, Suns reliever Blake Logan came in and got out of the jam, preserving Esch's shutout. Logan went another scoreless inning followed by similar efforts from Matt Tomshaw and Sean Donatello to preserve the shutout.

Esch was in control. He retired the Generals in order in three innings and faced four batters the other two innings. He threw 75 pitches, 45 for strikes. He expressed satisfaction with his effort afterward and, like Williams the night before, gave credit to an effective slider in shutting down the Generals.

"It was exciting to get out here and start off the season right," he said. "I had a good slider tonight. It was working for me. That and the fastball were to go-to pitches tonight. We just followed the same game plan from last night. Thanks to Trevor, he laid the groundwork for me."

The biggest difference between Esch's performance and that of Williams was that Esch benefited from the Suns' 10 hits and six runs in the first four innings. …

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