Vero Cuts Magic Number to Six

Vero Beach moved closer to the Florida State League East Division title with a 10-3 win behind Chuck Tiffany's pitching and three RBI from A.J. Ellis. Cody Ross homered in the second inning but the 51s lost their fifth in succession, 5-3 at Tacoma. Jacksonville pounded Carolina 9-1 as Tydus Meadows boomed a three run homer in a 9-1 victory and Columbus won the final game of their series in Greensboro 3-1 behind Blake Johnson.

TACOMA, Washington--The game was delayed almost two hours by rain but professional baseball's hottest hitter, Chris Snelling, was in no way deterred as he boosted his average to .390 with a pair of hits, including a two-run homer, that sunk Las Vegas 5-3. Jimmy Rohan had an RBI single in the top of the first inning and a Cody Ross slugged a home run in the second inning but the offense went cold at that time, collecting only one hit over the next five innings as 14 of the next 16 batters were retired. Three more Rainers added homers to their total to beat up Pat Mahomes (5-3). Henri Stanley had a single, double and triple and Ross added a singe to his 11th home run. Buddy Carlyle (0-2, 8.22) is scheduled to start the second game of the four-game series as Las Vegas tries to stop the five-game skid.

JACKSONVILLE, Florida-– The Suns routed Carolina 9-1 keyed by Sergio Garcia's bases-clearing double in the second inning, breaking an 18-inning scoreless streak that gave the Suns a 3-0 lead. Joel Guzman added an RBI double and Tydus Meadows whacked a three-run home run in the third inning. Starter Eric Hull (4-3) won again, allowing only a solo home run in the fifth inning over six innings, and struck out seven. Richard Bartlett and Jason Olson combined to deliver three shutout innings of relief. Jon Weber and Delwyn Young each added RBI for the Suns, who beat the Mudcats for the first time in five games this season. Right-hander Joel Hanrahan (2-3, 5.47 ERA) is scheduled to face Mudcats tonight. Sun Spots: Russell Mitchell made his Suns debut, striking out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning. He played second base in the ninth. …Todd Donovan and James Loney each drew three walks. …The Suns are 25-3 when scoring five or more runs. …The Mudcats (40-18) entered the game with the Minor Leagues' best record and had allowed the fewest walks among Southern League teams. Mudcats pitching walked eight batters after walking nine Thursday.

PALM BEACH, Florida--The Dodgers magic number now stands at six, meaning any combination of six Dodgers win or six Jupiter losses clinches the first half title for Vero Beach after a 10-3 win over Palm Beach. The Dodgers scored 6 runs in the first inning and cruised as A.J. Ellis went 4-for-4 and drove in three runs for the Dodgers. Chuck Tiffany dealt six shutout innings, striking out eight Cardinals to get the win. That victory stopped a personal 4-game losing streak and improved his record to 5-4. He surrendered just two hits and two walks to earn the victory. Every starter scored at least once for the Dodgers. Ellis and Chin-lung Hu each drove in three runs. Hu, LaRoche and Paul chipped in two hits a piece and Mayke Cabrera went 3-5. The Dodgers return home tonight for Autographed Baseball Night against the Brevard County Manatees. From the Beach: The Vero Beach Dodgers have very busy these days honoring players from both its past and its present. As part of the season-long celebration of the 25th anniversary of its existance as a franchise, the team has selected the first three members of its Hall of Fame. Saluted were the late Stan Wasiak, the all-time winningest manager in minor league history† who was at the helm of that first team back in 1980 as well as two pitchers from those early days, Clint "Butch" Wickensheimer and Rob Slezak. At the same time, the present-day Eastern Division-leading Dodgers learned that six team members have been selected to play in the Florida State League All-Star game to be played in Clearwater, June 18. They are third baseman Andy LaRoche, shortstop Chin-lung Hu, second baseman Tony Abreau, outfielder Justin Ruggiano and pitcher Justin Orenduff. "I† thought we could have even more , especially some pitchers† but it's a nice representation and I'm very pleased, " said manager Scott Little. --Bill Shelley

GREENSBORO, NC-- Allowing just a run in the first inning, the Catfish pitching staff shut down the Grasshoppers in the final 8.2 innings in a 3-1 win in the series finale. RHP Blake Johnson gave up just one run in five innings tonight while striking out eight, wining for the fourth time this season. Johnson has allowed just four earned runs in his last seven starts (40.2 innings). RHP Brian Akin tossed two scoreless innings, and RHP Kyle Wilson gave up just one hit in the final two innings for his second save. Johnson allowed an RBI single on a slow roller in front of the mound in the first inning but the Catfish tied the game in the second when 2B Travis Denker scored on an RBI double by RF Ryan Russ. In the fourth inning Sam Steidl delivered a clutch single giving Columbus a 2-1 lead. The Fish added a run in the eighth inning when 1B Cole Bruce singled home Denker from second. Bruce had two hits tonight and six hits in three games in the series, including three HR. Wilson got defensive help in the ninth inning from Russ, who made a terrific catch on a line drive to the wall to get the first out of the ninth. The Fish continue an eight-game roadtrip with a four-game series starting in Kannapolis, sending RHP Chris Malone (5-2, 3.30 ERA) to the hill tonight.

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