The fireworks came at both the beginning and the end of the game for the Jacksonville Suns tonight in their exhibition contest with the Florida Marlins before a record crowd at the Baseball Grounds.
Suns starter Todd Doolittle got back-to-back strikeouts against National League batting champion Hanley Ramirez and Jorge Cantu with a runner on to end the Marlins' half of the first inning. The Suns' Mike Stanton then came up in the bottom of the inning and blasted a 420-foot home run to give the Suns an early 2-0 lead.
The Marlins would battle back with one run in the third and 2 in the fourth to take the lead, but it would only last until the eighth inning when Tim Torres hit a 2-run home run to give the Double-A Suns a 4-3 win over their MLB affiliate.
The win by the Suns overshadowed a great pitching performance by Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco. He struck out 7 batters through 5 innings and retired 12 of the 13 batters he faced after giving up the 2-run home run to Stanton.
The Marlins open up their regular season on the road against the New York Mets Monday, while the Suns start their season at home against West Tennessee Thursday at 7:05 P.M.