Lancaster starter Bryan Evans got the win on the night, allowing just two hits and striking out four over five innings.
Evans retired the first 10 batters he faced before Southern Maryland shortstop Steve Lombardozzi had the team’s first hit of the season, and was the team’s first baserunner of 2016, on a single to center field in the bottom of the fourth.
After left fielder Fred Lewis’ double in that same inning, the next 12 batters would be retired in a row before catcher Angel Flores finally got the Blue Crabs on the board on a solo home run to center field.
In the bottom of the ninth, center fielder Gary Brown and former Washington National Lombardozzi led things off with back-toback singles. First baseman Zach Wilson then flied out to right for the first out of the inning after a diving catch by Lancaster’s Caleb Gindl.
“Their starting pitcher just did a good job of keeping us off balance,” said Lombardozzi, who had two hits in his first game with the Blue Crabs, the only Southern Maryland player with more than one. “We showed some fight in the end and scratched a run across in the final inning. We just came up short.”
Lewis then reached first base on a fielder’s choice as Lombardozzi was thrown out at second and Brown came to home plate for the Blue Crabs’ second run of the game.
With two outs, designated hitter Michael Snyder grounded to Lancaster third baseman Josh Bell, who threw Snyder out at first to end the game.
“This was the first game of the season. It is a long season, we are trying to see where everyone is going to fit in,” Lewis said. “We are just going to take it one day at a time.”
Lancaster, which had 13 hits on the night, took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second on back-to-back RBI doubles from designated hitter Mike Jacobs and shortstop Kevin Ahrens off of Blue Crabs starter Daryl Thompson.
“Lancaster got two big doubles in the second inning and capitalized and got ahead,” Blue Crabs manager Jeremy Owens said. “Evans was on his game and was hitting spots tonight. When he is throwing like that they are hard to beat. I’m pleased with how tonight went it just didn’t show in the scoreboard.”
The Barnstormers pushed the lead to 4-0 in the fourth when Ahrens hit a solo homer and second baseman Jeff Kobernus singled left fielder Michael Crouse to home plate.
In the sixth, Crouse scored as Gindl reached first on a fielder’s choice. Crouse was 3 for 5 with two runs scored. Gindl was one of four Barnstomers with two hits.
Thompson, the 2003 La Plata High School graduate who pitched a complete-game shutout versus Lancaster in the playoffs last season, lasted just 4 2/3 innings on opening night. He allowed four runs on seven hits with two walks and just one strikeout.
Blue Crabs shortstop Steve Lombardozzi scoops up a ground ball in Thursday’s season-opening game versus Lancaster at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf. Lancaster won the contest 5-2 despite Lombardozzi connecting for two hits at the plate.
The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs hosted opening night versus the Lancaster Barnstormers on Thursday night. The Blue Crabs fell 5-2.