Blue Crabs drop three of four to Long Is­land

Give up three homers in se­ries fi­nale de­feat

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­news.com

Things were go­ing in the fa­vor of the South­ern Mary­land Blue Crabs for once.

Com­ing off a 2-0 shutout win of Long Is­land on Satur­day night to end the team’s eight-game los­ing streak, the first five to start the sec­ond half, the Blue Crabs led 3-1 af­ter three in­nings in Sun­day af­ter­noon’s four-game se­ries fi­nale.

How­ever, Long Is­land turned the tides by scor­ing back-to-back four­run in­nings in the fourth and fifth, which in­cluded two home runs, en route to a 9-6 vic­tory at Re­gency Fur­ni­ture Sta­dium in Wal­dorf.

Long Is­land (44-32 over­all, cur­rently the best record in the Atlantic League; 4-2 sec­ond half,

one-game be­hind Som­er­set), col­lected eight of its 13 hits in the fourth and fifth in­nings com­bined in Sun­day’s win to take three of four games in the se­ries. The Ducks opened with a 5-3 win Thurs­day and added a 6-2 vic­tory on Fri­day.

South­ern Mary­land (2749, 1-6) is al­ready four games be­hind Sugar Land af­ter the open­ing week of the sec­ond half, which will re­sume Fri­day in Lan­caster to be­gin a seven-game road trip that will also take the Blue Crabs to York start­ing Tues­day.

At 7 tonight, Lan­caster hosts the Atlantic League All-Star game where five Blue Crabs — pitch­ers Brian Bur­res and Cody Ep­p­ley, in­field­ers Michael Sny­der and Bryant Nel­son and out­fielder Ja­mar Wal­ton — will play for the Free­dom Di­vi­sion team, which will be man­aged by former man­ager Stan Cliburn, who cur­rently heads the Lib­erty Di­vi­sion’s New Bri­tain Bees.

“This was our best loss of the year,” Blue Crabs man­ager Jeremy Owens said. “We were never out of that game and had some op­por­tu­ni­ties. We are go­ing to reload for the next four days and come back strong for the next se­ries in Lan­caster.”

In the fourth, former Blue Crab An­thony Vega, who home­red on the game’s first pitch, brought Long Is­land to within 3-2 on a two-out RBI sin­gle af­ter an er­ror by Nel­son at third base kept the in­ning alive. Vega was 3 for 5 in the con­test, need­ing only a dou­ble to com­plete the cy­cle.

Fehlandt Len­tini fol­lowed up with a three-run homer on a 1-ball, 2-strike pitch to put Long Is­land on top 5-3 and it never trailed again.

The Ducks of­fense un­loaded again in the fifth when catcher Mike Blanke hit a two-run homer, the team’s third of the game and, two bat­ters later, Vega col­lected a RBI triple to push the lead to five runs. Delta Cleary Jr., who had his sec­ond fourhit game of the se­ries, the first on Thurs­day, gave the vis­i­tors a 9-3 lead on a two-out RBI sin­gle.

The Blue Crabs cut the deficit to 9-5 on a two-run homer by Do­mini­can Repub­lic na­tive Al­fredo Marte, who was ac­quired in a trade with York on Thurs­day for a player to be named later. He also had an RBI sin­gle in the bot­tom of the first.

An­toan Richard­son, who was signed and ac­ti­vated Fri­day, scored a run in the eighth for the Blue Crabs. as Michael Sny­der grounded into a bases loaded dou­ble play.

Long Is­land starter Bruce Kern (3-1) picked up the win, pitch­ing six in­nings with seven strike­outs, al­low­ing three runs on eight hits with four walks. Todd Cof­fey picked up his 13th save of the sea­son af­ter pitch­ing a score­less ninth. Eric Gar­cia dou­bled against Cof fey with two outs to bring the ty­ing run to the plate, but An­gel Sanchez grounded out to end the game.

Blue Crabs starter Daryl Thomp­son, a 2003 La Plata High School grad­u­ate, took the loss to fall to 2-6 on the sea­son. Thomp­son lasted just 4 1/3 in­nings, al­low­ing seven runs, three earned, on 11 hits with one walk and two strike­outs.

“Long Is­land got some timely hits when they needed to,” Thomp­son said. “I have to pick my guys up and I’ve been giv­ing up hits. I wasn’t too happy to­day, but for the next four days we just have to rest and re­group af­ter the all-star break.”

South­ern Mary­land had a 15-hit at­tack led by D’Arby Myers and Nel­son with three hits each. Ryde Ro­driguez also had two hits, in­clud­ing a solo homer to lead off the sec­ond, his first of the sea­son.

“I want to help this team win games,” Ro­driguez said. “I’ve had a good time so far, we just need to start win­ning more. I think we will be just fine, ev­ery­one must pull to­gether and get healthy.”

Myers now is on a 12game hit­ting streak with three homers and eight RBIs dur­ing that span and has hit safely in 22 of 24 games. Cur­rently at 1,030 ca­reer hits, he is two hits away from over­tak­ing Ray Navar­rette for the sec­ond most in league his­tory.

This sea­son, Long Is­land holds a 10-3 ad­van­tage over the Blue Crabs, outscor­ing them 79-41.

Satur­day, Bur­res and the bullpen of Scott Maine, Craig Stem and Cody Ep­p­ley com­bined to pitch a seven-hit shutout to go with 10 strike­outs in Satur­day’s win.

Bur­res, who im­proved to 6-4 on the sea­son, threw six in­nings and struck out seven, al­lowed just two hits with two walks on 108 pitches. Ep­p­ley got the save, his 13th of the sea­son, pitch­ing a score­less ninth de­spite two hits and added a strike­out.

PHOTO BY BERT HIND­MAN

Blue Crabs start­ing pitcher Daryl Thomp­son, a 2003 La Plata High School grad­u­ate, lasted just 4 1/3 in­nings in Sun­day af­ter­noon’s 9-6 loss to the Long Is­land Ducks at Re­gency Fur­ni­ture Sta­dium in Wal­dorf. Thomp­son gave up seven runs, three earned, on 11 hits with two strike­outs and a walk.

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