Blue Crabs take three of four at Lancaster Four runs in sixth lifts team to win in series finale
The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs limped into the all-star break with a 1-6 record to start the second half and the four days of rest could not have come at a better time.
Getting back to action, the Blue Crabs are receiving the positive results they’ve been waiting for. And they continued Monday night with a 7-3 win over the Lancaster Barnstormers at Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster Pa., completing a four-game series that saw the visitors take three. It was the first series win for the Blue Crabs since June 22.
Southern Maryland (30-50 overall, 4-7 second half) was just two games behind first-place Sugar Land in the Atlantic League’s Freedom Division second-half standings entering Tuesday, when the Blue Crabs continued their road trip with the beginning of a three-game series versus York, the first-half division champion which is a half-game behind Sugar Land.
The series continued at 6:30 tonight and finishes at 11 a.m. Thursday at PeoplesBank Park in York, Pa., then the Blue Crabs are home briefly over the weekend versus Liberty Division champion Long Island.
On Monday, the Blue Crabs broke a 2-2 tie with four runs in the top of the sixth inning. Eric Garcia provided the big blow with a three-run home run.
Offensively, the visitors had 16 hits led by Gary Brown, who was 4 for 5 at the plate with an RBI single in the third and a double. Gustavo Molina
Bryant Nelson finished 2 for 4 on the night and now has 1,040 career hits and was 12 away from tying, and 13 from breaking the Atlantic League all-time hits mark entering Tuesday.
“It’s good that we are finally getting healthy and starting to play good baseball,” said Nelson, who was a combined 10 for 17 with five RBIs in the series. “We just need to do the little things and give ourselves a chance to win in the end. I’m just focused on playing and we just need to come together as a team.”
Blue Crabs starting pitcher Daryl Thompson, a 2003 La Plata High School graduate, picked up his third win of the season. He went 6 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on five hits with three strikeouts and no walk. He was backed by the bullpen as three pitchers combined to not give up any runs on just two hits with two strikeouts in 2 1/3 innings. For the four-game series, the bullpen surrendered just one run on six hits and struck out nine batters in 12 1/3 innings.
“Four days off from baseball at the all-star break really helped us, going 3-1 in Lancaster was huge for us,” said Thompson, referring to a Barnstormers team that was 4-6 in the Freedom Division coming into Tuesday. “The pitching and hitting is starting to come together. We are staying positive for this second half.”
Sunday, the Barnstormers pulled out a 3-2 win as Blue Crabs reliever Robert Carson walked in a run with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh which provided the eventual game-winning run. Nelson was 3 for 4 with two RBIs.
Blue Crabs starter Gaby Hernandez gave up two runs on four hits with four walks and two strikeouts over six innings in a no-decision.
On Saturday, Wilson’s two-run home run in the fourth gave the Blue Crabs a 3-0 lead which stood up for a 3-2 win. The visitors had just four hits but held on for the win behind stellar pitching.
Starter Brian Burres went six innings, allowing just two runs on six hits with a walk and five strikeouts. Cody Eppley allowed the tying run to get on base in the bottom of the ninth but retired the next three hitters in order to pick up his 15th save of the season.
Wilson went 2 for 4 at the plate in the game.
Friday, with the score tied at 4 in the top of the ninth, D’Arby Myers pushed across an RBI single to score Garcia for the eventual-game winning run on Friday.
Lancaster led 4-2 after three innings, but the Blue Crabs tied the game at 4 in the fifth.
Nelson was 4 for 5 at the plate. Molina was also 2 for 4 with a RBI and a run scored, while Jamar Walton added a home run with two RBIs. His 2-run blast put the Blue Crabs on the board in the second.
Carson picked up his first win of the season after two scoreless of relief. Eppley struck out Caleb Gindl picked up his 14th save, ending the game by striking out Caleb Gindl. and Zach Wilson each finished with three hits in the win.
“It’s a great feeling to come back and win the series,” Blue Crabs manager Jeremy Owens said. “It builds confidence and lets us know we are heading in the right direction. The biggest difference I see is guys having rested legs and key players are back in the lineup. We are getting healthier everyday and as long as we stay there we should be in good shape.”
Blue Crabs third baseman Twitter: @ajmason301