Blue Crabs take two out of three in Bridgeport
Win 12-inning contest after splitting doubleheader
In the span of 48 hours the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs played three games against the Bridgeport Bluefish, splitting a twinbill on Tuesday then competing in a genuine marathon on Wednesday night in the rubber match.
On Wednesday evening the Blue Crabs took an early 4-1 lead courtesy of a three-run home run from Michael Snyder in the third, but Bridgeport responded with three runs in the home half of the inning. Gary Brown answered with a two-run homer to give the Blue Crabs a 6-4 lead, but Bridgeport responded with single runs in the fifth, seventh and eighth to take a 7-6 lead.
Southern Maryland looked destined for defeat in regulation until Gustavo Molina hits a solo home run with two outs in the top of the ninth to tie it at 7-all. Neither team scored in the 10th or 11th innings, but the Blue Crabs broke through with two runs in the top of the 12th.
Zach Wilson scored on a twoout single by Jamar Walton to give the Blue Crabs an 8-7 lead. Southern Maryland later added an insurance run when Alfredo Marte scored on a wild pitch. Then Blue Crabs closer Cody Eppley recorded his 19th save in 23 chances when he retired the Bluefish in order in the bottom of the 12th to preserve the 9-7 victor y.
Snyder was 3 for 6 with a home run, three RBIs and a run scored, while Wilson went 3 for 5 with a double, walk and a run scored. Walton and Brown each had two hits.
Ian Marshall picked up the win to go to 3-0, allowing just one hit in three innings while walking two and striking out one. He got out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth to force extra innings when Anthony Giansanti flew out to right field, then pitched perfect 10th and 11th frames. The Blue Crabs used seven pitchers as starter Scott Snodgress lasted just 2 1/3 innings, giving up four runs, two earned, on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts.
The Blue Crabs (35-54, 9-11 second half, 2 1/2 games behind Sugar Land in Atlantic League’s Freedom Division entering Thursday) started a four-game series in New Britain on Thursday night and it continues tonight and through the weekend.
One day after their series opener was postponed by rain, the Blue Crabs split a doubleheader with the Bluefish on Tuesday. Southern Maryland dropped the opener, which had a morning start, 4-2, but responded with a 6-4 victory in Game 2 later in the afternoon.
In Game 2, Blue Crabs starter Brian Burres improved to 8-4 after allowing four runs, two earned, on 11 hits and one walk while fanning five batters in six innings and Eppley escaped a serious jam in the seventh to record his 18th save in 22 opportunities. Atlantic League doubleheaders are two-seven inning regulation contests.
Veteran third baseman Bryant Nelson continued to chip away at the Atlantic League all-time hit record. Nelson, who doubled in the opener, had a two-out single in the fourth inning to get within five hits of equaling Jeff Nettles’ mark and six hits away from breaking it. Nelson was 0 for 5 with a walk, RBI and run scored in Wednesday’s win.
“Nelly is one heck of a player,” Blue Crabs manager Jeremy Owens said. “He’s just a true pro. He does so many things well and he really leads by example. You can’t replace his experience.”
The Blue Crabs gave Burres ample support by scoring four runs in the second and two more in the third. Snyder went 3 for 4 in Game 2 with a pair of doubles after going 3 for 3 in the opener with two doubles. With his double Wednesday night, Snyder is now at 25 to go along with 16 homers. Eppley entered the game with the bases loaded and none out in the seventh, allowed two inherited runners to score but retired Rossmel Perez by fielding a ground ball to end the game and record the save.
“Cody has really bounced back since that one outing last Thursday,” Owens said. Last Thursday, Eppley entered with a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the ninth and promptly gave up three runs as the Blue Crabs fell 5-4 at York. “That outing was really a fluke. Every pitcher has a game like that. He made good pitches. They just got clean hits. He’s really been effective since then. That outing hasn’t effected him.”
In the opening game of the Tuesday twinbill, Bridgeport (41-49, 11-9, 2 games behind Long Island in Liberty Division entering Thursday) scored four runs in the bottom of the first against Southern Maryland starter Tim Sexton and the Blue Crabs could only respond with two runs against Bluefish starter Blake Beavan. Bridgeport closer Jose Veras pitched a scoreless seventh to record his fifth save.
Nelson led off the fourth with a ground-rule double and the next batter Snyder brought him home on a double. Snyder scored on a sacrifice fly by Walton. Walton had a home run in Game 2 to start the Blue Crabs’ four-run second en route to the win.
Outfielder D’Arby Myers went 0 for 3 in the opener, bringing an end to his 20-game hitting streak. It still marks the longest hitting streak in the Atlantic League this season and the third longest since 2014. Twitter: tblacksomds1