Blue Crabs take two out of three in Bridge­port

Win 12-in­ning con­test af­ter split­ting dou­ble­header

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­

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

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