Blue Crabs unable to avoid sweep versus York
Swept by York as visitors break open games in 10th, 9th, 7th innings
The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs had a 1-0 lead with one out in the top of the seventh inning Sunday afternoon in the finale of a three-game series with the York Revolution at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf. And the Blue Crabs had one of its top pitchers this season in left-hander Brian Burres tossing a four-hit shutout with nine strikeouts.
Then, just as in the previous two games Friday and Saturday, the big inning happened.
Burres was pulled out of the game with runners on first and third and one out, but the Blue Crabs bullpen was unable to hold off York’s high-powered offense for much longer as the visitors ended up sending 10 hitters to the plate in the inning and scoring five runs in what would become an eventual 6-3 win and a series sweep.
Southern Maryland (38-62 overall, 12-18 second half) fell back into last place in the Atlantic League’s Freedom Division standings, six games behind York, entering a six-game road trip that began Tuesday night in Lancaster and continues in Somerset over the weekend.
The Blue Crabs, who were off on Monday, fell to York 6-3 in 10 innings Friday night and 3-0 on Saturday night with all three runs scoring in the ninth. Thursday night, the Blue Crabs wrapped up a home series with Lancaster, a 7-5 loss which saw the Barnstormers plate five runs in the final three innings.
Sunday, Burres lost his second-straight decision to drop his record to 8-6. He finished with the four hits and nine strikeouts along with two runs charged to him after giving up a walk and a single to start the seventh before being replaced by Navery Moore, who gave up a two-run single to former Blue Crab Keith Castillo that put York ahead.
Burres’ also recorded his 100th strikeout of the season in the second inning.
“Giving up that walk in the beginning of the seventh really turned the game around and I can’t do that,” said Burres, who is second in the league in ERA at 2.71, 0.01 behind New
Britain’s Cole Johnson, fifth in strikeouts with 107 and tied for third in wins with eight. “We are playing good baseball and competing, we just have to keep working. We had some momentum today, we just couldn’t keep it going our way.”
York (58-42, 18-12), the first-half Freedom champions which lead the Freedom by a half game over Sugar Land entering Tuesday, were sparked by Michael Rockett with three hits and two runs scored and Castillo, who finished 2 for 4 with three RBIs.
“Every time we play York, it is a close game and then all of a sudden something happens in the ballgame where we can’t overcome that one pitch or one out,” Blue Crabs manager Jeremy Owens said. “Good teams take advantage of opportunities and run with it. That is why York won the first half and we’ve got to try to learn fast to stop the snowball effect.”
Brandon Chaves hit a bases-loaded single, then Joel Guzman was hit by a pitch to bring in a run and, after Ian Marshall came in for Moore, Andres Perez added a RBI sacrifice fly to give York the 5-1 lead.
Shortstop Eric Garcia, who was 2 for 3 at the plate, brought the Blue Crabs to within 5-3 on a two-run double. Later, after back-to-back twoout walks, Jamar Walton struck out with the bases loaded. York tacked one more run in the eighth on sacrifice fly by Castillo and prevailed.
Saturday’s game was scoreless up until the ninth when York sent eight hitters to the plate to score three runs, all off of Blue Crabs closer Cody Eppley, to pick up the win.
With two runners on, Rockett doubled in the first run of the game and, two batters later, Josh Wilson drove in Kevin Rivers with a sacrifice fly. The next hitter, Alex Marquez, singled in his first run in a York uniform with a single to cap off the scoring. Mike DeMark came on in the bottom of the ninth and shut the Blue Crabs down in order to record his league-leading 27th save.
Starter Tim Sexton went 7 2/3 innings, surrendering just three hits and striking out six with a walk for Southern Maryland. He had a two-hit shutout through seven and retired 11 straight batters at one point in the contest.
Offensively, the Blue Crabs left eight runners on, including the bases loaded in the seventh. Walton and Gustavo Molina finished 2 for 4 at the plate to lead the hosts.
York starter Frank Gailey struck out nine batters and did not give up any runs on just four hits with two walks before being lifted with two outs in the bottom of the seventh.
In the series opener after Wilson tied the game for York on a solo home run in the seventh, the Revolution scored three runs on three hits in the 10th against Blue Crabs reliever Craig Stem to win it in extra innings.
The big hit was a Rivers two-RBI triple and he came home on a Rockett base hit. DeMark allowed a two-out single to Bryant Nelson in the bottom of the inning but no more in picking up the save.
Thursday, Southern Maryland got to within 6-5 in the eighth after an Angel Sanchez two-run single but no closer in the series-ending loss to Lancaster.
Blue Crabs starter Daryl Thompson, a 2003 La Plata High School graduate, went the first six innings and got a no-decision after he left with the game tied at 2. He gave up just two runs on eight hits with two walks and three strikeouts.
The Blue Crabs were led by Antoan Richardson with three hits and a run scored, while Sanchez and Garcia had two hits and two RBIs each.
Robert Carson lasted just one-third of an inning in relief of Thompson to take the loss, allowing two runs on one hit.
Blue Crabs left-handed starter Brian Burres suffered the loss in Sunday’s 6-3 setback versus the York Revolution at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf. Burres went 6 1/3 innings, allowed just two runs on four hits with nine strikeouts.
Blue Crabs second baseman Gary Brown had an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth inning in Sunday’s 6-3 loss to the York Revolution at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf.