Stopped by the rain

Blue Crabs’ mo­men­tum halted by weather af­ter .500 road trip

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­

The month of Au­gust thus far hasn’t been par­tic­u­larly kind to the South­ern Mary­land Blue Crabs, as the club has won just one se­ries out of four dur­ing that span.

The Blue Crabs capped off their six-game road trip Sun­day in Som­er­set with a 6-5 vic­tory in 12 in­nings to avoid a three-game sweep. The team then took that mo­men­tum into the first of a four-game se­ries at home ver­sus Bridge­port on Mon­day night at Re­gency Fur­ni­ture Sta­dium in Wal­dorf.

Lead­ing Bridge­port 2-1, how­ever, Mon­day night’s game was halted in the top of the fourth due to heavy rains and thun­der­storms.

The se­ries opener was set to start over on Tues­day as part of a dou­ble­header, which fin­ished too late for in­clu­sion in this edi­tion. Game three of the se­ries is sched­uled for Wed­nes­day at 7:05 p.m.

As of Mon­day, South­ern Mary­land (41-65, 15-21), which had 34 games left in the the sea­son, re­mained in last place in the Free­dom Divi­sion and was 6 1/2 games be­hind of first­place Sugar Land in the sec­ond half stand­ings.

Som­er­set had scored first with a run in the top of the first on Mon­day, but Eric Gar­cia put South­ern Mary­land on top 2-1 on a two-run sin­gle in the bot­tom of the third.

“I’m just try­ing to help the team any­way I can,” said Gar­cia. “I thank God for giv­ing me the op­por­tu­nity to play base­ball. It has been frus­trat­ing for us, but we are just go­ing to grind the sea­son out.”

Bridge­port (49-57, 19-17) stands in sec­ond place in the Lib­erty Divi­sion.

On Sun­day at TD Bank Ball­park in New Jer­sey, the Blue Crabs, who fin­ished their road trip with a 3-3 record, out­hit Som­er­set 13-11 and tied the game at 5 in the top of the sev­enth on a RBI sin­gle by Bryant Nel­son, who is the league’s all­time leader in hits (1,070).

“We played .500 ball on the road trip and are in a must-win sit­u­a­tion ev­ery night,” said Blue Crabs man­ager Jeremy Owens. “Yes­ter­day’s win was huge and gave us mo­men­tum com­ing back home ver­sus a hot team in Bridge­port. Un­for­tu­nately we took a hit [Mon­day] with the rain, but we will get right back to it with the dou­ble­header.”

In Sun­day’s game, both bullpens held each other score­less up un­til the top of the 12th as Zach Wilson hit a clutch dou­ble to left field, al­low­ing Nel­son to score the game-win­ning run. The dou­ble for Wilson was his 29th of the sea­son, which leads the At­lantic League as of Mon­day. He also col­lected his 50th RBI for the sea­son in Sun­day’s win.

With run­ners on first and third and one out out, Blue Crabs closer Cody Ep­p­ley got Kyle Roller to hit into the game-end­ing dou­ble play to record the save for South­ern Mary­land. Roller also hit into a dou­ble play to end the 10th frame.

Nel­son went 3 for 5 with one RBI, a walk and two runs scored, while Wilson fin­ished 2 for 6 with two dou­bles, two RBIs and was one of the four Blue Crabs with two hits in the game.

The bulk of the scor­ing for South­ern Mary­land came in the sixth in­ning, spurred by a tworun home run by Ja­mar Wal­ton.

Lead­ing Som­er­set was David Vi­dal, who went 3 for 4 in the game with two RBIs and two runs scored.

Bryan LaHair was one of three play­ers for Som­er­set that reg­is­tered two hits, in­clud­ing a two-run homer in the bot­tom of the sixth to give Som­er­set the 5-4 lead.

Nei­ther start­ing pitcher fac­tored into the de­ci­sion as the Blue Crabs’ Gaby Her­nan­dez went six in­nings and al­lowed four earned runs with four strike­outs. For­mer Blue Crab Shaun Garceau got the start for Som­er­set go­ing six in­nings, al­low­ing four runs on five hits with three strike­outs.

Ian Mar­shall got the win for the Blue Crabs af­ter pitch­ing two in­nings out of the bullpen. Jeremy Ble­ich was sad­dled with the loss for Som­er­set.

In the sec­ond game of the se­ries on Satur­day, the Blue Crabs suf­fered a 7-5 loss as Som­er­set scored in five of the first six in­nings.

Blue Crabs starter Brian Bur­res lost his third straight de­ci­sion, al­low­ing six runs, four earned, on nine hits with six strike­outs in five in­nings.

Dono­van Hand got the win for Som­er­set, pitch­ing the first five in­nings, giv­ing up four runs on eight hits with one strike­out.Jon Hun­ton picked up the save for the Pa­tri­ots, pitch­ing a score­less ninth, al­low­ing just one hit.

Wilson (two RBIs) and Wal­ton each had two hits to lead the Blue Crabs. LaHair had three hits with two RBIs to lead Som­er­set.

On Fri­day in the se­ries opener Som­er­set won 10-2 and out­hit the Blue Crabs 14-5, in­clud­ing three home runs.

Al­fredo Marte’s two-run homer in the top of the sec­ond served as the only runs of the night for the Blue Crabs. Blue Crabs starter Tim Sex­ton suf­fered the loss on the hill, al­low­ing eight runs on 12 hits in 4 2/­nings of work.

On Thurs­day, the Blue Crabs capped off their only se­ries win of the month, de­feat­ing Lan­caster 4-3 in the fi­nale of a three-game set.

South­ern Mary­land led 4-0 af­ter four in­nings, but was able to hold on for the win.

Starter Brian Gren­ing and three re­liev­ers com­bined to re­tire the last 12 Lan­caster hit­ters to end the game. Ep­p­ley got the save in the game. Gar­cia went 3 for 5 with two RBIs to lead South­ern Mary­land.

PHOTO BY BERT HINDMAN Blue Crabs start­ing pitcher Daryl Thomp­son winds up to a throw a pitch in the first of a four-game se­ries ver­sus Bridge­port on Mon­day at Re­gency Fur­ni­ture Sta­dium in Wal­dorf. The game was halted in the top of the fourth due to the in­clement weather.

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