Blue Crabs top New Bri­tain for first sweep of sea­son

Sny­der ex­plodes for seven hits in se­ries ver­sus New Bri­tain

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­news.com

In what has been a rough patch for most of the sum­mer, the South­ern Mary­land Blue Crabs did some­thing that they hadn’t done yet this sea­son.

Sun­day, the Blue Crabs wrapped up their first se­ries sweep of the sea­son with a 6-3 vic­tory in the three-game se­ries fi­nale over the New Bri­tain Bees at Re­gency Fur­ni­ture Sta­dium in Wal­dorf. The game was called in the bot­tom of the seventh in­ning be­cause of rain.

South­ern Mary­land won Fri­day’s se­ries opener 9-6 and fol­lowed up with a 5-3 win on Satur­day. The Blue Crabs col­lected a to­tal of 36 hits in the three games, with 27 com­ing in the first two.

Af­ter a At­lantic League-wide off day on Mon­day, South­ern Mary­land (45-68 over­all, 19-24 sec­ond half) started the first of a three-game se­ries on the road in Long Is­land (60-52, 20-22), the first-half cham­pi­ons of the Lib­erty Di­vi­sion, on Tues­day. The se­ries con­tin­ues tonight and Thurs­day be­fore the Blue Crabs re­turn home to start a seven-game home­s­tand Fri­day ver­sus Su­gar Land. The Blue Crabs sat in third place in the Free­dom Di­vi­sion sec­ond-half stand­ings en­ter­ing Tues­day, 8 1/2 games be­hind Su­gar Land.

“It feels great to get the first sweep of the sea­son and it came at the right time,” Blue Crabs man­ager Jeremy Owens said. “We dug a huge hole through­out the sec­ond half, but now is the time. These next [nine games] to end the month of Au­gust is go­ing to be huge be­fore we hit Septem­ber. Hope­fully we can make a push.”

Michael Sny­der sparked the Blue Crabs of­fense all se­ries long, as he went a com­bined 7 for 11 at the plate to go along with two home runs and seven RBIs. En­ter­ing Tues­day, Sny­der was third in the At­lantic League in home runs with 18.

“The sweep felt re­ally good, it is ex­tremely sur­pris­ing,” said Sny­der, who did not regis­ter a hit in 11 plate ap­pear­ances dur­ing a four-game home se­ries with Bridge­port last week. “I just wanted to stick with my plan at the plate and not shy away from pitches. I just want to help the team more than any­thing.”

In Sun­day’s fi­nale, New Bri­tain (5460, 18-26) took a 3-0 lead in the top of

the sec­ond, all of the runs be­ing un­earned, but the Blue Crabs an­swered in the bot­tom of the in­ning on back-to-back homers, a three-run homer by Ja­mar Walton and a solo shot from Al­fredo Marte. They tacked on two more in the fourth on RBI sin­gles by Bryant Nel­son and Sny­der.

Blue Crabs starter Brian Gren­ing picked up the win, toss­ing seven in­nings, al­low­ing just four hits and no earned runs with five strike­outs.

Satur­day, South­ern Mary­land was able to hold on for the two-run win sparked by Sny­der’s tworun homer in the bot­tom of the eighth that gave it a 5-1 lead and proved to be the game-win­ning hit af­ter the Bees scored twice in the ninth.

Blue Crabs closer Cody Ep­p­ley picked up the save, his 23rd of the sea­son and sec­ond in two nights, af­ter strik­ing out New Bri­tain’s Cole Gar­ner with run­ners at sec­ond and third and two outs to end the game.

Sny­der fin­ished with three hits, while Gus­tavo Molina and An­gel Sanchez had two hits each in the win.

Scott Sn­odgress got the win out of the bullpen for South­ern Mary­land, go­ing 2 2/3 in­nings with five strike­outs, giv­ing up no runs on just one hit.

Fri­day, the Blue Crabs won a wild one at Re­gency as both teams com­bined for 15 runs on 30 hits and each in­ning fea­tured at least one run be­ing scored ex­cept the ninth.

Sanchez fin­ished 4 for 4 with a walk and two RBIs in the win, while D’Arby My­ers and Nel­son each had three hits.

Blue Crabs starter Gaby Her­nan­dez was strong on the hill, strik­ing out nine batters over 5 1/3 in­nings to pick up his third win in his last four starts.

South­ern Mary­land lost three out four ver­sus Bridge­port at home, suf­fer­ing a 3-2 loss in Thurs­day’s se­ries fi­nale.

Nel­son, pinch hit­ting for Marte, struck out with the ty­ing run on third base and two outs to end the game.

Blue Crabs starter Brian Bur­res dropped his fourth straight de­ci­sion, al­low­ing three runs on eight hits with three walks and three strike­outs in eight in­nings.

The Blue Crabs did not get their first hit un­til the one out in the fourth.

Zach Wilson’s RBI dou­ble in the seventh and a two-out RBI dou­ble by Walton in the ninth was the Blue Crabs’ only runs.

Also Thurs­day, be­fore New Bri­tain came to South­ern Mary­land for the week­end se­ries, man­ager Stan Cliburn, a for­mer Blue Crabs front­man, picked up his 1,600th ca­reer win as the Bees shut out Long Is­land, 7-0.

PHOTO BY BERT HINDMAN

Blue Crabs first base­man Michael Sny­der fin­ished a com­bined 7 for 11 at the plate to go with two home runs and seven RBIs in a three-game sweep over the New Bri­tain Bees this week­end at Re­gency Fur­ni­ture Sta­dium in Wal­dorf.

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