Au­gust ends with loss for Blue Crabs

Team fin­ished month win­ning 8 of 12

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

The first 18 days of Au­gust was rather tough for the South­ern Mary­land Blue Crabs, win­ning just five of 16 games over that stretch. That was put in the rearview mir­ror as the end of the month was more kinder with eight wins in 11 games head­ing into the third game of a four-game se­ries Wed­nes­day ver­sus Som­er­set at Re­gency Fur­ni­ture Sta­dium.

The Blue Crabs were rid­ing high off of Tues­day’s 8-5 win, but they would fin­ish Au­gust with a 5-2 loss to the Pa­tri­ots, end­ing a streak of three straight se­ries wins as they could do was tie the se­ries with a vic­tory in Thurs­day’s fi­nale.

South­ern Mary­land (50-72 over­all, 24-28 sec­ond half- 6 1/2 games be­hind first-place Su­gar Land in the sec­ond-half Free­dom Di­vi­sion stand­ings en­ter­ing Thurs­day) man­aged just five hits and tal­lied its only runs in the bot­tom of the fifth in­ning on a two-run home run over the left-field wall by An­gel Sanchez.

The Blue Crabs start a seven-game road trip with a three­game se­ries at Bridge­port tonight fol­lowed by four in York start­ing La­bor Day Mon­day.

“We have to grind this thing out. We are pitch­ing well, play­ing de­fense and swing­ing the bats,” Blue Crabs man­ager Jeremy Owens said.

Som­er­set (66-57, 28-25 Lib­erty Di­vi­sion, lead­ing the di­vi­sion by half-game over Bridge­port en­ter­ing Thurs­day) col­lected 10 hits in the game. Right af­ter Sanchez’s two-run blast in the fifth, the Pa­tri­ots an­swered with three runs in the sixth, parked by a two-out two-run triple by cen­ter fielder Vinny Zar­rillo, and held on for the win.

Zar­rillo fin­ished with three hits and drove in three runs. He was a home run away from the cy­cle.

“With the way we’ve been play­ing no one wants to play us right now,” Owens said. “This is where I ex­pected us to be all year, but the cir­cum­stances we’ve faced through­out the sea­son you can’t do any­thing about that. We are fi­nally where we want to be.”

Som­er­set start­ing righthander Alexis Can­de­lario got the win on the hill, al­low­ing two runs on four hits in six in­nings with four strike­outs and four walks. Closer Jon Hun­ton picked up his At­lantic League-lead­ing 34th save, re­tir­ing all three bat­ters that he faced in the bot­tom of the ninth.

South­ern Mary­land starter Daryl Thomp­son, a 2003 La Plata High School grad­u­ate, picked up the loss, his sec­ond in as many starts, to fall to 4-8. Thomp­son gave up five runs on 10 hits with a walk and three strike­outs over 5 2/3 in­nings.

The bullpen of Scott Maine, Justin Berg and Robert Car­son kept the Blue Crabs within strik­ing dis­tance, pitch­ing 3 1/3 in­nings of no-hit ball with a walk and four strike­outs, but the of­fense ran up against a Som­er­set bullpen that did not al­low an­other baserun­ner af­ter an Eric Gar­cia lead­off sin­gle in the sev­enth.

Tues­day, South­ern Mary­land de­liv­ered with strong hit­ting be­hind Zach Wil­son’s two homers, in­clud­ing a grand slam in the fifth that broke a 3-3 tie. It was the first grand slam for a

Blue Crabs hit­ter this sea­son.

Wil­son’s first homer was a solo blast as he and Michael Sny­der went back-to back to start the bot­tom of the sec­ond. The for­mer Ari­zona State Uni­ver­sity and Yan­kees farm­hand has 15 homers and 60 RBIs on the sea­son with seven of those homers and 20 of his RBIs ver­sus Som­er­set this sea­son.

“That was my first grand slam since I’ve been play­ing base­ball,” Wil­son said. “That was a good win and we had some chances [Wed­nes­day], we just came up short. “We just have to keep play­ing good base­ball and we will be fine.”

Sny­der’s homer was his 21st of the sea­son, ty­ing him with Som­er­set’s David Vi­dal for the league lead en­ter­ing Thurs­day.

Six Blue Crabs hit­ters had more than one hit as the team out­hit Som­er­set 14-6, with nine of the 14 hits for ex­tra bases.

Blue Crabs starter Gaby Her­nan­dez went seven in­nings, al­lowed three runs, two earned, on five hits with nine strike­outs in the win. Her­nan­dez fin­ished his night by re­tir­ing 16 of the fi­nal 17 hit­ters he faced. He ended Au­gust with an 5-0 record.

Blue Crabs closer Cody Ep­p­ley pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 28th save of the sea­son, ty­ing him for third in the league in saves with Su­gar Land’s Der­rick Loop en­ter­ing Thurs­day. It was Ep­p­ley’s sev­enth save in 11 days.

PHOTO BY BERT HINDMAN

Zach Wil­son cel­e­brates with team­mates af­ter hit­ting a grand slam in the bot­tom of the fifth of Tues­day’s 8-5 Blue Crabs win over Som­er­set at Re­gency Fur­ni­ture Sta­dium in Wal­dorf. Wil­son also hit a solo shot in the sec­ond in­ning.

PHOTO BY BERT HINDMAN

Blue Crabs start­ing pitcher Daryl Thomp­son, a 2003 La Plata High School grad­u­ate, al­lowed five runs on 10 hits with three strike­outs over 5 2/3 in­nings in tak­ing loss Wed­nes­day night ver­sus Som­er­set, 5-2, at Re­gency Fur­ni­ture Sta­dium in Wal­dorf.

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