August ends with loss for Blue Crabs
Team finished month winning 8 of 12
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.
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.
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.