Blue Crabs sweep twin­bill over York

Vaughn’s piv­otal homer in Game 2 gives team 1 1/2-game lead in Free­dom Divi­sion

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

Head­ing into the sec­ond game of Wed­nes­day’s dou­ble­header ver­sus York, Cory Vaughn only had notched one hit in 13 at-bats.

His breakthrough at the plate couldn’t have come at a bet­ter time.

With the game tied at 3 in the bot­tom of the sixth and one out, the Cal­i­for­nia na­tive belted a solo home run off of re­liever Cur­tis Partch to give the Blue Crabs to a 4-3 vic­tory over the Rev­o­lu­tion at Re­gency Furniture Sta­dium in Wal­dorf to sweep the dou­ble­header.

Vaughn fin­ished with a 2 for 3 out­ing at the plate with a run scored in Game 2 along with the homer, his first as a Blue Crab.

“It felt nice to get a big hit for the team to win it,” Vaughn said. “I missed all of spring train­ing be­cause I was hurt, so it is just about get­ting in a rhythm and be­ing com­fort­able. I knew my swing was com­ing, I felt it to­wards the end of our open­ing se­ries (ver­sus Long Is­land). I felt re­ally good com­ing in to tonight’s games and I put a great swing on that ball to put my team ahead and al­low us to clinch this se­ries early.”

Blue Crabs re­liever Sam Ru­nion got his first save of the sea­son, pitch­ing the top of the seventh with two strike­outs and a walk. At­lantic League dou­ble­head­ers are two seven-in­ning reg­u­la­tion con­tests.

The Blue Crabs earned a 2-0 shutout in the first game of the twin­bill. The se­ries opener was sched­uled to be played on Tues­day, but was post­poned due to in­clement weather.

South­ern Mary­land (4-2 over­all) held a 1 1/2-game lead over Su­gar Land in the Free­dom Divi­sion en­ter­ing the se­ries fi­nale on Thurs­day.

The Blue Crabs start a three­game road se­ries against the Bridge­port Blue­fish at 4:05 p.m. to­day. The team re­turns to Wal­dorf to be­gin a three­game se­ries ver­sus Su­gar Land on Mon­day.

“Cory had been strug­gling, but he is a very good player and I have 100 per­cent faith in him that he can bounce back,” Blue Crabs man­ager John Har­ris said. “I was happy for him tonight.”

Blue Crabs start­ing pitcher Justin De Fra­tus got his first win of the sea­son as he worked six in­nings and al­lowed three runs on eight hits with five strike­outs and no walks.

“Any­time you win both games in a dou­ble­header it is great. It was good to see us stay fo­cused for 14 in­nings,” De Fra­tus said. “I knew it was go­ing to be a grind for me. Things didn’t feel right in pregame for me, but those nights hap­pen and I will take it. My de­fense made the plays be­hind me.”

Gary Brown led off the bot­tom of the first with sin­gle to left field and, two bat­ters later, Zach Wil­son walked. Brown then scored on Michael Sny­der’s sac­ri­fice fly for the first run of the game.

York tied the game up at 1 in the top of the fourth when

Alonzo Har­ris scored on a RBI ground­out by Joel Guzman. Har­ris then drove in Bryan Pounds on a two-out RBI sin­gle to push the lead to 2-1.

In the bot­tom half of the fifth, South­ern Mary­land tied the game at 2 when Ed­win Gar­cia dou­bled to deep cen­ter, scor­ing Pa­trick Palmiero. Af­ter a bunt sin­gle by Ryan Wig­gins, Gar­cia scored on a Brown fielder’s choice to put the Blue Crabs ahead 3-2.

With run­ners on the cor­ners and one out in the top of the sixth, Luis Alen hit a ball to Palmiero at third, who got the force out at sec­ond, but it al­lowed Angel Franco to score, knot­ting the game at 3. Then Vaughn put the Blue Crabs ahead for good with his blast in the bot­tom of the in­ning.

The Blue Crabs started Game 1 with a run with­out need­ing a hit. A hit-bat­ter and two walks loaded the bases with no outs in the bot­tom of the first, which was fol­lowed with Sny­der ground­ing into a 5-4-3 dou­ble play but Brown came in for the first run of the game.

Sny­der hit a one-out RBI dou­ble to cen­ter in the sixth drove in Wil­son to give the home team some in­sur­ance with a 2-0 lead.

York starter Vic­tor Ma­teo Ma­teo had a no-hit­ter un­til Gar­cia sin­gled to right with one out in the bot­tom of the fifth. Ma­teo got the loss, throw­ing five in­nings, al­low­ing just one earned run on one hit with four strike­outs and three walks.

Blue Crabs start­ing pitcher Gaby Hernandez went six in­nings of shutout ball, al­low­ing just three hits with two strike­outs and did not walk any bat­ters.

“Any­time you can pitch well you are go­ing to com­pete in a ball­game,” Har­ris said. “We would ob­vi­ously like to see the of­fense im­prove, but it’s early in the sea­son. So for now we are re­ly­ing on our pitch­ing staff, which has been great so far and earned us a cou­ple of wins al­ready.”

Closer Cody Ep­p­ley struck out Ryan Dent to end the game to es­cape a bases-loaded jam and pick up his sec­ond save of the sea­son. Ep­p­ley al­lowed two hits and a walk to load the bases in the in­ning, but struck out the side in achiev­ing his sec­ond save of the sea­son.

“It set the tone for the first game of the se­ries and it was a good win. I was able to put some in­nings to­gether and Ep­p­ley came through for us at the end,” said Hernandez, who cur­rently holds the fran­chise record with 455 ca­reer strike­outs. “It was nice to win two in a row and gives up mo­men­tum go­ing into the next game.”

PHOTO BY BERT HINDMAN

Blue Crabs start­ing pitcher Gaby Hernandez gave up no runs on three hits with two strike­outs and no walks in six in­nings of work in a 2-0 win over the York Rev­o­lu­tion in Wed­nes­day’s first game of a dou­ble­header.

PHOTO BY BERT HINDMAN

Blue Crabs starter Justin De Fra­tus went six in­nings, al­low­ing three runs on eight hits with eight strike­outs in a 4-3 vic­tory over the York Rev­o­lu­tion in the sec­ond game of Wed­nes­day’s dou­ble­header. It was the first win of the sea­son for De Fra­tus, who did not walk any bat­ters.

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