A wild one
Blue Crabs fall short to Sugar Land in game that featured 23 runs and 27 hits
Wednesday was Baseball in Education Day at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf as the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs hosted Sugar Land in the third game of a four-game series.
The game had a special 10:35 a.m. first pitch and the Blue Crabs and Skeeters batters were wide awake from its start, combining for 27 hits and seven home runs, accounting for 14 of the 23 runs that would be scored. And the contest would go down to its final out.
Southern Maryland, which had fallen behind 10-3 in the fifth, trailed 12-11 going into the bottom of the ninth.
Ryan Wiggins, who hit a grand slam during a six-run bottom of the fifth, led off with a base hit and was taken out for pinch-runner Jose Lozada. Gary Brown’s sacrificed Lozada to second and Danny Muno walked. But Zach Wilson flew out to center field and Michael Snyder grounded out to Sugar Land reliever Mark Haynes to end the game, a 12-11 Blue Crabs loss, after 3 hours 42 minutes of back-and-forth, action-filled excitement.
Southern Maryland (6-7 overall, 1 game behind Lancaster in the Atlantic League’s Freedom Division), which held on to a 3-2 win on Tuesday night in game two, had a chance to split the series when it ended Thursday. The Blue Crabs kick off a three-game weekend series in Long Island at 6:35 tonight and they’ll move on to Lancaster for another three-game series that begins Monday.
“Our willingness and fight was there, but we just have to figure some things out,” Blue Crabs manager John Harris
said. “We have to get better in some areas and I think we are going to do it. We are looking to get the split and get on the road for Long Island.”
Southern Maryland, which left 11 runners on base for the game, took an early 3-0 lead in the first on a leadoff homer by Gary Brown. Later, Danny Muno scored on an error and Wilson came home on a Zach Cone bases-loaded sacrifice fly.
Sugar Land (6-7) scored 10 unanswered runs, scoring three runs in the fourth that was spurred by a two-run homer by Travis Scott. It exploded for six more runs in the fifth, all coming on homers as Jeremy Barfield led off with a solo shot and Derek Miller and Josh Prince hit three-run and two-run bombs, respectively. The Skeeters hit five of the seven homers in the game.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Blue Crabs rallied with six runs of their own, capped by Wiggins’ one-out grand slam off of Skeeters reliever Sean Gleason to cut the deficit to 10-9.
“I struck out on my first two at-bats and I was late,” said Wiggins, who hit his first pro career grand slam. “I got a fastball inside and just turned on it.”
“Any he gets hitting-wise is a bonus,” said Harris on Wiggins. “The kid pretty much came in and earned a job. He is swinging the ball well.”
Barfield, who finished 3 for 5 at the plate, notched his second leadoff homer in as many innings in the sixth, and later scored on a two-out double by Scott (3 hits) in the eighth to give the Skeeters a 12-9 lead.
The Blue Crabs got to within 12-11 in the bottom of the eighth on a Snyder RBI single that drove in Brown and on a Cone (3 RBIs) sacrifice fly scoring Wilson
“It was a crazy day with the high scoring and both team hit well,” said Cone, who had 10 hits in the last six games through Wednesday. “For the most part everyone is starting to have good at bats and the results will come.”
Snyder finished with three hits, including two doubles, to lead the Blue Crabs.
Blue Crabs starter Pat Misch got his second straight loss. Misch gave up nine runs, eight earned, on 11 hits with a walk and six strikeouts. The Blue Crabs used five pitchers total in the game.
Tuesday, Blue Crabs pitcher Justin De Fratus was stellar. De Fratus did not allow a hit until the fifth, a two-out single to Chris Nelson, and was just one out away from a complete game. He ended up going 8 2/3 innings, surrendering just two runs, both unearned, on five hits with 11 strikeouts.
Edwin Garcia’s two-run single in the second and Snyder’s leadoff homer in the eighth accounted for the Blue Crabs’ runs.
With a run already home in the top of the ninth and two outs, closer Cody Eppley was summoned and got Anthony Giansanti to ground out to end the game and pick up his fourth save of the season.
Designated hitter Zach Wilson finished with a double, walk and two runs scored in a 12-11 Blue Crabs loss to Sugar Land on Wednesday.