A wild one

Blue Crabs fall short to Sugar Land in game that fea­tured 23 runs and 27 hits

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­news.com

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.

PHOTO BY BERT HINDMAN

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.

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