Maryland Independent - - Sports - Twit­ter: tblack­somds1

measure, Cone pro­vided some in­sur­ance by belt­ing a two-run homer in the ninth.

One night ear­lier in a 3-2 vic­tory over the Skeeters, Gaby Her­nan­dez im­proved to 4-1 and con­tin­ued the stel­lar start to his cam­paign by lim­it­ing Sugar Land to two runs on five hits and fanned eight while not is­su­ing a walk. He threw 69 of 96 pitches for strikes and low­ered his ERA on the sea­son to 2.17, which is tops in the At­lantic League through Wed­nes­day. His 55 strike­outs are fourth in the league through Wed­nes­day. Closer Cody Ep­p­ley recorded his 15th save, sec­ond most in the league through Wed­nes­day, to pre­serve Tues­day’s

vic­tor y.

“When you walk into the club­house ev­ery night, you can just tell this team has a lot of con­fi­dence,” said Her­nan­dez, who is sched­uled to make his next start on Mon­day when the Blue Crabs are back on the road to start a four-game se­ries at York. “We ex­pect to win. Ev­ery­one on the staff goes out there know­ing what they have to do to suc­ceed and we do our best to im­ple­ment that game plan. A lot of that suc­cess is due to coach Har­ris and pitch­ing coach Fris­bee. They have us men­tally and phys­i­cally ready for ev­ery out­ing.”

Tues­day’s con­test had plenty of drama in the late in­nings. In the top of the sixth, the Blue Crabs forged a 2-1 lead when Cone dou­bled and later scored on an RBI grounder by Brian Bistagne. Then in the top of the seventh, the Blue Crabs added an in­sur­ance run when Michael Sny­der earned a lead­off walk and later scored on a dou­ble by Cone.

Sugar Land re­sponded with a run in the bot­tom of the seventh against Her­nan­dez and had mul­ti­ple chances to score the ty­ing and go-ahead runs in the eighth and ninth. But re­liever Zack Thorn­ton es­caped trou­ble in the eighth by re­tir­ing Travis Scott on a ground­out and Ep­p­ley earned his lat­est save when he in­duced Bryan Pounds to ground into a game-end­ing dou­ble play.

“It was a great road trip and now we’re look­ing to get back home for a few days,” Har­ris said. “We’re play­ing re­ally well right now. Ev­ery­one on the team has contributed. We’ve

been do­ing a lot of things well. Now, we’re hop­ing to keep this go­ing for a while.”

“We’re all look­ing for­ward to get­ting back to Wal­dorf,” Her­nan­dez said. “It will be brief, but we’re look­ing for­ward to

play­ing some games in front of our home fans. Right now, we’re play­ing with a lot of con­fi­dence. That’s im­por­tant and it helps when you step out onto the field.”

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