Blue Crabs split high-scor­ing con­tests vs. York

Still have 2-game lead in Free­dom Divi­sion

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

The South­ern Mary­land Blue Crabs have been on top of its game as of late.

En­ter­ing the third of a four-game series at York on Wed­nes­day night, South­ern Mary­land was rid­ing a three­game win streak and had a three-game lead on Lan­caster for the top spot in the At­lantic League’s Free­dom Divi­sion.

Af­ter Tues­day’s dra­matic 12-9 vic­tory, spurred by Brian Bistagne’s grand slam in the top of the sev­enth in­ning, the Blue Crabs saw their streak end on Wed­nes­day night, fall­ing to the Revo­lu­tion 15-9 at Peo­plesBank Park in York, Pa.

South­ern Mary­land (33-25 over­all) — with its divi­sion lead at two games fol­low­ing Wed­nes­day’s loss and Lan­caster’s 6-4 over Bridgeport — looked to bounce back in Thurs­day’s series fi­nale be­fore kick­ing off the a three-game week­end home­s­tand at Re­gency Fur­ni­ture Sta­dium in Wal­dorf at 6:35 tonight. The series con­tin­ues at 6:35 p.m. Satur­day and 2:05 p.m. Sun­day be­fore the Blue Crabs head back out on the road to take on Som­er­set and Long Is­land next week.

“We are start­ing to get big hits at the right time,” said Blue Crabs man­ager John Har­ris on Wed­nes­day morn­ing, re­fer­ring to Tues­day’s win. “Our pitch­ing and de­fense has got­ten bet­ter. Hope­fully we can make a push and fin­ish the first half off strong.”

Wed­nes­day night, the Blue Crabs scored six runs in the top of the sec­ond to en­joy a 6-1 lead. The high­light of the in­ning was a grand slam from Ed­win Gar­cia, his first home run of the sea­son.

That lead didn’t last long as York (22-37) re­sponded with four runs in the bot­tom of the sec­ond, six more in the third and three in the fourth.

A bases-loaded, two-RBI dou­ble from Day­ron Varona, play­ing in his first game in a York uni­form, in the third gave the Revo­lu­tion a 7-6 lead and the hosts never trailed again. It also chased Blue Crabs starter Daryl Thompson from the game as the 2003 La Plata High School grad­u­ate would end up al­low­ing nine runs on nine hits in two-plus in­nings with no walks, two hit-bat­ters and three strike­outs. Thompson’s record fell to 5-4.

The Blue Crabs got to within 14-9 in the sixth when Zach Wil­son hit a solo homer, his 10th homer of the sea­son. York added a run in the eighth to cap the scor­ing.

The Revo­lu­tion, who had 19 hits in the game, had five bat­ters in the lineup with three hits each.

South­ern Mary­land, which fin­ished with 12 hits, had three bat­ters with two hits each — Wil­son, Michael Sny­der and Devon Ro­driguez.

Tues­day night, Blue Crabs closer Cody Ep­p­ley al­lowed an in­field sin­gle from Car­los Tri­un­fel and a walk with two outs in the bot­tom of the ninth

to bring the ty­ing run to the platem but got Travis Wither­spoon to fly out to end the game for his 18th save of the sea­son, which ranked sec­ond in the At­lantic League through Wed­nes­day.

Blue Crabs pitcher Cody Hebner picked up the win in re­lief as he threw in the sixth and struck out two bat­ters, al­low­ing just one run on one hit with two walks.

Sny­der, Jose Lozada and Ro­driguez each fin­ished with

three hits as the Blue Crabs outhit York 14-13.

The Blue Crabs ex­ploded out to an 8-2 lead in the top of the fourth be­hind two home runs and six RBIs from Sny­der and three sin­gles from Lozada dur­ing that span.

How­ever, York did not go away, scor­ing two runs in the bot­tom of the fourth, three in the fifth and one in the sixth on a dropped pop fly that was ruled a dou­ble to tie the game at 8.

In the sev­enth, York pitcher Luke West­phal loaded the bases with no outs and Hawtin Buchanan came in to re­lieve

him. Bistagne then took Buchanan’s first pitch over the wall for his first-ever home run as a Blue Crab.

Bistagne, who signed with the team on June 8, was in­serted into the start­ing lineup later in the day.

“When I saw the pitch­ing change and they brought a righty in I was just look­ing for the first pitch to be in the zone,” said Bistagne, whose in his ninth sea­son as a pro. “The pitch came right down the mid­dle and I sent it over the wall. We are play­ing good ball right now, this team is like a fam­ily.” Sugar Land York Som­er­set Long Is­land New Bri­tain

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