Blue Crabs split se­ries with Bridge­port

Six-run ninth with two outs scores win in fi­nale

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

Don’t ex­pect the South­ern Mary­land Blue Crabs to start pack­ing up their bats and gloves for the day even when they’re down to their last strike.

An­other such case oc­curred Sun­day af­ter­noon at the Ball­park at Har­bor Yard in Bridge­port, Conn., as the Blue Crabs tied the game on Ed­win Gar­cia’s two-out, twostrike dou­ble in the top of the ninth in­ning. But they weren’t fin­ished yet.

South­ern Mary­land sent 10 bat­ters to the plate, the last eight af­ter two outs, and scored six runs on five hits with the help of two Bridge­port er­rors en route to a 9-4 come­back vic­tory to gain a split with the Blue­fish in the four-game se­ries.

The Blue Crabs (46-39 over­all, 8-8 sec­ond half), took the opener on Thurs­day, 10-1 then dropped the next two Fri­day and Satur­day by 4-2 and 6-3 scores be­fore win­ning Sun­day.

South­ern Mary­land was off on Mon­day and started a four-game se­ries in Bridge­wa­ter, N.J., ver­sus Som­er­set on Tues­day. The se­ries con­tin­ued to­day with a sched­uled daynight dou­ble­header, with the first game start­ing at 11:05 a.m. and the sec­ond game at 7:05 p.m.

The Blue Crabs be­gan Tues­day in third place in the At­lantic League’s Free­dom Di­vi­sion sec­ond-half stand­ings, 1 1/2 games be­hind first-place Lan­caster (48-38, 10-7).

“That was the big­gest win of the sec­ond half so far,” Blue Crabs man­ager John Har­ris said af­ter Sun­day’s win. “We were able to get some guys on and they de­liv­ered at the right time. We are still try­ing to get healthy, we’ve been short­handed, but we have to con­tinue to play base­ball. Bridge­port is one of the best teams in this league, we were able to take ad­van­tage of a cou­ple of er­rors and we fought back for the win.”

Blue­fish closer Elvin Ramirez re­tired Pa­trick Palmeiro and Brian Bistagne to start the ninth.

Zach Cone kept the game go­ing with a sin­gle and he came around to score on Gar­cia’s game-ty­ing dou­ble.

Gar­cia came home on an RBI sin­gle from Zach Wil­son to give the Blue Crabs a 5-4 lead. The Blue Crabs scored four more runs on two Bridge­port er­rors to cap off the scor­ing. Lead­ing 6-4, LJ Hoes was hit by a pitch to load the bases and an er­ror by Blue­fish right fielder An­drew Lambo off the bat of Luis Alen cleared them.

Zack Thorn­ton (1-1) recorded the last out of the eighth and picked up his first win of the sea­son out of the bullpen as a re­sult of the Blue Crabs’ come­back. Cody Ep­p­ley ended the game by re­tir­ing all three Bridge­port bat­ters he faced, the last two by strike­out.

Trail­ing 1-0 in the third, Gar­cia tied the game with a two-out solo home run. The Blue Crabs went in front 3-1 in the sixth as Gar­cia scored on a Cory Vaughn RBI sin­gle and Alen hit a sac­ri­fice fly that brought home Michael Sny­der.

Bridge­port (51-36, 10-7) scored three un­earned runs in the bot­tom half of the eighth to take a 4-3 lead.

Blue Crabs starter Gaby Her­nan­dez did not fac­tor into the de­ci­sion as a re­sult of the team’s come­back. Her­nan­dez sur­ren­dered four runs (1 earned) on six hits in 7 2/3 in­nings with two walks, five strike­outs and one hit-bat­ter. Her­nan­dez had a four-hit­ter through seven in­nings and had re­tired 12 of 13 hit­ters, in­clud­ing seven in a row, go­ing back to the fourth.

Sny­der and Vaughn each had three hits and Gar­cia was 2 for 4 with two RBIs and three runs scored.

Satur­day, Bridge­port scored all six of its runs in the third as 10 hit­ters came to the plate against Blue Crabs starter Daryl Thomp­son.

South­ern Mary­land scored its runs on a RBI sin­gles by Wil­son in the first, Gar­cia in the fifth and Bistagne in the ninth.

The Blue Crabs had the bases loaded with two outs in the fifth look­ing for more, but Vaughn flew out to cen­ter field to end the in­ning. Gar­cia came up with the ty­ing run and no outs in

the ninth with a run home, but grounded out into a dou­ble play and Wil­son flew out to cen­ter to end the game.

Cone and Palmeiro each had three hits in the loss.

Thomp­son, the 2003 La Plata High School grad­u­ate, suf­fered the loss and falls to 5-5. He went just five in­nings, al­low­ing six runs on eight hits with no walks and one strike­out.

Fri­day, Bridge­port out­hit the Blue Crabs 12-6 en route to the win.

The Blue­fish scored all of their in the first and sec­ond in­nings, scor­ing twice in each off of Blue Crabs starter Brian Gren­ing.

South­ern Mary­land’s runs were scored on Cone’s two-out RBI dou­ble in the third and Hoes’ RBI two-out, ground rule dou­ble in the eighth. Vaughn walked to start the ninth, but Palmeiro hit into a dou­ble play and Bistagne grounded out to end the game.

Kalaika Ka­hooha­la­hala went 2 for 3 with two runs scored for the Blue Crabs.

Gren­ing fell to 7-4, al­low­ing four runs (3 earned) on 10 hits with no walks and one strike­out in six in­nings.

Thurs­day, South­ern Mary­land was led by Palmeiro and Bistagne, the No. 8 and 9 hit­ters in the lineup, as it out­hit Bridge­port 16-5 en route to the win.

Palmeiro fin­ished 3 for 3 with two home runs, four RBIs, three runs scored and two walks. His lead­off homer in the fourth gave the Blue Crabs the lead for good and he added a three-run shot in the fifth.

Bistagne was 4 for 5 with four sin­gles and an RBI, while Sny­der added three hits, in­clud­ing a RBI dou­ble in the first. Vaughn hit a three-run homer in the sev­enth. Sny­der had two dou­bles dur­ing the se­ries, giv­ing him 27 for the sea­son which led the At­lantic League through Mon­day.

Starter Drew Hayes went five in­nings to pick up the win, al­low­ing one run on four hits with three walks and three strike­outs. Re­liev­ers Robert Car­son, Sam Ru­nion and Craig Stem al­lowed just one hit com­bined in the fi­nal four in­nings.

PHOTO BY BERT HINDMAN

Blue Crabs third base­man Pa­trick Palmeiro fin­ished with six hits, which in­cluded two home runs and two dou­bles, and four RBIs in the four-game se­ries ver­sus the Bridge­port Blue­fish over the week­end.

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