Blue Crabs split series with Bridgeport
Six-run ninth with two outs scores win in finale
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.
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.