Blue Crabs edge Bridge­port on late homer

Lozada’s homer in 8th in­ning beats Blue­fish; rain post­pones first-half ti­tle game to Aug. 14

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By AJ MASON aj­ma­son@somd­news.com

It has been a tough stretch lately for the South­ern Mary­land Blue Crabs.

En­ter­ing Mon­day night’s series opener ver­sus Bridge­port at Re­gency Fur­ni­ture Sta­dium in Wal­dorf, the Blue Crabs had lost eight out of their last 10 games, in­clud­ing two of three over the week­end at home ver­sus the Lan­caster Barn­storm­ers.

How­ever, things turned around for at least one night as third base­man Jose Lozada broke a 3-all tie in the bot­tom of the eighth with a lead­off home run off of re­liever Wan­der Perez to lead the Blue Crabs to a 4-3 vic­tory over the Blue­fish.

It was just Lozada’s fifth homer of the sea­son.

“This is a big win to get us back on the win­ning track,” said Lozada, who fin­ished with two hits. “Com­ing into the in­ning, I knew the pitcher was a lefty that was a side arm thrower. Ev­ery­one was talk­ing about how hard he threw against us last time. It was a 1-1 pitch down the mid­dle and I was able to hit it out.”

Game two of the series was Tues­day and the series fi­nale is sched­uled for 11:05 a.m. today.

“We’re play­ing I think the best team in the league,” Blue Crabs man­ager John Har­ris said. “We are for­tu­nate to win with good pitch­ing and timely hit­ting. Hope­fully, we can con­tinue this type of pitch­ing and work mov­ing for­ward.”

Cody Ep­p­ley came on for the ninth and al­lowed a lead­off sin­gle to Sean Bur­roughs and un­corked a wild pitch to put the ty­ing run into scor­ing po­si­tion. With two outs and ty­ing run now at third, Ep­p­ley struck out Welling­ton Do­tel to end the game and notch his 26th save of the sea­son.

South­ern Mary­land took a 3-0 lead in the fourth on a one-out RBI dou­ble by Michael Sny­der — his At­lantic League-lead­ing 29th of the sea­son — and a two-run home run by L.J. Hoes (3 hits), his first as a Blue Crab.

Bridge­port scored its first run of the game on a Tony Abreu ground­out in the fifth. In the sev­enth, the lead was cut to 3-2 on a two-out solo homer from Daniel Fields. Luis Her­nan­dez then tied the game at 3 on a one-out RBI sin­gle.

De­spite al­low­ing the ty­ing run to score, Blue Crabs re­liever Zack Thorn­ton picked up the win to go to 2-1. Starter Eric For­nataro, in his home de­but, left with the lead but picks up a no-de­ci­sion. For­nataro threw the first six in­nings and gave up just a run on five hits with one walk and four strike­outs.

Free­dom Divi­sion ti­tle game post­poned

Mother Na­ture won the bat­tle on Fri­day as South­ern Mary­land and Lan­caster were sched­uled to play for the Free­dom Divi­sion first-half cham­pi­onship at Re­gency. Af­ter a near 2-hour de­lay, the game was post­poned and resched­uled to 6:35 p.m. Aug. 14, which was sched­uled to be a day off for both teams.

Satur­day and Sun­day the teams played se­cond-half con­tests, split­ting a dou­ble­header with a 5-4 Barn­stomers win in Game 1 and a 2-1 Blue Crabs win in Game 2. Sun­day, Lan­caster pulled out a 4-2 win.

In Sun­day’s series fi­nale, Sean Hal­ton’s grand slam in the top of the fourth ac­counted for all four runs the Barn­stomers scored.

Sny­der col­lected a two-run homer in the bot­tom of the frame, his third of the week­end to tie for the league lead with 21 through Mon­day.

“I’m just try­ing to do my part in help­ing this team win,” Sny­der said. “This is the best team that I’ve been a part of and I’m ex­cited to see what this team is go­ing to ac­com­plish. It is al­ways tough to lose a series, but we played hard [this week­end]. We had a cou­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties in each game, we just came up short. But we will bounce back.”

In the bot­tom of the ninth with run­ners on first and se­cond and one out, Cory Vaughn hit into a dou­ble play to end the game.

Blue Crabs starter Drew Hayes suf­fered the loss, fall­ing to 5-5. Hayes went six in­nings and al­lowed four runs on three hits with a walk and six strike­outs.

Cole Garner de­liv­ered with three hits and drove in four runs to lead the Barn­storm­ers in Satur­day’s dou­ble­header opener.

Garner gave Lan­caster a 2-0 lead in the third on a two-out ground rule dou­ble. The Barn­storm­ers put up three more runs on Trayvon Robin­son’s RBI dou­ble and a two-run homer from Garner off of Blue Crabs starter Daryl Thompson over the left-field wall, push­ing the lead to 5-0.

The Blue Crabs got on the board in the bot­tom of the fifth on a Hoes two-out dou­ble and scored three more runs in the sev­enth on Lozada’s RBI dou­ble, Hoes’ sac­ri­fice fly and a Sny­der RBI ground­out, but Vaughn grounded out to end the game. At­lantic League dou­ble­header con­tests are two seven-in­ning reg­u­la­tion con­tests.

Thompson, the 2003 La Plata grad­u­ate, took the loss, to fall to 5-6. He went five in­nings, al­low­ing all five runs on eight hits with five strike­outs and three walks.

In Game 2, the Blue Crabs snapped their five-game los­ing streak as Sny­der hit lead­off home runs in the se­cond and fourth.

Hal­ton hit a two-out solo homer tie the game at 1 in the top of the fourth be­fore Sny­der re­sponded with a homer in the bot­tom in the frame.

Blue Crabs starter Gaby Her­nan­dez got the win on the hill, sur­ren­der­ing just one run on four hits with seven strike­outs and did not walk a bat­ter. He im­proved to 8-1 on the sea­son and led the league with 104 strike­outs through Mon­day.

Ep­p­ley came on for the sev­enth and sur­vived a two-out walk to pick up his 25th save.

PHOTO BY BERT HINDMAN

Blue Crabs third base­man Jose Lozada, pic­tured far right, is con­grat­u­lated by team­mate Ed­win Gar­cia af­ter his even­tual-game win­ning solo home run in the bot­tom of the eighth in­ning to beat the Bridge­port Blue­fish 4-3 in the first of a three-game series on Mon­day night at Re­gency Fur­ni­ture Sta­dium in Wal­dorf.

PHOTO BY BERT HINDMAN

Blue Crabs first base­man Michael Sny­der fin­ished with five hits, four com­ing on homers in three games ver­sus Lan­caster. Sny­der also had a RBI dou­ble in Mon­day’s 4-3 win in over Bridge­port on Mon­day. Sny­der is tied for the most home runs in the At­lantic League through Mon­day with 21 and leads the league in dou­bles with 29.

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