Blue Crabs lose 3 of 4 at Sugar Land

Fall by one run in each con­test

The Calvert Recorder - - Sports - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­

Com­ing off a 6-1 win on Sun­day night in Game 3 of a four-game se­ries at Sugar Land, the South­ern Mary­land Blue Crabs were look­ing to get a split in Mon­day’s se­ries fi­nale.

That would not be the case as Sugar Land held on in the end for a 3-2 vic­tory on La­bor Day at Con- stel­la­tion Field in Texas.

Sugar Land closer Felipe Paulino re­tired all three Blue Crabs bat­ters he faced in the ninth in­ning, strik­ing out two, for his third save of the se­ries.

Sugar Land also eked out 2-1 and 3-2 wins in the first two games of the se­ries on Fri­day and Satur­day, re­spec­tively. It was the Skeeters’ first home con­tests since Hur­ri­cane Har­vey hit the area. The city of Sugar Land is about 30 min­utes south­west of Hous­ton.

South­ern Mary­land (6365 over­all, 24-34 sec­ond half) had lost by one run in its pre­vi­ous four losses through Mon­day. The Blue Crabs — 8 games back of York and Lan­caster in the sec­ond-half stand­ings through Mon­day — kicked off a three­game home se­ries ver­sus Somerset on Tues­day. Game 2 of the se­ries is sched­uled for 6:35 tonight.

Sugar Land (59-68, 2928) was just 2 1/2 games back of York and Lan­caster for the divi­sion lead through Mon­day.

“Sugar Land has been play­ing well,” Blue Crabs man­ager James Fris­bie said. “We played hard, we are just banged up right now. We have play­offs soon, so we want to get healthy.”

Trail­ing 3-1, Tucker Nathans cut the lead to one in the top of the eighth in­ning on an RBI sin­gle, scor­ing Jose Lozada, but the Blue Crabs would not get any closer.

Lozada led the way with a 4 for 4 day at the plate, all sin­gles in­clud­ing the first three lead­ing off an in­ning.

Cory Vaughn put South­ern Mary­land on the board when he hit a two-out solo home run to left field in the sev­enth, trimming Sugar Land’s lead to 2-1. The Skeeters an­swered in the bot­tom half when Bryan Pounds dou­bled with one out, ad­vanced to third on a balk by Blue Crabs re- liever Robert Car­son and scored on an RBI sin­gle by Al­bert Cordero.

Sugar Land pitch­ing was able to keep the Blue Crabs at bay. Starter Mitch Tal­bot al­lowed just one run on five hits with one walk and seven strike­outs over seven in­nings to go to 8-3.

Blue Crabs starter Brian Gren­ing took the loss and fell to 8-7, giv­ing up two runs on five hits with six strike­outs in six in­nings.

Sun­day, the Blue Crabs

de­liv­ered with four runs in the sec­ond, all com­ing with two outs, which proved to be enough for the win.

Ed­win Gar­cia col­lected an RBI dou­ble, Nathans hit a tworun sin­gle and L.J. Hoes added an RBI sin­gle in the sec­ond.

With the bases loaded and one out in the fifth, Michael Sny­der scored on an er­ror by Sugar Land short­stop Kevin Ahrens and Brian Bistagne fol­lowed with a bases-loaded RBI sin­gle to cap the scor­ing.

Pa­trick Palmeiro was 3 for 4 at the plate in the win with a dou­ble.

Blue Crabs starter David Russo picked up his first win of the sea­son as he threw five in­nings, al­low­ing one run on three hits and two strike­outs. He walked six bat­ters, threw two wild pitches and tossed 104 pitches (only 49 of which for strikes), but man­aged to get out of jams through­out most of his out­ing.

The bullpen of Craig Stem, Sam Ru­nion and Cody Ep­p­ley did not al­low a hit in four com­bined in­nings.

South­ern Mary­land out­hit the Skeeters 13-3.

Satur­day’s game was tied at 2 in the sixth when Caleb Ram­sey’s sac­ri­fice fly to left off of Car­son scored Josh Prince and it turned out to be the even­tual game-win­ning run.

Car­son suf­fered the loss as his lead­off walk to Prince even­tu­ally came around to score. Blue Crabs starter Eric For­nataro picked up a no-de­ci­sion, al­low­ing two runs on four hits with no walks and three strike­outs over the first five in­nings.

Gar­cia scored on an RBI sin­gle by Sny­der in the first. Pounds an­swered back in the sec­ond on an RBI sin­gle to tie the game, then Sugar Land took the lead in the fourth on an An­thony Giansanti solo homer. The Blue Crabs tied the game at 2 in the fifth on a two-out solo homer by Gar­cia.

Devon Ro­driguez led off the ninth with a sin­gle off Paulino, but was caught steal­ing sec­ond base and Paulino struck out Vaughn and got Palmeiro on a 6-3 ground­out to end the game and pick up the save.

In the se­ries opener Fri­day, Sugar Land scored a run in the first on Ahrens’ two-out RBI sin­gle and added an­other RBI sin­gle in the sec­ond by Joe Ben­son and that was all the scor­ing that was needed.

South­ern Mary­land scored its only run of the game in the top of the third.

Af­ter back-to-back sin­gles from Gar­cia and Hoes, Hoes got caught in a run­down head­ing to sec­ond and stayed in the run­down long enough that Gar­cia scored be­fore Hoes was tagged out to end the in­ning.

In the ninth with the ty­ing run on third and two outs, Sny­der, pinch hit­ting for Ryan Wig­gins, grounded out to end the game.

The Blue Crabs man­aged just five hits and left seven run­ners on base.

Blue Crabs starter Drew Hayes suf­fered the loss, fall­ing to 7-8, giv­ing up two runs on seven hits with three strike­outs in six in­nings of work.

In Thurs­day’s se­ries fi­nale ver­sus Bridge­port, the Blue Crabs led 7-3 through five in­nings, but the Blue­fish scored three runs each in the sixth and three more in the eighth then held on to even the se­ries with a 9-8 win.

Blue Crabs re­liever Zack Thorn­ton re­tired the first two hit­ters he faced to start the eighth with his team cling­ing to a 7-6 lead, then five two-out hits plated three runs to put Bridge­port back ahead.

South­ern Mary­land scored a run in the bot­tom of the eighth on a Gar­cia RBI sin­gle, but got no closer.

An­gel Rosa was 4 for 4 with a dou­ble, home run and three RBIs to lead Bridge­port, while Hoes was 3 for 4 to lead the Blue Crabs.

Thorn­ton took the loss, while Daryl Thomp­son, a 2003 La Plata High School grad­u­ate, was dealt a no-de­ci­sion as a re­sult of the Blue­fish’s come­back. Thomp­son al­lowed three runs on five hits with three walks and five strike­outs in five in­nings.

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