Blue Crabs lose 3 of 4 at Sugar Land
Fall by one run in each contest
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.